Dental staff: the different roles within the clinic

Dental staff: the different roles within the clinic

When you visit a dental clinic, depending on your dental care needs, there are different dental professionals you may encounter. Here’s a brief explanation of each and their roles within the clinic.

Dentist: When we think “dental clinic”, we usually think “dentist”. The dentist holds a doctorate in dentistry after 5 years of study, and is a member of the Ordre des dentistes du Québec. He or she is the only person authorized to carry out your oral examination, diagnose any abnormalities and perform curative treatments such as dental restorations (fillings), tooth extractions, prostheses, dental crowns and much more.

Dental hygienist: The dental hygienist works closely with the dentist in the prevention of dental problems. Hygienists must have completed a DEC in dental hygiene and be members of the Ordre des hygiénistes dentaires du Québec. Their role is to provide oral hygiene care, including scaling and polishing of teeth, X-rays according to the dentist’s diagnosis, topical application of fluoride and sealants, and dental health education for patients. The dental hygienist may also perform certain restorative treatments delegated by the dentist.

Dental assistant: The dental assistant ensures the smooth running of treatment in the dentist’s room. Their role is to prepare patients for treatment, assist the dentist in handling products and instruments, and support the dentist during procedures. In addition, the assistant is responsible for instrument sterilization, asepsis, equipment maintenance and ordering dental supplies. Although not mandatory in Quebec, the vast majority of dental assistants hold a high school vocational diploma (DEP).

Dental secretary: Dental secretaries perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as greeting patients, scheduling appointments, reminding them of visits, managing files and accounting. They are the first contact patients have with the clinic, whether by telephone or on site. Dental secretarial training is available, but again, is not mandatory in Quebec.

Dental technician: The dental technician works outside the clinic, in a laboratory, where they fabricate and repair orthodontic appliances, complete dentures, partial dentures, crowns and bridges on the orders of a dentist or denturist. A dental technician holds a DEC in dental technology and is a member of the Ordre des techniciennes et techniciens dentaires du Québec.

All these different dental professionals have their own role to play in keeping a dental clinic running smoothly. Together, we can offer high-quality dental services to all our patients.
We hope you’ve learned something new today!

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