When a dental assistant performs procedures and check up on a patient during a visit to the dentist, some of the most important work they do is at the end when communicating with a patient on ways they can care for their teeth at home.

Preventive care is important in all aspects of health and wellness and that is true with oral healthcare. Dental assistants help administer various dental procedures and also assist a dentist, but some of their most important work comes in helping patients understand just what steps they can take in order to prevent future dental problems.

Visits to emergency room for dental related issues have increased dramatically over the past decade and it has put an increased strain on the healthcare industry, as it is more expensive to provide care in an emergency room setting than in a dentist office before an issue becomes a major dental problem. Many of these emergency room visits are preventable through improved dental care at home.

As previously reported on this site, dental-related ER visits “cost the healthcare system anywhere from $867 million to $2.1 billion to treat dental conditions in hospital emergency rooms in 2010, according to HPRC. Previous studies have shown that patients who take their dental issues to the emergency room are more likely to be young or middle-aged adults and more likely to have Medicaid or no health insurance, HPRC says. In previous research briefs, HPRC has reported that the percent of adults between the ages of 19 and 49 with private dental benefits declined from 2000-2010.”

Because the healthcare industry is pushing more Americans to seek preventative oral care, the need for dental assistants is growing. Dental assistants help a dentist during a dental procedure or checkup in a variety of settings, ranging from dentist offices to mobile dental clinics.