Find Your Dental Assistant Niche: Pediatric or Adult Dental Care

Dental Assisting is a fast-paced, rewarding career choice with great growth. As you consider enrolling in a Dental Assistant training program, it is important to find your dental niche. Do you know if you’d rather go into pediatric or adult dental care? Explore the similarities and differences between pediatric and adult dentistry!

What do Dental Assistants do?

Both pediatric and adult Dental Assistants fulfill many of the same job duties, they just work with different demographics. Dental Assistants help dentist work more efficiently by taking patients’ medical history and vital signs, preparing and sterilizing equipment, assisting in various dental procedures, taking and developing x-rays, and providing patient education.

The responsibilities of a Dental Assistant are generally the same in pediatric and adult dentist offices. As an aspiring Dental Assistant, you must consider whether you’d rather work with adults or children on a daily basis. Working in an adult dental practice will still have its own challenges, but there are certainly specific skills required to be a successful Pediatric Dental Assistant.

What do Pediatric Dental Assistants do?

Assisting in a pediatric dental office requires the same technical skills as working in adult dentistry. However, there are a few key differences between the two work environments. Working with babies, children and teens will require much more patience and a few additional skills.

Provide Comfort. Going to the dentist may be a new experience for children and that can lead to a lot of anxiety. There are various techniques that a Pediatric Dental Assistant can use to help children manage their anxiety and have a positive experience.

  • Breathing exercises. Telling them to pretend to blow bubbles or dandelion seeds teaches breathing techniques to help them relax.
  • Visualization. Asking the child to imagine a soothing or happy scene helps them focus on something positive. When they tell you about what they’re imagining it makes the scene feel more realistic, and as a result, more comforting.
  • Distraction. As any parent will tell you, telling a story or a joke is a great way to change a child’s mood.

Educate Patients. Working with children gives you an opportunity to have a lasting impact on their oral health. Educating pediatric patients helps them foster positive feelings towards dental care.

  • Basic oral hygiene. Showing children how to brush and floss helps them set good habits that will help them avoid problems down the road.
  • Eating habits. When kids learn how the right foods keep their teeth strong, they’ve made a huge step toward maintaining their oral hygiene.
  • Parent education. It’s important for Pediatric Dental Assistants to also educate parents of the children. Parents are able to reinforce the lessons you give outside of the dental practice.

Whether you feel like your talents would be best in pediatric or adult dental office, becoming a Dental Assistant is a great career choice. Milwaukee Career College can help you get started on your new career with a hands-on Dental Assistant training program! Contact us to learn more about MCC’s Dental Assisting program!