Orthodontist Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
Dentist Dentists (DDS, DMD) diagnose, prevent, and treat teeth and gum problems. They work directly with patients to remove decay, fill cavities, examine X-rays, place protective plastic sealants on teeth, straighten teeth, place dental implants, and repair fractured teeth. They also perform corrective surgery on gums and supporting bones to treat gum diseases. Dentists provide instruction on diet, brushing, flossing, use of fluorides, and other aspects of dental care. They also write prescriptions for antibiotics and use a variety of equipment, including X-ray machines, drills, and other dental instruments needed for teeth cleaning or corrective surgery. Dentists in private practice may also oversee a variety of administrative tasks, including bookkeeping and employing and supervising staff.
Dental Hygienist Registered dental hygienists (RHDs) are licensed professionals who provide a variety of oral health services. They perform oral health assessments, provide nutritional counseling and self-care programs to prevent disease, examine the head, neck, and oral regions for disease, take and process dental X-rays, and perform other diagnostic tests. Hygienists provide services that help patients prevent gum disease and cavities by removing deposits from teeth and applying sealants and fluoride to prevent decay. They also perform oral cancer and blood pressure screenings, provide oral health instructions, place and remove temporary fillings and periodontal dressings, and remove sutures.
Dental Laboratory Technologist Dental laboratory technologists make and repair dental restorations and appliances such as dental crowns and bridges, orthodontic appliances, dentures, and other dental appliances. Dental laboratory technologists work with a wide variety of dental materials including ceramics, precious metal, acrylics, and gypsum. A thorough knowledge of dental anatomy and oral structures is essential as they examine impressions and models of the teeth and use this information to make the dental restoration or appliance as prescribed by a dentist.
Orthodontic Laboratory Assistant Prepare orthodontic study models, make orthodontic retainers, design appliances for tooth and bone movement, coordinate office needs with outside labs. The technician may also work with the orthodontist to develop skills for making new appliances.
Dental Assistant Dental assisting offers a number of career options. These positions include clinical assistant, infection control manager, practice manager, preventive assistant, and business/reception assistant. Most dental assistants work closely with the dentist and provide a host of support services. Clinical dental assistants review patient histories, perform blood pressure screenings, take and develop dental radiographs, apply dental sealants, and directly assist the dentist with patient procedures. In addition to chair-side procedures, dental assistants are responsible for instrument sterilization and, in many practices, help manage the dental office.
Orthodontic Technician/ Assistant Assist the orthodontist with treatment, takes x-rays/records, educates the patient about oral health and overall health, serves as a key communication link between the patient and the doctor, prepares teeth for the placement of brackets, makes orthodontic wires, and instructs the patient. Orthodontic Assistants also play key roles motivating patients to do their part in achieving successful results from their treatment.