Dentistry is a team sport – there is no denying this fact, especially in our office. You keep hearing about our team and how amazing they are, but we aren’t just saying that, we truly believe it to be true. This is undeniable especially when of the team members goes missing. Stress level mount as soon as we hear of a vacations being taken or other changes for our team members. Since each member of the team plays such a vital part of delivering dental care, when one is missing, each member has to work even harder to accomplish our goals for ourselves and our patients.
Team absences are not that uncommon: illness, vacations and family leave can cause members to need periods of time off, which of course we understand. As much as possible, we like to have staff that are crossed trained to perform multiple jobs. We thought you may like to better understand the roles and responsibilities of individual team members in the most general sense, so here are the most heard about positions in the office.
Your first point of contact is with the office is the receptionists. They are responsible for booking appointments, scheduling in general and your medical information. She has a knowledge about what procedures to book and for how long to schedule the appointment as well as a working knowledge about insurance policies and what the particular coverage types mean as well as generating estimates for copayments. Following an appointment, receptionists are also involved with making sure that the completed procedure is paid for by both collecting any co-pay and ,or sending out a bill to the insurance company or the patient. Receptionists are also responsible for making sure appointments are confirmed and she often makes changes in our schedule as the day proceeds.
Dental assistants have a number of responsibilities. They are in charge of infection control and make sure all instruments used are sterilized or disposed of after each use. She breaks down the room after each visit and wipes all contaminated surfaces with disinfectants. She also pours models, packs lab cases, calls the lab for pick ups and checks in all cases when they return from the dental laboratory. In addition she is in charge of ordering supplies. Of course when a patient is in the room, they assists chair side as well.
Dental hygienists are responsible for treating patients during all recall appointments. This can involve perio probing, taking x-rays, cleaning teeth and sterilizing instruments afterwards. They also remind my patients of any work that was previously treatment planned but not performed. While cleaning a patient’s teeth, my hygienists also carefully inspect their teeth and make notes any possible problems.
Our doctors are responsible for everything! Aside from performing various dental procedures, they are also responsible for developing treatment plans, returning phone calls, and writing all prescriptions.
These are only a handful of the types of people involved in our office happenings on a daily basis, so dentistry is definitely at team sport!