The Air Force Dental Assistant performs paraprofessional tasks and oral hygiene duties alongside the military dental care services. Dental Assistants also supervise dental assistant functions with other junior dental assistants within the dental clinic. The dental assistant prepares the patient for the dental officer (dentist) from seating them to gathering records and new information on the patient for the dentist to study. All the equipment needed for a patient appointment is also prepared by the dental assistant. For a complete list of duties and responsibilities, see the section below:
Duties and Responsibilities
The Dental Assistant primarily assists the dental officer with patient treatment and receives patient, examines dental record, and prepares patient for treatment. Depending upon the procedure, the dental assistant will adjust the dental chair, select and arrange instruments and medications, and takes vital sign information such as temperature and records the blood pressure of the next patient the dentist will see. The dental assistant helps with the management of emergency procedures. During dental procedures, the dental assistant will retract tissues and maintains clear operating field for the dental officer as well as prepares the syringe for injection of anesthetics. Another job of the dental assistant is to prepare materials for making impressions and restoring defective teeth and they will record entries in individual dental records indicating oral cavity condition and treatment accomplished. The following is a long list of duties and responsibilities that will be accomplished as a regular part of the specialty code:
- Performs dental health duties.
- Performs oral prophylaxis and scaling procedures using dental hand instruments and oral hygiene aids.
- Applies anticarcinogenic agents and materials.
- Polishes restorations and instructs patients in dental health maintenance.
- Assists in planning, developing, and conducting comprehensive dental health programs.
- Exposes and processes dental radiographs.
- Adjusts radiographic machine, places film in proper position, and exposes intraoral film.
- Places patient in proper position for extraoral radiograph and exposes film.
- Processes, labels, and mounts film.
- Duplicates dental radiographs.
- Practices and enforces accepted radiation safety standards.
- Engages in general dental duties.
- Follows infection control procedures and guidelines.
- Cleans, sterilizes, and sharpens dental instruments.
- Tests sterilizing equipment.
- Cleans, lubricates, and makes minor adjustments to dental equipment.
- Performs daily inspection and user maintenance of dental equipment.
- Practices and enforces accepted safety standards.
- Performs dental administrative and materiel duties.
- Maintains dental health records, filing systems, and publications.
- Reviews correspondence, reports, and records for accuracy.
- Develops, manages, and conducts self-assessment and hazard communication and dental training programs.
- Performs dental materiel functions related to procurement, custodial responsibilities, and budgeting, maintaining, and disposing of dental supplies and equipment.
- Inspects and evaluates dental activities. Inspects and evaluates administrative and paraprofessional practices employed in the dental service.
- Reports deficiencies and outstanding accomplishments to base dental surgeon. Interprets inspection findings and recommends corrective action.
- Consults and coordinates with Dental Squadron Commander for improving administrative and paraprofessional procedures.
- Institutes corrective action to ensure adequacy and compliance.
Knowledge is mandatory of: oral and dental anatomy; fundamentals of physiology; dental therapeutics; sterile techniques; emergency dental care; oral hygiene; dental materials; instruments; dental treatment room procedures; medicines; systemic diseases; oral prophylaxis techniques; dental health programs; infection control procedures; dental administration; budgeting; equipment maintenance requirements; and physical properties of dental materials.
Education required for entry into this specialty is the completion of high school with courses in biology and chemistry is desirable.
Training. The following training is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated:
4Y031. Completion of a basic dental assistant course.
4Y071. Completion of the advanced dental assistant course.
Experience. 4Y051. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 4Y031. Also, experience in functions such as taking dental radiographs, maintaining dental equipment, performing oral prophylaxis procedures, and assisting dental officer in patient treatment.
4Y071. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 4Y051. Also, experience performing and supervising functions such as taking dental radiographs, maintaining dental equipment, performing oral prophylaxis procedures, and assisting dental officer in patient treatment.
Other. The following are mandatory as indicated:
For duty in, and award of this AFSC, a minimum age of 18 years.
For entry into this specialty, normal color vision as defined in AFI 48-123, Medical Examination and Standards.
Strength Req: G
Physical Profile: 333233
Required Appitude Score : G-43 (Changed to G-44, effective 1 October 2004).
Course #: J3ABR4Y031 003
Length (Days): 43
Possible Assignment Information