Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS) is briefly discussed in accredited Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) programs in British Columbia, but the curriculum does not include a comprehensive or clinical unit in the specialty of OMS. In an OMS clinic, the surgical assistant must be a CDA, and must have advanced knowledge and skill in patient assessment and monitoring, surgical asepsis, specialized instruments, and surgical procedures. Most procedures performed in an OMS clinic also require the patients to be sedated. The BC College of Oral Health Professionals (BCCOHP), previously known as the College of Dental Surgeons of BC, requires CDAs who work in sedation facilities to complete a Dental Anesthesia Assistant module, but the foundational skills of the OMS specialty are not included.
I confirmed the void in OMS education for CDAs because of my own personal experience, and by interviewing recent CDA graduates, and instructors. I had many years of experience in general dentistry prior to advancing into my current position in an OMS specialty practice. My previous experience, and my acquired Sedation Module still left gaps that I had to learn on the job, and it was a steep learning curve simply because there were new surgical procedures that I was expected to learn quickly and effectively. I have been in the specialty for over ten years now, and feel very competent and confident in designing an instructional manual specifically written for CDAs. To summarize, in terms of content, the goal of this handbook is to introduce OMS procedures that I did not learn in college, and that are not typically performed in a general dentistry practice.
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery – A Handbook for Certified Dental Assistants begins where CDAs enter the specialty: perioperative care, and sterile techniques before advancing to surgical procedures. I didn’t begin my career in Oral Surgery by assisting in surgery; I had to build the knowledge (information), skills (competence), and attitude (confidence) first to ensure the safety of the patient and the surgical team. My handbook follows a sequence that I believe develops through this scope and scale. I intended my objectives to follow that same process of reviewing perioperative care and the sterile procedure specific to each goal, and progressing through the goals as the degree of difficulty and assigned duties progress in a real Oral Surgery practice. The perioperative care, level of sterility and selection of appropriate instruments and equipment are discrete for each surgical procedure as well. CDAs are working at an advanced level in surgical procedures, and each step is crucial to patient care and treatment success.
This entire publication is under continuous construction👷🏻♀️. I will continue to amend this document and welcome all feedback.