Duties and responsibilities
Oral surgery assistants, or sometimes called oral and maxillofacial surgery assistants, offer pre, peri and postoperative support to oral surgeons. Their duties will vary slightly to a general dental assistant. Oral surgery assistants tend to have duties and responsibilities such as:
- Performing administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and filing
- Preparing patient charts, recording treatment plans and updating dental records
- Operating x-ray and 3D scanning equipment and developing radiographs for diagnostic purposes
- Preparing and sterilizing surgical instruments
- Assisting the surgeon with operatory setup, anaesthesia administration and cleanup
- Monitoring the stock of surgical supplies
Requirements for oral surgery assistants will vary slightly between states. However, in general, oral surgery assistants will need a high school diploma, followed an oral and maxillofacial surgery assistant certification. They may also need a radiography certification.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as the relevant qualifications, oral surgery assistants will need skills such as:
- The ability to work well under pressure, as oral surgery can be intense and stressful
- Communication skills, as oral surgery assistants need to communicate with the surgical dentist
- Organizational skills, as oral surgery assistants need to organize patient records and schedules
- Physical stamina, as oral surgery assistants may have to stand up or bend over in awkward positions for long periods of time
Generally oral surgery assistants tend to work around 40 hours a week. However, oral surgery assistants may also be able to find part time work too.
According to SalaryExpert, the average annual salary of an oral surgery assistant in the United States in $342,963 per year. At the lower end, oral surgery assistants earn around $32,356 per year. Whereas at the higher end, they earn around $51,800.
Like most dental assistants, oral surgery assistants do not have a huge amount of career progression. With more experience and knowledge, however, they may progress to be in charge of teaching and mentoring new oral surgery assistants.