Q&A: Questions for a dentist or dental assistant?

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dental assistant
by US Army Garrison Red Cloud – Casey

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Question by Tanya P: Questions for a dentist or dental assistant?
How would a dental assistant answer the following statements or questions from a patient?

1. I read an article that polishing the teeth will wear away the enamel and so I do not want my teeth polished.

2. How do I know that you are qualified to polish my teeth?

3. What steps does this office take to ensure that I am protected from AIDS?

4.The dentist just cemented a bridge in my mouth, how do I take care of it?

5. During performing a coronal polishing a patient complains that a tooth just felt hot and it hurt. What happened and what should have been done to avoid the occurrence?

Best answer:

Answer by dental girl
1. I would explain why we polish teeth and if the patient has excellent home care I may agree that they do not need a cleaning. Some patients do request that we only use toothpaste. I do not argue.

2. Ask. Most dental assistants can polish teeth, but are not legally able to use a cavitron or hand scalers. If you do not feel comfortable with the assistant doing something to you speak up.

3. They would explain that they use an ultrasonic and an autoclave and show what kind of disinfectants they use in the oporatory. Instruments should be bagged and sterilized before use. Handpieces should be covered with plastic and also sterile.

4. Do not chew on this today. This allows the cement to fully set up. Brush and floss like your normal teeth. ( I would demonstrate using a floss threader.) I would also discuss optional use of a waterpic and proxy brush. Call if any problems arise such as sensitivity or tenderness.

5. Avoid that tooth during cleaning. Ask if the problem has occured before and ask if an x ray is needed. Report it to the dentist. Sometimes during a polish if the person giving it goes too fast and too hard on a tooth it can produce a heat or pain sensation. They may need to slow down.

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