CLINICAL DUTIES OF THE DENTAL SPECIALIST
Section I. CLINICAL ROLE
The dental specialist may be called upon to perform a number of duties within a
dental clinic. A dental specialist may be assigned to the administration and management
branch. Another may work in the supply section or perform oral prophylaxis or be a dental
radiographic specialist. The dental specialist will be assigned as an assistant to the dental
officer with duties varying according to the particular service in which he works. Regardless
of the assigned clinical area, several duties are common to all enlisted clinic personnel.
Many of these duties are discussed in this lesson. At all times, the dental specialist must
remember that there is more than one acceptable way of doing things. Techniques and
procedures may vary from clinic to clinic or dental officer to dental officer. In most
instances, proper performance of clinical duties may be accomplished through the exercise
of diligence, common sense, and, in patient matters, courtesy and understanding.
ATTRIBUTES OF A DENTAL SPECIALIST
The dental specialist relieves the dental officer of tasks that can be performed by an
individual with less professional training. To work effectively, the dental specialist must
have certain attributes. Some of the basic attributes are discussed below.
a. Aptitude. The prospective dental specialist must be intelligent and have a
certain degree of manual dexterity. Dentistry is a highly technical profession requiring
knowledge, understanding, and an ability to handle professional instruments and materials.
Aptitude also includes the ability to anticipate the needs of the patient and the dental
officer, make appropriate independent decisions, and adapt to various working conditions
b. Interest. The dental specialist must have or develop an interest in his work.
This interest may take several forms.
Some individuals strive to do well in any assigned task.
Some are interested in working and contributing to the welfare of other