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Tips for Becoming a Better Dental Assistant

5 ways to be a great dental assistant, on the job tipsBeing your best on the job can give you greater job satisfaction

The job of a dental assistant is not easy. You spend hours on your feet, assist dentists during tricky procedures, follow infection prevention protocols, handle front office tasks, and take on any tasks that you are asked to do. With all of these responsibilities, you should be proud of your job!

Taking your job seriously and striving to be successful are important aspects of a rewarding career. To be the best dental assistant that you can be, we are recommending 5 suggestions.

1. Be proactive.
In a busy dental office, there is always something to do. Look around and spot what needs to be done, whether it is straightening the waiting room, restocking inventory, or talking to a patient who appears nervous.

2. Be a good listener and ask questions.
Dental assistants are in a position of assisting others. For this reason, they need to be particularly good listeners. If the dentist or hygienist asks you to do something, be sure to listen carefully, think it through, and ask any questions that you might have. Remember, it’s better to ask questions than to make a guess and do it wrong.

3. Be observant and organized during procedures
Many dental assistants are expected to sit chairside and assist the dentist during dental procedures. There can be fast changes of instruments and multiple tasks that need to be done at the same time. When the procedure begins, be observant. Try to anticipate what the dentist might need. Stay organized so you know where every instrument is when you need it. No one is perfect, and a procedure can get a little stressful. But be sure to learn from your mistakes. And remember, you will get better each time!

4. Be a good communicator
Good communications are the key to so many things. Dental assistants need to communicate clearly in a number of areas. They need to communicate with patients about good dental hygiene. They need to communicate with dentists and hygienists during a procedure. And they need to handle office matters, such as insurance and payments, which might require communicating with insurers.

5. Stay current with new procedures, skills, and technology
Like so many fields, dentistry is constantly evolving. Make an effort to attend continuing education opportunities. Don’t be afraid of trying new things. Keep up with the new trends in dental technologies as well as new office technologies. It’s best to be seen as someone who is always willing to learn and improve.

Bonus tip:

6. Keep up a positive attitude
In a dental office, people work closely together and see each other every day. Help contribute to a pleasant work place by being a positive person and showing your professionalism. Avoid complaining and try to develop a can-do attitude. Being approachable and friendly will help you become a valuable part of the office team.

With these suggestions, we hope you are well on your way to developing the traits you need to be a successful dental assistant. Remember, your job is critical to the effectiveness of your dental office. Your work is valued, and you should be proud of your career!

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The Harris School of Business offers a dental assistant training program at its campuses in Upper Darby, PA (near Philadelphia), Wilmington, DE, and Voorhees, NJ. Schedule a tour to learn more about our program!

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