The Brenner Blog

A Day in the Life of a Dental Assistant

7:30 AM – Before the office opens

All of the staff arrives to open the office and begin prepping for patients for the day. Debbie and Shannon focus on setting up the doctor operatories, which includes setting up instrument trays and equipment for the first patients, prepping instrument trays for patients throughout the day, setting up central sterilization for the day, and helping wherever else they can. Once they day is ready, all the staff comes together for the morning huddle to discuss the day.

Debbie preps the schedule

Debbie prepping the schedule for the day

Dental assistant setting up an instrument tray

Setting up for a procedure

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Throughout the day

Debbie and Shannon alternate bringing patients back for their appointments. The most common procedures they assist with are fillings, crowns, bridges, dentures, and emergency appointments. They also assist with root canals, extractions, and Invisalign appointments, amongst others procedures. While our hygienists see almost all patients who are due for dental cleanings, both Debbie and Shannon can see children for routine cleanings.

The main part of a dental assistant’s job is assisting the dentist chair side. This means that they pass instruments and supplies to the doctor during procedures, rinse and suction water and saliva out of the patient’s mouth, and provide comfort to patients. Dental assistants have a fun and challenging career because there is so much variety to their workday and no two days are alike. Their tasks include:

  • - Anticipating, anticipating, anticipating!
  • - Taking x-rays per the doctor’s request to help diagnose treatment
  • - Setting up rooms for treatment
  • - Disinfecting rooms and sterilizing instruments following procedures
  • - Helping chart and writing detailed notes
  • - Working in the lab to pour up dental models after impressions are taken
  • - Laundering scrubs
  • - Maintaining detailed records of supplies and products used throughout the office
  • - Ensuring all operatories are well-stocked and ordering more supplies
  • - Communicating with team members to keep the day running smoothly
  • - Maintaining more than dental instruments, especially in a small practice ((think clogged toilets, plugged drains, blown fuses, water leaks, etc.)
  • - And much, much more!

Dental assistant prepping instruments for sterilization

Prepping instruments for sterilization

Dental assistant mixing material in the lab

Mixing material in the lab

5:00 PM – 5:30 PM – Closing time

After a busy day working in the clinic, both Debbie and Shannon review the day to make sure everything was documented correctly, all instruments are sterilized and put away, and finish writing any notes. They also take this time to review the schedule for the next day so they know what to expect and can prepare.

Laundering scrubs

Laundering scrubs