Keeping up with technology as a dental assistant

Jan. 25, 2011
Heather Crawford, RDA, shares with other dental assistants about how technology has helped her learn more about dental implants and how implant software can make reconstruction procedures smoother and more precise.

By Heather Crawford, RDA

I have worked as a dental assistant for the past six years. Four of those years I have enjoyed working as an oral surgery technician. I have come across many different procedures that dentists (general dentists and specialists) perform to help patients, from simple everyday extractions to very extensive jaw surgery, as well as reconstruction with dental implants.

We utilize tomograms (defined as production of body image: the technique of using ultrasound, gamma rays, or X-rays to produce a focused image of the structures across a specific depth within the body, while blurring details at other depths) as well as panoramic X-rays. This past year, I learned to work with even greater technology. There is now implant software that allows for guided placement and precise planning and measurement to give surgical guidance.

When you get to assist in the planning of a guided implant procedure with specialized software, it makes the procedures a lot less complicated and allows for ease of implant placement, even for the most complex procedures. Whether the sinus cavity is low or the nerve is high, this computer software will give you precise placement parameters. After reformatting and planning the implants on the software, you get a stent and a step-by-step guide sheet sent back to you for the procedure to make the surgery smooth and precise.

Working with this has helped me understand anatomy a lot better and has made me a more knowledgeable assistant. I even find it easy to order the right implants and tools that correspond with each patient’s unique procedure. There are many new technologies available, and I look forward to learning as much as I can to further my career.

Join the ADIA in Las Vegas to learn more about implant imaging and computer aided treatment planning for your implant patients.

Author bio
Heather Crawford, RDA, works in a multidoctor oral surgery practice in Austin, Texas. She can be reached at [email protected].