Behind every good dentist is a good dental assistant. At the Okanagan Smiles dental clinic in Kelowna, Dr. Jonathan Visscher and Dr. Debra Matson rely on certified dental assistant Megan Locke to help ensure patients have great experiences.
As Megan explains, that’s the goal of everyone at Okanagan Smiles.
“They’re both (Dr. Visscher and Dr. Matson) really fun to work with,” she says. “It really is a team. We all work together and have an equal part in the office.”
Megan joined the Kelowna dentists a year ago after graduating from the certified dental assistant (CDA) program at Camosun College in Victoria. Twelve months into the position at Okanagan Smiles, Megan said she can already greet many patients by name without looking at their chart.
“I get to know some patients really well,” says Megan. “It’s great to see how patients end up with such nice smiles over time, and it’s nice to see them maintaining that smile, too.”
What’s Megan’s role in helping patients get and keep great smiles? What is a dental assistant’s day really like?
First appointments. After patients have filled out their health history form for the receptionist, Megan seats them in the exam room. There, she explains to the patient what’s about to happen: a full set of x-rays, an oral cancer screen, a bacterial check, and more. While Megan takes the x-ray photos, she gets to know patients and asks about any teeth concerns they might have. Before the dentist arrives to talk about treatment, Megan helps patients learn about how to take care of their teeth and prevent cavities.
Routine procedures. Whether it’s a filling, a crown or an extraction, Megan helps patients feel at ease in the room. Before she applies a topical anaesthetic, she asks patients if they have any questions.
Children’s appointments. As a CDA, Megan can clean children’s teeth and apply sealants on her own. She enjoys trying to make going to the dentist fun for the kids by showing them how the chair moves and demonstrating tools on their fingertips.
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