Dental Assistant Externship Job Description, Duties & Responsibilities

Updated on: January 24, 2021
Dental Assistant Externship Job Description

A dental externship is considered an essential part of a dental degree program as it provides students with valuable, real-time information on working in a dental facility.

Both internships and externships are quite alike as they both provide dental students with an opportunity to work in a dental facility while still being enrolled as a student.

But there are a few differences between a dental externship and an internship.

Where the latter lasts for a long time (between 2 and 3 months), the former is usually for a day or two – sometimes a week. These allow students to learn on the job, in a rigorous role over a short period.

Typically, a dental externship is aimed to help students learn by observing dental procedures and assist with limited work. Usually considered as job shadowing, a dental assistant extern will observe all that a dentist is doing, ask questions, and take notes.

During a dental assistant externship, you will be provided with a few hours inside a dental surgery where you will probably look at dental equipment and instruments for the very first time.

The dentist will provide you with continuous information on how dental procedures take off and the use of tools. You may be asked to hand instruments to the dentist and manage some parts of the dental imaging process.

Let us take a look at what will be expected of you in a dental assistant externship role:

See also: Dental Assistant Internship Cover Letter

Dental Assistant Externship Duties and Responsibilities

• Read through and understand dental procedures that patients are registered for.

• Prepare patients for dental procedures by informing them of what to expect during the process.

• Sterilize instruments and set up instrument trays.

• Prepare materials such as fillings and ensure that they are stored properly before the procedure.

• Position dental x-ray machines and take x-rays according to specific instructions provided by the dentist.

• Assist dentists by handing them fillings and instruments during procedures.

• Take patients’ histories and ask questions to determine if they might suffer from anxiety.

• Put patient information into the facility database by ensuring confidentiality.

• Take dental impressions and assist dentists by using suction and swabs to keep the mouth clean.

• Apply topical anesthetic on specific instructions provided by dentists and ensure that patients are kept comfortable during dental procedures.

• Re-sterilize instruments after each procedure and ensure that any waste is removed from the surgical / treatment area immediately.

• Manage the front desk, take telephone calls and provide information regarding the facility’s services and handle appointment scheduling duties.


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