dentalAn orthodontist assistant is a medical professional that assists the orthodontist with various types of treatments. They also prepare the patient to see the doctor, set up the treatment room and maintain records for each patient.

Orthodontist assistants are in essence the right hand man to the orthodontist. Their main job is to do whatever the doctor needs them to help with. This may include several tasks. They prepare the patient to see the doctor. They also prepare the treatment room by sterilizing and disinfecting instruments and throwing away disposable instruments. Setting up instrument trays, preparing needed materials and assisting the orthodontist during procedures. They may assist the orthodontist in management of medical emergencies. They take vital signs and record this information in the patients chart. They record treatments and diagnostic information in the patients chart. They provide post op care and instructions as prescribed by the doctor. They instruct patients in hygiene. They clean and remove appliances. They take impressions for study casts. They order and maintain supplies that are needed for treatments and care of patients. They may assist in other types of procedures as needed by the orthodontist.

Orthodontist Assistant Salary:

The average for the orthodontist assistant salary is currently $35,000 per year or $17 an hour. The orthodontist assistant income can vary due to the type of facility you work in, the amount of experience you have, how much education and training you have completed among other things. Location is also an important factor when it comes to the orthodontist assistant salary. There are several states that pay well above the national average pay rate for orthodontist assistants. Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Alaska and Washington, DC are the top five states to work in. These states offer the highest orthodontist assistant wages available. The orthodontist assistant salary in these states ranges from $41,000 per year to $48,000 per year. The hourly income for orthodontist assistants in these states averages from $20 an hour to $23 an hour or more. Larger cities in these states may pay even higher than the averages listed above. Experience will also play a part in how much you make. A new orthodontist assistant with little or no experience makes $23,000 per year whereas a orthodontist assistant with twenty years of experience will make about $47,000 per year. So, experience and location are very important to the orthodontist assistant salary.

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Orthodontist Assistant Education:

In order to become an orthodontist assistant, you will need to attend a orthodontist assistant program. There are one year certificate programs and two year associate degree programs. The program that you choose should be accredited by the ADA. There are more than 250 accredited programs to choose from. The more education and training you have, the more job opportunities you will have and the more money you may make. Some orthodontists may hire you without a degree but this is becoming rare. Typical courses of study will include radiology, orthodontic and dental assisting expanded functions, successful behavior in dental careers, client and staff diversity, healthcare ethics, medical terminology, dental instrumentation, safety and standard practices, legal issues in dentistry, customer service, clinical support, lab support skills, dental materials, chair side assisting and much more. Courses will include classroom, lab and clinical learning. Clinical rotations will involve working with an actual orthodontist in a real clinic or doctor’s office setting. Certification is required in some states to start working. Check with your state to see if it is required and how to meet the requirements.

Orthodontist Assistant Work Environment:

The work environment for an orthodontist assistant is typically within an orthodontist office or the office of a dentist or a large dental practice. The environment is typical of a doctors office. It is clean, sterile and temperature controlled. Some orthodontist assistants may work in laboratories or research facilities. Orthodontist assistants may wear protective clothing such as scrubs, masks and gloves to protect themselves from infectious diseases that they may come into contact with. Guidelines must also be followed when x-raying patients. The work schedule for an orthodontist assistant is typically full time. However about twenty percent of orthodontist assistants work part time. Hours may vary depending on the hours of the office that you work in. Evenings and weekend hours are often required.

Orthodontist assistants offer a much needed service in the office for orthodontists. They provide a second pair of hands when needed. They help ensure that the office is running smoothly and that the orthodontist has all the help they need. There is a great job outlook within this career. More than thirty one percent of new jobs will be added within the next eight years. This means that there will be an additional 90,000 jobs added for well trained assistants. Which makes the decision to become an orthodontist assistant that much easier.

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