Oral surgeons repair or surgically treat issues related to the mouth, gums and teeth. Their assistants prepare patients for surgery and provide follow-up care. Assistants are also present during the entire procedure to pass instruments to surgeons, hold devices such as suction tubes and clean the patient’s mouth during and after surgery. The average yearly salary of an oral surgery assistant in the U.S. is $40,000 as of 2015, according to the Indeed job site.
Before a procedure, the oral surgery assistant makes sure the operating area is clean and ready for use. The assistant confirms the instruments are sterilized and working properly, and organizes them for surgery. She also preps patients for surgery by ushering them into the operating room, positioning them comfortably in the operation chair and applying topical anesthetics to the area where the surgery will take place.
After surgery, the assistant often educates patients on post-surgery care for the treatment area. She also updates the patient’s file and aids the front office in scheduling follow-up visits. The assistant then ensures the equipment used for surgery is sterilized and the operating area is clean and ready to receive new patients.
Education and Training
The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups oral surgery assistants under the broader job category of dental assistants. According to the BLS, a high school diploma is required to enter the field, but those seeking to advance their careers or become oral surgery assistants should complete a dental assisting program or obtain an associate’s degree. Some states require certification from an accredited program. You can find out about state requirements from organizations such as the Dental Assisting National Board.
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