What It Takes to Be a Dental Assistant

what it takes to be a dental assistantThis varied healthcare career is a great option if you enjoy helping people

Dental assisting is an interesting career choice for someone who likes to work with people, but also enjoys using some technical skills. Over the course of the average day, a dental assistant has a range of duties that can keep things interesting.

A first step in determining whether this could be a good fit for you is to find out more about what the job entails. Here is an overview to give you an idea about the dental assisting profession.

A range of responsibilities

Dental assistants work in the office as well as alongside the hygienist and the dentist in the examining room.

Patient interactions can include:

  • Greeting patients when they arrive
  • Helping patients to settle comfortably in the dental chair
  • Educating patients about how to keep their teeth clean.

During dental procedures your role can include:

  • Sterilizing dental equipment
  • Assisting the dentist by handing her or him the necessary tools
  • Processing X-rays
  • Performing lab test (with the dentist’s assistance).

Office procedures can include:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Organizing dental records
  • Processing patients’ billing and payment.

If you enjoy spending your day going from one kind of task to another, then this work might appeal to you. Office work can provide a nice change from clinical interactions with patients, and vice versa.

Useful qualities and skills

Some of the personal qualities that make someone in this role successful include being:

  • Good with people. Throughout the day, you’ll be interacting with patients as they come into the office for checkups or procedures. Many patients are nervous—especially children—and it’s part of your duties to talk with patients and do your best to put them at ease. Every interaction should help patients to feel that a visit to the dentist is a positive experience.
  • Organized. If you like keeping things in order, and devising systems that make things easier to find, this could be a good job option for you. Dentists count on their dental assistants to organize their office, but also to organize the tools they need in the exam room.
  • Focused on details. This can be especially important in terms of following strict procedures for safety and sterilization. This is a central part of work in a dental exam room.

Are you intrigued about what this position involves? It might be time to look into a career training program like the one at the Harris School of Business. This can provide you with the hands-on training you would need to enter this growing career field. We wish you the best of luck!

This article is part of the weekly blog of the Harris School of Business. With eight campuses located in New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania, we provide career training programs in a range of areas. Reach out to us for more information today!