Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
A: I see patients from the time their first tooth erupts through age 19. A new patient usually comes in about every half hour. I do cleanings and assist the dentist with fillings. I take each patient's X-rays every 12 to 18 months, depending on their decay history, to check on development. Before a patient's first cleaning at age 3, I explain what will happen, demonstrate with the instruments on their hands what I'll do in their mouth, and when they're comfortable, move them into the chair.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
A: I want to see kids right away once that first tooth erupts to get them on the right track to good oral hygiene and dental health. Hopefully, I can keep them healthy in the long run.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
A: I interact with parents, grandparents, children, other dental assistants, dentists and front office staff.
Q: Why did you become a pediatric dental assistant?
A: I got interested in becoming an assistant through my orthodontic treatment. I interned at a pediatric office and really enjoyed working with the kids and the fast pace of the office.
Q: What do you like about your work?
A: I get to talk to different kids throughout the day and hear about the different things going on in their lives. I like the staff. We work well as a team. The doctors are great. They're very supportive of what I do. I also like the variety of the work. It's always changing.