Updated: May 23
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 them self.
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.
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!