The dentist, the dental hygienist, the dental assistant and the administrative staff all undertake different functions in a dental clinic and the quality of dental care and the loyalty of patients will depend on the hard work of each and every one of them. We're going to tell you more about the different roles, as well as their tasks, training and skills - don't miss out!
What are the roles and functions in a dental practice?
Although the dentist and dental assistant are the most visible professionals in a dental clinic, there is a much larger team behind the scenes. We'll tell you, one by one, who the people are that make up the dental clinic team and who make it possible for everything to work properly so that patients feel comfortable, safe and well cared for. Do you want to know more? Let's get started!
Dental Practice Manager
In smaller clinics, the dentist themselves takes the lead, but in larger clinics there may be another person who is in charge of running the dental practice. This person is in charge of the administrative side of the business, such as the ordering and distribution of dental products. They are also in charge of the accounts, invoicing, complaints and management of the clinic's staff, among other duties.
It is clear, therefore, that the planning work in all these areas requires continuous contact with the other areas. And for the day-to-day management of a dental practice, excellent communication skills are required.
The practice manager (sometimes referred to as the administrative manager) usually has a graduate degree in business management and administration and normally has additional training in accounting and management.
Dentists study for a Dentistry Degree in order to be able to prevent, treat and diagnose patients' oral health. They not only pay attention to the teeth and gums, but are professionals who have a comprehensive approach to the patient, being able to offer multidisciplinary treatments from their different areas of expertise.
In small clinics, the dentist, as well as being the owner and manager, carries out general treatments. However, in larger businesses, there is a general dentist who then refers to other specialists. For example, these various specialities include: paediatric dentistry, endodontics, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthetics and oral rehabilitation, oral and maxillofacial surgery, implantology, cosmetic dentistry, etc.
Of course, a dentist must be calm and empathetic, be a good listener, be self-disciplined, be patient and have the ability to motivate.
This healthcare professional carries out dental treatments that are concerned with the prevention of oral diseases and oral hygiene under the supervision of the dentist. For example, these include tasks such as sealing fissures, applying fluoride to prevent tooth decay, performing dental cleaning, etc.
As you can imagine, the hygienist must have good vision and a steady hand to carry out their role. In addition, they must be a person with a good disposition and communication skills to provide oral health advice to patients. The other requirement is a Higher Technical Degree in Oral Hygiene.
The mission of the dental nurse is complementary to that of the two previous employees. They assist the dentist or dental hygienist in each of the treatments carried out, organising the instruments to be used and sterilising them once the procedure has been completed. Their duties also include preparing the materials used in each procedure and disinfecting surfaces in the clinic to provide the most hygienic and safe conditions in the dental treatment. One of their most important tasks is to assure the well-being of the patient during the consultation (adjusting the chair, providing water, protective material, etc.).
They must act immediately and accurately to the dentist's instructions, but at the same time, they must be confident and calm to convey tranquillity in tense situations. Furthermore, they must be able to take the notes correctly and have a certain level of physical stamina (don't forget that they work on their feet at all times).
What do dental nurses study?
A dental nurse must study a Vocational Training course in order to be able to work in this profession. Health Care Assistant studies are a very good basis and Higher Level Vocational Training in Oral Hygiene and Higher Technician in Dental Prosthesis are the best courses to study for this job.
This is first point of contact between the patient and the clinic, so this person must be empathetic and friendly. They also need to be organised, as they are in charge of the appointment booking, cancellation and alteration system. Another function of this customer service worker is to direct patients to the waiting room and to announce their arrival into the clinic.
When it comes to training, it's important to know that there are specific dental receptionist courses available. Of course, anyone interested in this role must have office automation skills.
Prosthetic Dental Technician
The dental technician is not usually a member of the clinic's staff, but their work complements that of the dentist. They work in a laboratory and is in charge of making, designing and repairing, when necessary, the prostheses or other appliances prescribed by the dentist.
Any dental technician must complete a two-year higher education course to be able to work as a dental technician. In addition, to perform their work properly, they must be meticulous in the handling of ceramics and metal alloys, as well as skilled in moulding techniques.
Advantages of working as a team
The right communication between the different areas that we have shown you is the key to success. Working as a team is the only way to improve productivity in a dental clinic. By doing so, you ensure that each section of the treatment is carried out correctly, in record time and by professionals with specific training. All these points result in confident and reassured patients.
Another advantage of working as a team is the exchange of information that is generated between the different departments. Each experiential feedback involves the ongoing training of the entire multidisciplinary team, and turning the clinic into a collaborative space can only yield good results.
When each area of the dental practice performs its task, the result is positive. Thanks to the optimisation of time, control and effectiveness of processes, happier customers and a higher degree of loyalty are achieved.
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