A cosmetic dentist can perform many of the same dental restorations as a regular dentist, such as fillings, bridges and crowns. Nevertheless, for patients to whom appearance is particularly important, it may make more sense to seek out the services of a cosmetic dentist, who has an advanced level of experience compared to others in…
What Kind of Supportive Staff Do General Dentists Have?
General dentists treat patients of various ages, and they typically are very busy. In order to deliver high-quality care, these dental professionals need a variety of staff to support the workings of the clinic. All supportive staff provide necessary services that benefit the dentist as well as the patients.
Support staff members
General dentists depend on the following staff members to support the operations of the office as well as patient care.
A dental hygienist is an important dental professional in a dental office. In fact, most patients often spend more time with the hygienist than with the dentist if it is a biannual visit for a cleaning and exam. Dental hygienists provide clinical, therapeutic and educational dental care to patients. Some of the common tasks hygienists perform on a regular basis include
- Thorough teeth cleaning that includes removing plaque, polishing and flossing
- Dental X-rays
- Oral cancer assessment
- Fluoride treatments
- Patient education about at-home oral hygiene practices and products
Hygienists also perform the essential job of making the visit comfortable for patients. Visiting the dentist can cause anxiety and nervousness in some people, and a hygienist has the skills to communicate with patients and help them feel more at ease.
Some general dentists have assistants that perform a variety of tasks. The specific job duties depend on a particular office, but some of them may include sterilizing instruments, preparing each work area for procedures, keeping patient records, assisting the dentist during procedures and scheduling appointments. In certain states, dental assistants are also allowed to perform certain procedures such as sealant application, coronal polishing, fluoride treatments and topical anesthetic application.
An office manager typically manages the day-to-day operations of a dental practice. This staff member implements systems, tracks important numbers and is often in charge of hiring, training and scheduling team members. An office manager may lead office meetings and be on hand to fill in any role when there is a need.
A receptionist is the first contact patients have with the office, whether it is on the phone or in person. The receptionist answers calls, makes appointments, conducts reminder calls, responds to emails and greets patients. A person in this role generally has a friendly personality and is a good communicator.
Insurance billing coordinator
Most general dentists accept a variety of insurance plans, and the job of insurance billing coordinator is important to make sure bills are accurate and sent out on time. This person also must follow up with denial letters or call insurance companies to request payments. The billing coordinator must stay on top of everything so the dentist, hygienist and other staff members get paid.
General dentists provide vital oral health procedures for their patients, and they depend on a variety of supportive staff. Each member plays an important role to ensure the office runs smoothly and patients are happy.
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