5 Key Skills That Make a Good Dental Assistant

    Her job is her passion. Young beautiful female dentist smiling to the camera posing at the dental clinic

    Are you looking for a fulfilling career that can help you take advantage of your people skills? Do you have a knack for organization and professionalism, as well as an interest in dentistry?

    If so, you should know those aren’t easy qualities to find. If you have them, then you should highly consider a dental assistant career! Doing so would help you maximize your skillset and get you into a well-compensated position.

    See below for an in-depth list of qualities that are needed to become a dental assistant. Remember, some of these can be learned as you get further into your training/career.

    1. Ear-First Communication

    As a dental assistant, you should think of yourself as a facilitator of information. There will be many people giving you info that you’ll then have to communicate to patients, other healthcare workers, your dentists, etc. 

    Listening skills are among the most important qualities of a good dental assistant. Someone that has the ability to turn their ears on and let others relay their issues, tasks, or plans.

    In a lot of ways, you’re the face of the brand, not the dentist. While the dentistry might be in their name, most dentists will tell you that their practice is nothing without strong dental assistants to help them.

    For most of their appointment, you’ll be the one that they’re working directly with. You’ll ask them questions about their health, any pain they’ve been experiencing, any concerns they have, as well as answer any questions they have.

    If there are questions you can’t answer, you’ll bring them to the attention of the dentist, as well as the pain they’re experiencing. 

    More than 60-percent have an irrational fear of the dentist. As the dental assistant, you can help them feel more comfortable by listening to them and responding as needed.

    2. Professionalism

    When patients step into the dentist’s office, they expect professionalism. They wish to get in and out as quickly as possible (especially if they’re afraid or nervous).

    As the dental assistant, you’ll be the main component in expediting everyone’s trip to your office. While the dentist takes care of one patient, you’ll be in charge of setting up the others and getting them started on their treatment. 

    The patients aren’t the only ones that expect professionalism. Your employers and coworkers will demand it as well. They want to find dental assistants that bring a consistent and thorough approach to the position.

    You need to be professional both in your mannerisms and aesthetics. Always show up to work with clean scrubs. Keep your hair well kept and out of your eyes (if it’s long enough). 

    Put yourself in the shoes of a patient. When you visit a dental office, what type of dental assistant are you hoping to see? Someone that wears protective gear such as:

    • Surgical Masks
    • Safety Glasses
    • Clean and Crisp Scrubs
    • Gloves

    As you go further in your career, you’ll figure out what works best for your practice. What’s non-negotiable is keeping a professional approach wherever you work.

    3. Friendly Attitude

    As the dental assistant, you’ll have to be the one to take the first step with patients. In other words, you’ll be the one to greet them, make them feel safe, and as if there is a solution for any problem they’re having (which there is).

    During your dental assistant career, you’ll work with patients of many different ages, races, and backgrounds. You need to have the same level of friendliness and professionalism with any patient that you work with.

    If you don’t work well with kids, don’t apply for a position at a children’s dentistry. However, you’ll still need to develop the skill set because there will be child patients in nearly every dental office you ever work at. 

    Rest assured that you’ll develop more comfort with this as you go along, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. As you familiarize yourself with the patients at your practice, you’ll build more comfort and rapport.

    4. Administration Skill Set

    Sure, the service and healthcare skill sets of a dental assistant career are important. But truth be told, a good portion of your day will be spent doing administrative work.

    Don’t let that cool you off! It’s a nice change of pace. Some parts of the day will be spent with patients. Other parts of the day will be spent doing various administrative tasks.

    In your dental assistant career, you’ll perform various tasks such as scheduling appointments, filing records/documents, time management, and so forth. These can be skills you’ll use anywhere else you go, even if it isn’t in the dental field!

    5. Proactiveness

    Many people think that a dental assistant spends their entire career responding to what a dentist tells them, such as “fetch me the drill”. It’s actually the opposite that proves to be true.

    The best dental assistants are proactive, not reactive. They anticipate what a dentist will need for a patient, then set them up to be able to perform the task quickly. They are in constant communication with the dentist throughout the treatment.

    If you’re looking to build a dental assistant career, be sure to visit this link for your future.

    Start Your Dental Assistant Career Today

    Now that you have seen the 5 critical skills that you’ll need for a strong dental assistant career, be sure to use this to your advantage.

    Remember, not all of the skills have to come naturally. In fact, most of them will be developed and strengthened over time!

    Be sure to browse our website for more articles on the dentistry field, as well as many other articles that you’ll find interesting.