Just the other day, I was on Facebook catching up with family and friends, and could not help but notice four postings advertising the need for dental assistants — all posted within the span of a week. I checked in with a few colleagues and, sure enough, they confirmed there’s a shortage of dental assistants in the Ottawa area.
This is a problem. I know from my own experience that dental assistants are invaluable to a dental practice. They are often the first ones to greet patients and ensure they’re having a good experience. They take patients’ medical history, assist in treatment procedures, and perform many other duties critical to the clinic’s bottom line, such as scheduling appointments.
This is where our new charting system, SmartChart™, can really help. Dentists and hygienists often have to run around the clinic looking for someone to help with charting, especially for periodontal charting. Most times, it’s the dental assistant who gets pulled off their duties. Because SmartChart™ is voice-activated, there’s no need for a second operator. The dentist or hygienist simply calls out the tooth numbers and conditions, and the info automatically appears on the chart.
This is a win-win for everyone. Dental assistants can stay focused on what they do best, particularly the patient’s well-being. They can also use SmartChart’s™ 3D odontogram as a far friendlier and more effective visual tool for educating patients on their conditions, treatment plans and oral-hygiene care.
It’s also been my experience that when dental assistants can stay focused on their “HBU” – their highest and best use — they feel greater job satisfaction. Maybe they would also stay in their careers longer and we wouldn’t be having this shortage.