If you’re interested in getting started in dental assisting and earning a dental assistant salary, then you probably know by now that you’ll want to attend a dental assisting certification program to gain the necessary medical and administrative skills that will be necessary to do the job. However, there are a few personality qualities that you won’t find being taught in any dental assistant training program that can help you shine on the job.
Are you a people person?
The primary personality trait that will help you excel as a dental assistant is an innate desire to work with people. After all, being a dental assistant means spending your days helping patients who most likely aren’t thrilled about visiting the dentist’s office in the first place. Having an easygoing and friendly personality can go a long way in helping patients to feel comfortable and well cared for during their visit. Being able to make small talk and chat easily with patients about dental hygiene and procedures can be one of the best ways to shine in this career.
Practice good communication skills
There are two primary functions that the dental assistant will be involved in day in and day out that require him or her to be a skilled communicator. First, the dental assistant must have very clear communication with the practicing dentist in order to respond to requests effectively and assist with procedures. Being able to listen carefully and ask questions when and as needed are the keys to success here. Additionally, a dental assistant will very often be the sole employee responsible for gathering the necessary medical background information for a patient’s file. Again, listening and asking probing questions are paramount.
The dental assistant is often responsible for a wide variety of tasks, especially in smaller practices. One might often go from sterilizing, preparing, and delivering several instruments to the practicing dentist to scheduling appointments and handling medical billing a few moments later. The ability to effectively shift between various tasks and stay mentally focused on each one simultaneously will make you a start within a dental practice.
While these skills are not taught in the classroom, they can go a long way in helping you succeed in a career as a dental assistant and perhaps even boost your dental assistant salary.