Give a thought about the last time you went to the dentist. Can you remember who arranged your appointment? Did you notice who welcomed you and asked follow-up questions based off of your previous visit? How about the examination room: did you remember it being all tidied up when you got there? While clients are understandably preoccupied as they worry about the threat posed by those pesky cavities, dental assistants, on the other hand, are busy making sure that the patient’s experience will go as seamless as possible. That includes making it to the clinic early to prepare the test equipment and reviewing the procedures that the patient may undergo during their visit, as well as that person’s medical history. If you’ve always been interested on a career as a dental assistant, but is unsure of how exactly you’d fare or how long it’ll take to become one, consider those worries gone with the availability of online training and courses that’ll let you be a part of the field of Dentistry in a modern and more convenient way. With that in mind, check out these qualities that you should also keep in mind that’ll help you establish a sustainable career as a dental assistant. Qualities of a Good Dental Assistant
- Listening Skills – Dental assistants must listen closely to patients and other healthcare workers. They also need to closely follow directions from a dentist or dental hygienist, so they can help assist patients and at the same time execute their other day-to-day tasks. To be an effective listener, the dental assistant must face the patient and maintain eye contact. Additionally, he must keep an open mind without judging the dentist or patient while the two are engaged in a medical conversation. Lastly, an effective listener gives regular feedback to support and better understand what the dentist or patient is talking about.
- Professional Appearance – The dental assistant is often the staff that’ll make first contact with a visiting patient. Thus, good hygiene is important as dental assistants are likely to work closely with both dentists and clients. Consider the fact that a patient needs to trust the dental assistant in personal situations, create an appearance you would want your dental assistant to present if you were a patient at the dentist’s office.
- Interpersonal Skills – This skill helps dental assistants properly interact with patients. Dental assistants must work closely with dentists and patients, and sometimes, patients are in extreme pain and/or mental stress, which requires more to their emotions. The dental assistant must have good conflict resolution and mediation skills which comes in handy when patients are in extreme pain or mental stress.
- Detail Oriented – Dental assistants must follow specific rules and protocols, such as infection control procedures, when helping dentists treat patients. Assistants also must be aware of what tasks they can complete in the state where they work. A dental assistant that is detail oriented has a keenness to explore the topic discussed and the reasons behind the issue surrounding it. They have a proactive attitude to focus on the correcting of issues and handling daily tasks. Lastly, a detail oriented dental assistant is patient and has determination to explore a problem or issue fully so it is resolved accurately.
- Dexterity – Dental assistants must be good at working with their hands. They generally work in tight quarters on a small part of the body, using very precise tools and instruments. A dental assistant with good dexterity has control of their small muscles of the hand and fingers in conjunction with the eyes.
- Basic Computer Knowledge – Knowledge of computer applications, Microsoft Office suite, average keyboarding speed, and ten keys are some of the basic computer skills that’ll help you become a well-rounded dental assistant. Since overseeing patient files, insurance claims, and transcribing notes are some of your usual tasks, it’s critical for you to have basic computer proficiency to help you become more efficient on the job.
- Passion – You’ve got to love assisting others and take pride in knowing that you are the dentist’s right arm. Furthermore, you must have an understanding that your work impacts patients as well as the dental team in every turn. You need have a can-do attitude and genuinely care about your patients, too. After all, the little moments they’re left in your care, might actually go a long way in leaving a good or bad impression on behalf of your clinic.
Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant in the US A dental assistant takes over administrative duties and also assists a professional dentist during consultations and dental procedures. They may also be asked to assist with patient care and lab tasks. As a dental assistant you have a prolific career ahead of you. You can expect to earn about $34,000 per year and have access to 25% more job opportunities than your predecessors. Employment opportunities in that sector are set to grow by that percentage by 2022. In addition, assistants for dental care will always remain as an in-demand career due to the inexhaustible research efforts being carried out.