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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 49-51

Assessment of the qualification and performance of the assistants working in the private dental clinics in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh


1 Professor and Head, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Triveni Institute of Dental Sciences, Hospital and Research Centre, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India
2 Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Triveni Institute of Dental Sciences, Hospital and Research Centre, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India
3 Professor, Department of Periodontics, Mahatma Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Dental Sciences, Puducherry, India
4 Reader, Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Triveni Institute of Dental Sciences, Hospital and Research Centre, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India
5 Assistant Professor, Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Triveni Institute of Dental Sciences, Hospital and Research Centre, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India
6 Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Triveni Institute of Dental Sciences, Hospital and Research Centre, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India

Date of Submission19-Jun-2020
Date of Decision29-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance17-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Dipayan Datta
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Triveni Institute of Dental Sciences, Hospital and Research Centre, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/INPC.INPC_23_20

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  Abstract 


Background: A qualified dental assistant is expected to have proper knowledge in, various treatment procedures, handling instruments, infection control and health hazards. The present survey has been conducted to assess the qualification and performances of the assistants working in different dental clinics.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire survey was conducted among the assistants working in 22 dental clinics in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh.
Results: Only one clinic had a qualified Dental Hygienist and the other assistants working in other clinics were lacking professional degrees. Around 91% were involved in mixing restorative materials, 32% were involved in taking radiographs, 45.5% were not immunized for Hepatitis B and 19.2% of them have no knowledge about transmission of diseases like AIDS.
Conclusion: The present study shows almost all the assistants working in private dental clinics were not qualified with professional degrees. The dental surgeons should be much more concerned in recruiting only qualified dental auxiliaries.

Keywords: Dental assistant, dental clinics, hazard, qualification


How to cite this article:
Annapoorna H B, Datta D, Paul GT, Rai N, Sharma S, Kohli S. Assessment of the qualification and performance of the assistants working in the private dental clinics in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. Int J Prev Clin Dent Res 2020;7:49-51

How to cite this URL:
Annapoorna H B, Datta D, Paul GT, Rai N, Sharma S, Kohli S. Assessment of the qualification and performance of the assistants working in the private dental clinics in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. Int J Prev Clin Dent Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 20];7:49-51. Available from: https://www.ijpcdr.org/text.asp?2020/7/3/49/296536




  Introduction Top


The concept of four-handed dentistry came into use when the complex dental procedures made a dental surgeon feel the need of an assistant to deal with the instruments, as well as the patient.[1] Slack and Burt described dental auxiliary as a person appointed by a dentist to render dental care without himself/herself possessing a dental degree.[2] With time, a qualified auxiliary became a necessity for the dental practice and various professional degrees for dental auxiliary came into existence in different countries: dental hygienist (1906) in the USA, the dental nurse (1921) in New Zealand, and dental therapist (1979) in the United Kingdom.[3],[4],[5],[6] In India, currently, the following qualifications are available for a dental assistant: dental hygienist, dental laboratory technician, and dental operating room assistant.[5]

A qualified dental assistant not only helps a dental surgeon during any procedure but also can perform a variety of duties regarding the patients' care in the dental facility. He/she is expected to have proper knowledge in, various treatment procedures, handling instruments, infection control, and health hazards.[7] In this context, the present survey has been conducted to assess the qualification and performances of the assistants working in different dental clinics in Bilaspur city, Chhattisgarh.


  Materials and Methods Top


A total of 22 private dental clinics in Bilaspur were surveyed. Ethical approval was obtained from the institutional review board. Informed consents were obtained from both the doctor and the assistant.

The instrument for the study was a comprehensive close-ended questionnaire. The questionnaire was initially prepared in English and then translated into Hindi. The first part of the questionnaire covered the type of duties the assistants performed in the clinic and the second part covered the awareness of the health hazards in clinical setting. The validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by a panel of oral health experts.


  Results Top


Of the 22 private dental clinics, only one had a qualified dental hygienist and the remaining clinics had assistants who did not have any formal training or professional degree. All the basic dental treatments are undertaken in the clinics [Table 1]. The assistants were reported to perform various works such as reception of the patients, pouring cast, fabrication of dentures, mixing the restorative material, taking radiographs, and autoclaving; the dental hygienist only was reported to perform oral prophylaxis [Table 2]. More number of assistants was involved in the reception of the patients, pouring cast, mixing the restorative material, and autoclaving than the fabrication of dentures and taking radiographs [Figure 1].
Table 1: Types of treatment procedures undertaken in the clinics

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Table 2: Types of duties assigned to the assistants

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Figure 1: Distribution of responsibilities given to the assistants

