Dental assistants: The key to productivity in the dental office

By Robynn Rixse, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

March 6, 2020 -- Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of productive effort as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input. While that may sound complicated, dental assistants help make it look simple.

The efforts of dental assistants as part of the team dynamic are the key to productivity in dental practices across the U.S. The value of their input to the dental office has not gone unnoticed. The findings from the Dale Foundation's Value of Dental Assistants to the Dental Practice survey indicate that 99% of dentists and dental office managers agree that dental assistants contribute to the productivity of the dental practice.

Robynn Rixse
Robynn Rixse.

Whether they are business or clinical assistants, the skills and talents that these individuals bring to their positions can have a significant impact on the success of the office and the experience of the patient. While the regulations vary from state to state, the benefits to the office and patient increase exponentially when dental assistants have the opportunity to use their scope of practice to its full extent. In states that recognize expanded function dental assistants (EFDAs), their ability to place composite/amalgam, sealants, and fluoride can have a significant impact on the productivity of a facility. Practices that understand the value of utilizing the scope of practice of their clinical assistants will often assign a dental chair or operatory to them. Patients enjoy the personalized service that the dental assistant can provide, and it helps them to feel comfortable during a time that can often be stressful.

Business assistants can affect productivity in a number of ways, such as ensuring that patients understand their treatment plan and making sure those patients schedule their next appointment before leaving the office. A productive assistant at the front is proactive in looking for ways to quickly and efficiently fill openings in the schedule.

Dental assistants often serve in the role of insurance coordinator for the office. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the complex component of dentistry are beneficial in helping patients understand the benefits of their individual insurance plans. This knowledge can have a significant effect on case acceptance, which will, in turn, increase the productivity of the office.

In celebration of Dental Assistants Recognition Week (DARW), we would like to thank dental assistants across the U.S. for their contribution to the productivity of the office.

Robynn Rixse, CDA, EFDA, MADAA, is the current president of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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