Career Guide

How to Become an Orthodontist Assistant in 2020

This is a medical professional who assists the orthodontist with different types of treatment. They are the ones who prepare the patient for the orthodontist, maintain the patient’s medical records, and set up the treatment room. Basically being an orthodontist assistant you are the orthodontist’s “right-hand man.”orthodontist working with the assistantSource: Wikimedia

Job description of an orthodontist assistant

The main job that an orthodontist assistant does is to help the orthodontist and do whatever they need them to do during the various dental procedures. Some of these duties include:

  • Preparing the patient to see the orthodontist
  • Preparing the treatment or examination room by making sure that the instruments are disinfected and sterilized along with any surfaces in the room such as the chair the patient sits in,
  • Throwing away any disposable instruments, gloves, and disposable gowns.
  • Setting up the instrument trays and preparing the materials that are going to be needed that day.
  • Assisting the orthodontist during any procedures.
  • Taking vital signs and recording the information in the patient’s medical charts
  • Helping the orthodontist with a dental emergency
  • Recording diagnostic and treatment information in the patient’s chart
  • Providing post-op care and ensuring that the patient understands what to do and not do after having the procedure done.
  • Instructing patients in how to have good oral hygiene
  • Removing and cleaning appliances
  • Taking impressions for study casts
  • Ordering and maintaining all the supplies and materials that the orthodontist will use for their treatments and patient care.


Orthodontist Assistant

What is an orthodontist assistant?

This is a medical professional that will be there to assist the orthodontist during procedures with whatever they need. Your position as an orthodontist assistant is the same as a regular dental assistant but you will have expanded duties. There are some states that recognize being an orthodontist assistant as a separate occupation while other states will group them with regular dental assistants.

What does an orthodontist assistant do?

An orthodontist assistant does not just help the orthodontist but also performs many other tasks during their working days. Some of the tasks that an orthodontist assistant may do can include:

  • Greeting the patients as they walk into the practice
  • If the office still uses the conventional charts instead of having electronic charts they would pull the charts from the filing room so the orthodontist can review the chart before seeing the patient.
  • Making sure that the patient feels comfortable when they are in the exam room and answering any questions or concerns they might have.
  • During the procedure the orthodontist assistant will hand the orthodontist the instruments that they need and provide necessary suction.
  • Depending on the office they are working for they may administer certain forms of anesthetic and take x-rays
  • Preparing the instruments that the orthodontist is going to use. To do this they will sterilize the instruments using an autoclave.
  • They may also clean, organize, and sort the various instruments that the orthodontist uses.
  • Taking inventory of the one-use only supplies like rubber bands for braces and latex gloves making sure that they always have a supply on hand. They may also order any necessary supplies.
  • Making sure that environment is clean and sanitized, especially the exam rooms.
  • Depending on the orthodontist office they may also have to make sure the charts are up-to-date and also do billing of patients and insurance companies.
  • Keeping track of all the medicines that the orthodontist uses.
  • Cleaning a patient’s teeth, taking impression of a patient’s mouth, or making minor adjustments to their dental gear.
  • For new patients the orthodontist assistant will take their oral dental history, medical history, and why they are there to see the orthodontist

Although most all orthodontist assistants have undergone an orthodontist assistant training program and may even have an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Assisting or Orthodontics Assisting you will still need the training of how the orthodontist office works when you start to work for an orthodontist in private practice, partnership, or in a group practice because no office works in the same way. You will need to learn exactly what your duties are, where supplies are kept, do you have any office duties, etc. More