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In the context of the awareness of health hazards, many of the assistants were found to have knowledge about the complications involved with the procedures, personal immunization for hepatitis B, harmful effects of radiation, ways of transmission of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and hepatitis, using protective wear while handling things before, during, and after treatment, and disinfecting himself/herself after treatment [Table 3]. Awareness of the complications involved with the procedures, ways of transmission of AIDS and hepatitis, using protective wear while handling things before, during, and after treatment, and disinfecting himself/herself after treatment was higher than that of personal immunization for hepatitis B and harmful effects of radiation among them [Figure 2].
Table 3: Awareness of the health hazards among the assistants

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Figure 2: Levels of knowledge about health hazards among the assistants

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  Discussion Top


Dentistry can be a boon to the common human only when it is accessible and affordable. These two can easily happen when there are at least dental auxiliaries available if not the dentists themselves. This study has been conducted to check the quality of the auxiliaries working in the private clinics as they play a key role in delivering quality care.

Surprisingly, an alarming level of only 4.5% of the total assistants employed was qualified and the rest did not have any professional training. Among the duties rendered, 95.5% of them were involved in the reception of the patients and 95.5% poured the cast. Pouring cast though sounds not a difficult job, the presence of undercuts and air bubble in a cast prepared by an unqualified assistant can lead to problems in denture fabrication.[8] Even 22.7% of them were reported to fabricate dentures that again can lead to problematic denture delivery. Around 91% were involved in mixing restorative materials. Without proper knowledge about the materials as well as the procedure, handling with them can compromise their retention and strength in the oral cavity.[9] Moreover, 32% of the assistants were found to be given the responsibility of taking radiographs lacking professional training. This may result in compromised quality of the radiograph with repetition of the procedure and increased risk of radiation hazards to the patients, assistants, and the surrounding people [Figure 1].[10]

[Figure 2] suggests that 27.3% of the assistants are exposing themselves to various physical and chemical hazards during the procedures for not being aware of the procedural complications. 45.5% were not immunized for hepatitis B exposing their vulnerability to nosocomial infection. At the same time, 19.2% of them have no knowledge about the various ways of transmission of diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis B. 13.3% used no protective wears which should be a serious concern as ethically a doctor cannot be risking any individual to contact infection. The only good thing was that all of them had the habit of disinfecting themselves after any treatment.[11],[12],[13]


  Conclusion Top


The presence of dental auxiliary in dental setting is extremely important for the doctors to deliver quality dental care. To assist the dental surgeon during treatment, the auxiliaries are expected to be qualified enough to render safety for the patients as well as themselves. The present study shows that almost all the assistants working in private dental clinics were not qualified with professional degrees. The dental surgeons should be much more concerned in recruiting only qualified dental auxiliaries. This can be enforced by the government only when strict policies are implemented.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Peter S. Essential of Preventive and Community Dentistry. 4th ed. New Delhi: Arya Medi Publishing House Pvt Ltd, 2011.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Slack GL, Burt BA, Dental Public Health – An Introduction to Community Dentistry. 2nd ed. Bristol: Wright; 1981.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Fones AC. The origin and history of the dental hygienists. 1926. J Dent Hyg 2013;87 Suppl 1:58-62.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Roberts MW. The New Zealand dental nurse program. Public Health Rev 1975;4:69-82.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Fridman JW. The international dental therapist: History and current status. J CAlif Dent Assoc 2011;39:23-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Rowbotham JS, Godson JH, Williams SA, Csikar JI, Bradley S. Dental therapy in the United Kingdom: part 1. Developments in therapists' training and role. Br Dent J 2009;207:355–9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Hovius M. Disinfection and sterilisation: The duties and responsibilities of dentists and dental hygienists. Int Dent J 1992;42:241-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Hensten-Pettersen A, Jacobsen N. The role of biomaterials as occupational hazards in dentistry. Int Dent J 1990;40:159-66.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Kostyniak PJ. Mercury as a potential hazard for the dental practitioner. N Y State Dent J 1998;64:40-3.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Ogunbodede EO. Occupational hazards and safety in dental practice. Nigerian J Med 1996;5:11-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Babich S, Burakoff RP. Occupational hazards of dentistry. A review of literature from 1990. N Y State Dent J 1997;63:26-31.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
de Almeida OP, Scully C, Jorges J. Hepatitis B vaccination and infection control in Brazilian dental practice, 1990. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 1991;19:225-7.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Fagan EA, Partridge M, Sowray JH, Williams R. Review of hepatitis non-A, non-B: The potential hazards in dental care. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1988;65:167-71.  Back to cited text no. 13
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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