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Top 3 Dental Assistant Skills To Be The Best

Updated: May 19, 2023

What does a dental assistant do?

Dental assistants have a multitude of day to day tasks, which include direct patient care, appointment scheduling, record keeping, laboratory work, sterilizing instruments, and basically anything that you can think of. They are an indispensable member of the team and they are the only other clinical staff member aside from the Dentist and the Hygienist. The rest are all front office and administrative team members.

So, out of all these, what are the top 3 dental assistant skills needed to become the best?

Know your doctor better than they know themself

Do you know what every dentist secretly wishes for? To be able to clone himself because that clone would make for one all star assistant. They would know exactly what you need and when you need it. You wouldn't even need to say a single word because your assistant would just magically pass you the instrument that you were just thinking about.

Unfortunately, human cloning hasn't quite breached the technological threshold of possibility yet so that scenario is currently impossible. So, do you know what the second best option is? The best dental assistant is someone who can almost read your mind. They wouldn't quite be at the level of your clone but they can get pretty darn close to it. This skill should enable them to predict what you are thinking and anticipate what you're about to need.

That is the secret to impressing the doctor that you are assisting. Giving them something that they didn't think of needing but once they see what you've given them, they've just realized that that was exactly what they wanted. Touche.

You need to know them better than they know them self.

Compassion for your patients

Showing compassion for your patients is an invaluable skill that all assistants should have. In fact, studies show that patients usually trust the dental assistants more than they dentist. Apparently when the assistant is supportive, patients are 91% more likely to accept the recommended treatment plan from the dentist. This proves that they are a vital part of the dental team.

Doesn't it warm your heart to know that the patients like you more than their doctor? Can you count how many times when you, the dentist, and the patient are all in the room together when the doctor recommends a plan of action and the patient turns towards the assistant and asks them what they think? This is while the dentist is literally right next to them in the chair!

Therefore, the more compassionate you are towards the patient, you will actually earn their trust far quicker and far more easily than any other member of the dental team.

Being a team player with the ability to do it all

Dental assistants are usually the jack of all trades and can do it all in the office. The biggest barrier to being a flexible team member is actually being comfortable with clinical care. The front office are typically not trained in direct clinical care so sometimes they are a little hesitant in jumping into an assisting role whenever the need arise but that isn't the same with the dental assistant.

They can transition seamlessly into administrative roles when the situation arises such as when a team member calls out sick. They can easily answer phone calls, schedule appointments and even do some billing. When they are needed in the back, they can jump right back into assisting the dentist.

Closing thoughts

Overall, these are the three best dental assistant skills to have. If they possess them, they could potentially become the best dental assistant ever. Our dental assistants are the best that our LIC dentists could ever ask for!



David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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