Is your team trained to support your orthodontics patients?
The demand for orthodontic treatment is literally off the charts in the U.S. Many general and pediatric dentists are incorporating orthodontics into their practice to take advantage of this demand. This naturally increases the need for orthodontic assistants and hygienists who have specialized knowledge about orthodontic procedures. Consequently, dentists offering orthodontics are quickly learning how important it is to have educated, personable assistants and hygienists who have completed the appropriate coursework.
Is there that much of a difference between dental assistants and orthodontic assistants?
Pediatric and general dentist assistants are qualified to perform multiple basic tasks that do not require a DDS license. For example, dental assistants may handle administrative duties, schedule appointments, sterilize dental instruments, and escort patients into the treatment room. Alternatively, dental hygienists are qualified to remove plaque from teeth, administer fluoride, remove sutures, and take X-rays.
In many states, dental assistants simply receive on-the-job training in lieu of formal education. However, dental hygienists typically have to earn an associate’s degree in dental hygiene by passing courses accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
Orthodontic assistants and hygienists must not only know how to perform general dentistry tasks but also how to:
- Perform minimal adjustments to wire braces (including cutting or replacing wires).
- Refit brace bands.
- Tighten wires.
- Sterilize orthodontic instruments.
- Operate X-ray equipment.
- Understand unique aspects of orthodontic insurance forms that differ from general dentistry insurance forms.
- Assist with orthodontic treatments when necessary.
- Alert the dentist if they recognize possible orthodontic problems.
So, the answer is a definitive “yes,” there are considerable differences between a general dentist assistant and an orthodontic assistant. Fortunately for dentists who have or are thinking of incorporating orthodontics into their practice, the American Orthodontic Society is now offering an Orthodontic Training and Hands-on Workshop for dental assistants working for your practice.
Benefits of Having Staff Cross-trained in Orthodontics
Improve Patient Retention and Trust
Owning a successful dental practice means having staff members who can always be relied upon to function at their peak abilities. Expanding your staff’s knowledge base and experiential competence ensures the seamless operation of your practice and patient satisfaction. It’s no secret that patients who are happy with the attention and expertise they receive from assistants before they see the dentist can make all the difference in the world when it comes to growing a practice.
Leaves Dentists With More Time to Spend with Patients
Dentists who incorporate orthodontics into their practice are always surprised at how quickly their patient roster grows. Naturally, with many new patients comes more side work for dentists. When assistants are trained in orthodontics, they can take over a variety of tasks that can be completed prior to patients actually seeing the dentist. This allows a dentist to build better relationships with patients, improve their quality of care, and develop a favorable reputation through word-of-mouth.
Improve Employee Productivity and Morale
When a dentist invests in staff, the team will feel like their boss thinks they are worthy of investment in their careers. Not only will our orthodontic training improve your dental assistants’ skill level, but it will also imbue them with a sense of how important they are to your practice. With consistent staff training, it is not uncommon for a dental practice providing orthodontics to enjoy high productivity, nearly flawless patient satisfaction, and, of course, increased revenue.
What is the Combo Assistant Course?
Our Combo Assistant Course is an orthodontic training and hands-on workshop for dental assistants and hygienists. Taught over one weekend, this course consists of instruction in basic and advanced techniques regarding Phase I and Phase II orthodontic treatment. This includes information and hands-on experience with wire placement, bracketing, mirror photography, diagnostic records, the Straight Wire Series, retention, and MDA.
What is the Game On! Orthodontics Course?
Also intended for dental assistants and hygienists, the Game On! Orthodontics Course offers instructions on the following topics:
- Improving appointment scheduling systems to maximize patient numbers without reducing the quality of care.
- Developing positive patient relationships that proactively build trust and satisfaction.
- Encouraging reluctant patients to continue with treatment using evidence-based communication skills and offering multiple financial options.
- Learning different approaches to communicating with patients and other staff members that can help reduce potential interpersonal issues.
- Tapping into your leadership strengths and using those qualities to provide team support when necessary.
Check out the reviews on our orthodontics courses!
“I learned so much from Susan. Her way of explaining course material helped me to fully understand orthodontic protocols. Susan took the time to answer my questions and I never felt like she was ‘rushing’ through the class. I absolutely loved this class!” —Yamel Rivera, Irving, TX
“I took this class several years ago and recently re-took the class to continue with my education. I’ve learned so many new things about orthodontics this time around! And Susan is an amazing teacher that always makes sure you have a full understanding of the course material. I strongly recommend this course for dental assistants who plan to work with an orthodontic practice.” —Kelly Strand, Sioux Falls, SD
Visit the American Orthodontic Society for information on enrolling in our orthodontic training courses for dental assistants and hygienists.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.