Oral Surgery Assistant Job Description

Oral surgery assistants work with oral surgeons, dentists, and periodontists to help them perform surgery or oral procedures such as fillings, examinations, or X-rays. This involves not only assisting the surgeon with their duties, but also working closely with the patient to ensure they’re comfortable. These assistants carry out tasks such as preparing equipment before surgery, discussing the procedure and any aftercare with patients, and helping surgeons maintain patient vital statistics. Oral surgery assistants typically work in a clinical environment during regular business hours. This job is well suited to people who are dextrous, have great attention to detail, and are incredibly organized.

 

Oral Surgery Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

Oral surgery assistants deal with a range of different duties each day, which vary depending on the organization they work for. Based on job listings we analyzed, an oral surgery assistant’s duties typically involve:

Assist with Sedation Processes

Oral surgery assistants prepare patients for treatment by talking them through the procedure and administering general anaesthesia and IV sedation.

Monitor Patient Vital Statistics

Oral surgery assistants monitor patient vital statistics and intravenous fluids during surgery and notify the surgeon about an issue as soon as it occurs.

Update Patient Records

Oral surgery assistants document each patient’s treatment and progress on their records, noting any X-rays, updates to dental issues and treatments, and dental impressions or casts.

Sterilize Equipment

Keeping the surgery area clean and tidy is a key aspect of an oral surgery assistant’s role, so it’s important that all equipment is sterilized before and after use and that all preparation areas are thoroughly cleaned to meet health and safety regulations.

Provide Post-Operation Advice

After surgery, oral surgery assistants talk the patient through any complications or successes and provide them with follow-up instructions, oral hygiene advice, and postoperative care tips.

 

Oral Surgery Assistant Skills and Qualifications

Oral surgery assistants should have strong interpersonal skills, the ability to follow instructions accurately, and strong attention to detail. Employers usually require a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, as well as the following abilities:

  • Organization skills – oral surgery assistants need to ensure that the right tools and equipment are set out ahead of each appointment, so organization skills are important
  • Computer skills – oral surgery assistants schedule appointments and maintain patient records, and good computer skills are necessary to carry out these tasks
  • Attention to detail – this job requires great attention to detail to monitor vital statistics and other issues during procedures
  • Dexterity – oral surgery assistants work in tight quarters on a small area of the body, so they need the dexterity to work with precise tools and instruments safely
  • Listening skills – oral surgery assistants must listen to patients and other healthcare professionals to follow instructions accurately and help treat patients

 

Oral Surgery Assistant Education and Training

The minimum requirement to become an oral surgery assistant is a high school diploma, although employers may prefer candidates with an associate’s degree or vocational school training. To work as an oral surgery assistant, state certification exams are required and must be retaken periodically to stay up to date. Oral surgery assistants with no previous experience can often learn their skills on the job from more experienced colleagues.

 

Oral Surgery Assistant Salary and Outlook

The median annual salary for oral surgery assistants is around $38,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Oral surgery assistants in the 10th percentile earn around $26,000 annually, while the highest paid earn $53,000 a year. Some companies offer packages that reach up to $3,000 from bonus structures and up to $5,000 from profit-sharing opportunities.

Over half of employers offer medical insurance as part of their benefits package, and around 25 percent offer dental coverage. The BLS predicts this sector will grow 19 percent through 2026.

 

Helpful Resources

We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you learn more about a career as an oral surgery assistant:

Northwest Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Blog – this oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic’s blog is updated regularly and covers a wide range of dental topics, from sports and facial protection to dental implants

Basic Guide to Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – this book helps readers understand the role of a dental nurse or assistant and provides an overview of oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures. As a comprehensive guide, it provides anatomy of the head and neck, strategies for pain and anxiety control, tips on equipment selection, and descriptions of complex procedures

Modern Dental Assisting – accessible language helps this book provide a great foundation for the basic and advanced skills needed to achieve clinical competence and expertise with common dental procedures. It includes full-color photographs and step-by-step instructions, as well as a companion website with interactive games and exercises

Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery – this blog is a great reference guide packed with useful posts related to oral surgery, dental hygiene, and dental implants

 

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