The recommended amount of time for brushing your teeth is two minutes. Everyone knows that, right?
Apparently not. The average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds a day. (That’s it?) Not to worry, though — this is where a dental assistant comes in. One of their main responsibilities is to discuss proper dental hygiene with patients at the end of their visit. (And hopefully, get them to that two-minute brushing mark!)
Of course, oral hygiene lessons aren’t the only aspect of the dental assistant position. They play a vital role in a dental practice’s overall functioning, acting as a jack of all trades, so to speak.
So, what exactly is involved?
Here’s a look at the role of a dental assistant and some tips to help you succeed:
Excelling in the role of a dental assistant requires a lot of versatility. From patient interaction to administrative tasks, you’ll have a hand in various areas to help keep the dental practice running smoothly.
Here are the main responsibilities of a dental assistant:
All of the different tasks can be overwhelming, so what can you do to ensure success as a dental assistant?
We’ve researched tips from dental experts, and here are the best tips to be a good dental assistant:
It’s not often you find someone eager to jump into the dentist’s chair. In fact, it’s quite the opposite — one-third of the U.S. population has some level of dental anxiety, which severely limits how often they go.
When they do show up (reluctantly or not), you’re able to give a positive and warm first impression. For many people, dental visits come with a lot of stress, and any amount of reassurance you provide will help ease anxiety.
It’s also necessary to really listen to your patients’ questions or concerns. Building patient trust goes a long way. If they’re comfortable around you, they’re more likely to be open and honest about any issues, which allows you to provide the best treatment possible.
A dental assistant is in charge of many tasks that require keen attention to detail: x-rays, molds, scheduling, billing, and dental records. More importantly, sterilizing and preparing tools and equipment should be handled with the ultimate level of care. Remaining detail-oriented ensures you’re not rushing through tasks that affect the patient’s health, safety, and well-being. Organizational skills are also essential to the role of a dental assistant. Keeping track of patient records is vital — major issues can arise if they’re misplaced, lost, or mixed up. The same goes for scheduling appointments and discussing billing or payments with patients. Making sure records are up-to-date and easily accessible helps you provide exceptional customer service.
A dental assistant needs to communicate — a lot. Whether you’re talking to a patient, helping the dentist during a procedure, or consulting with hygienists, you’ll need to communicate with people from various positions. The best way to make sure you’re on the right track is to gain a clear understanding of your role from the dentist. Ask questions, be proactive, and don’t be afraid to voice ideas or concerns. (Professionally, of course.) Keeping an open dialogue between you, the dentist, and co-workers, guarantees a boost in productivity, along with a stress-free atmosphere. It’s also imperative to communicate clearly with patients. Treatment procedures and options can be confusing, but an explanation that is easy to understand will give patients the confidence they need to make decisions. You may also serve as the mediator between patients and insurance companies, so a working knowledge of insurance procedures is beneficial.
Now that you have some tips to help you succeed, are you ready to start your career as a dental assistant?
At Dental Career Connect, our goal is to connect dental practices with great employees. At the end of the day, providing patients with the best possible care is what’s most important, and matching the right people with the right jobs is the best way to achieve that.
If you’re looking for a dental career, simply answer a few questions here to get matched with the best opportunities for your skills and background!