The extent of involvement of dental practitioners is greatly dictated by their degree of complexity and acuity of their patients as well as their training experience. The duties of the dentist might range from giving prescriptions to being the primary patient caregiver. Dental assistants are trained to handle most of the work that a full dental physician can. However, they have to work under supervision. In extended health care, assistants handle a variety of duties.
The dental assistant has the obligation of admitting and discharging patients. When it comes to admissions, they records all relevant patient information and refers the patient to a full dental physician. When it comes to discharging, they can only discharge a patient under the supervision of a regular dentist. The assistant basically plans and coordinates the rehabilitation, home health care, follow-up and discharge of patients.
The assistant is also charged with the responsibility of managing the medical history of patients. When it comes to the health insurance coverage, they provides the medical history required to the relevant agency. Additionally, they takes time to evaluate the insurance coverage of the patient prior to initiating a procedure.
After treatment, the dental assistant is the main patient caregiver. He or she makes rounds to check on the progress of patients and make recommendations to the physician or the patient’s family. In collaboration with the dental physician, the manages the simple to acute health problems of various oral patients. The dental assistant is also responsible for the provision of appropriate medication to the patients and responding to emergencies.
It is also important to note that the assistant can order or translate laboratory or diagnostic tests. He can also diagnose common health problems and prescribe medications or interventions for treatment.
In the oral health field, the dental assistant can refer the patients to oral surgeons and specialized dentist. This is done for specialized or complex checkups. He also provides on the spot health prevention and promotion services for various medical problems including routine screening. In addition to that, the dental assistant provides continuing primary care for simple oral problems in an effort to save the family and the hospital added medical expenses.
In extended health care, the dental assistant can embark on research to determine the main cause of health problems and give a report that helps in the development of a better treatment or prevention option. He can also make referrals to community resources for better health problem management. Alternatively, the assistant can order investigations as part of a team or through agencies.