Dentistry ranks among the top 10 most trusted and ethical professions in the United States today, and many dental school graduates are enthusiastic and hard-working. Dental school students may get hands-on training and experience with dentist jobs or dental assistant jobs, and they often plan to make a major career out of dentistry. Thus, many dental patients today are in good hands, and a dentist’s office may involve a number of jobs aside from the actual dentist. Dental job seekers can work as assistants for a time, and for a dentist, a treatment coordinator must also be present. This is essential for interfacing with a patient and helping them decide what to do with their dental health, and a treatment coordinator can get a lot of work done. What does it mean to be a dental assistant or a treatment coordinator today? Dental jobs today are often highly lucrative, and dental school students can get a head start with hands-on, on the job training.
Being a Dental Worker
Dentists, their assistants, and a dental treatment coordinator may all be found in the same office, and they often enjoy strong pay and lucrative careers. It has been predicted, for example, that employment for dental hygienists may grow 20% or so from 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States today. Similar growth may be found for dental lab technicians, as well. This career may enjoy growth of 13% or so from 2016 to 2026, which is also faster then the average of all jobs. Peripheral jobs, such as being a receptionist or treatment coordinator, may be lucrative and in-demand for a dentist’s office as well. It has been found that demand for receptionists of all types, including at dental offices, is currently robust. This occupation is due to grow about 10% from 2014 to 2024, and it is likely that dental treatment coordinators may enjoy similar growth in job opportunities.
A Dental Treatment Coordinator
A dental treatment coordinator, according to Pay Scale, is tasked with interfacing with the customer and offering them treatment options and financial options in plain language. The work of a dentist and his/her assistants may be technical and advanced, but a treatment coordinator can explain this to a patient in a way they can appreciate. This can help the patient formulate plans for what treatments to receive and how to finance them. These coordinators may also be responsible for devising ways to improve workspace efficiency and workflow, and present these ideas to supervisors for execution. On top of that, coordinators may also correspond with patients through phone conversations or e-mail, and answer questions that they may have about treatments and payment plans.
A person looking for this job is often required to have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field (this may vary), and this person should have basic knowledge of dental terminology and related medicine. The coordinator must have solid communication skills and be able to feel comfortable while explaining dental procedures and ideas to the patient. The treatment coordinator must be able to understand whatever diagnosis the dentist tells them, and sometimes use software on the job as well. Basic computer skills and knowledge of dental software may be required as well.
What might some of these diagnoses be? Some clients at a doctor’s office only need a checkup or cleaning, but others need more dedicated work. For example, a root canal may be done to remove an infection. The dentist will numb the affected tooth, then surgically remove the infected fleshy pulp inside the tooth. This procedure does not hurt (as many Americans assume it does), and it even leaves the tooth in place. The tooth will no longer feel heat or cold, and it may be slightly more fragile.
Tooth extraction may be done if a tooth is heavily infected or about to fall out of the gums, or wisdom teeth may be removed. Wisdom teeth, if allowed to grow in, may cause tooth crowding and can cause deformities in the mouth. Other times, a dental patient may need cavities filled in, or they may have dental bridges or even dentures put in place to fill in tooth gaps.