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3. Surgical Instruments


a. Operative Techniques. One of the most helpful procedures performed by the dental assistant in oral surgery is the manipulation of the suction apparatus or the use of gauze sponges in such a way as to keep the surgical field free of blood, saliva, and tissue while interfering as little as possible with the view of the dentist. To perform oral surgery properly, the surgeon must be able to see the tissue he is manipulating. Other ways in which the oral surgery assistant helps to afford good vision of the operative site is by keeping the operating lamp adjusted for maximum illumination, by wiping blood and other material from the mouth mirror as it accumulates, and by careful retraction of cheeks, lips, and other tissues. Efficiency of the operation is further enhanced by keeping the instrument tray in order, removing instruments and materials no longer needed, preparing other instruments and materials for use before needed, and being ready to take each instrument as the dentist finishes using it and to replace it with the one he will need next. The assistant must also learn how to use the surgical mallet. Proper malleting technique requires working with the dentist in a coordinated rhythmic pattern and knowing how much force to apply, at what angle the mallet must strike the chisel, and when to begin and when to discontinue malleting. During the placement of sutures, the assistant will be expected to help by cutting the suture material after each knot is tied.

b. Caring for the Patient. The oral surgery assistant should be ever mindful of the patient, seeing to his comfort and preventing accidental soiling of his clothes. During surgical procedures, the assistant should carefully observe the patient for signs of syncope (clammy or pale skin and lips) or apprehension and notify the dentist of the change. When surgical procedures are prolonged, he can often lessen the patient's discomfort by supporting his head and mandible. When the operation is completed, the oral surgery assistant should remove blood and other traces of the operation from the patient's face and lips. Before the patient is dismissed, the assistant should be alert to remind the dentist of needed postoperative instructions or medications and to re-emphasize the dentist's instructions to the patient.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

Copyright   SweetHaven Publishing Services
All Rights Reserved

Revised: June 06, 2015