When you visit your dentist’s office you’ll meet a team of experts. Get to know the different members of the dental team. It will help you better understand your treatment. It will also help you understand when and why your dentist may refer you to a dental specialist.
A dentist is a doctor of oral health. Dentists and certified dental specialists are trained, skilled and regulated health professionals. They are also the leaders of the dental team within a dental office.
Dentists have six to eight years of education. Only a dentist can detect and diagnose dental disease. They also recommend and carry out treatment plans.
Dentists can spot the early signs of tooth decay, gum disease and mouth and throat cancers. They can also detect signs of other medical conditions, such as diabetes. Your dentist can help you understand how your oral health relates to your general health.
Dentists must follow ethical guidelines and professional regulations. The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario licenses and regulates dentists in Ontario.
The Dental Hygienist
A dental hygienist is a regulated health professional. They work with the dentist to care for the dental health needs of their patients. Under the direction of the dentist, a dental hygienist will:
- clean and polish your teeth;
- apply fluoride treatments;
- and instruct you on a healthy dental care routine you can do at home.
Dental hygienists must follow ethical guidelines and professional regulations. The College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario regulates dental hygienists in Ontario.
More information: Ontario Dental Hygienists’ Association
The Dental Assistant
The dental assistant works alongside the dentist during patient examinations and treatments. They will:
- prepare you for your treatment;
- pass equipment to the dentist;
- and keep you comfortable throughout your visit.
More information: Ontario Dental Assistants Association
Dental Office Staff
Dental office managers supervise staff, establish and manage office protocols and oversee the processing of insurance claims. Receptionists are likely your first point of contact at the dental office. They will:
- Welcome patients to the practice.
- Answer patient questions.
- Schedule appointments.
- Manage patient charts.
- Process payments.
- Assist patients with dental insurance claim forms and billings.
Office managers and receptionists may not necessarily have an educational background in dentistry but play a key role in the efficient running of a dental practice.
Meet your dental team in person! Book your next appointment.
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