One of the most important members of a dental team is the Dental Assistant, who typically provides supportive dental duties such as taking dental x-rays and assisting the dentist with procedures. For many decades, dental assistants have been the team member who sits in during treatment while the dentist performs procedures such as fillings and crowns. However, now the role of the dental assistant has evolved into more responsibilities than in the past.
Dental offices and patients need dental assistants. But what do dental assistants need? Here are a few of the qualities that make for a good dental assistant.
Patient care skills:
Successful dental assistants share a passion for working with and helping others. To excel in the key area of patient care, assistants must also have a positive attitude, strong communication skills, empathy, patience and more.
Ability to work as a team player:
It’s important for dental assistants to work well with everyone on the dental team including front desk staff, hygienists and dentists. A good dental assistant is able to anticipate what’s needed every step of the way. Whether caring for a patient or supporting colleagues, dental assistants should be the ultimate team players.
Willingness to learn
Dentistry is ever-evolving so to best serve patients, they must keep a finger on the pulse of the dental field. Dental assistants should be motivated to complete continuing dental education.
Drive and initiative
Sometimes being a dental assistant requires doing more work — but when it benefits the patients and practice, this pays off. Those who seek out opportunities to fill needs in the dental office, through cross-training to work at the front desk, for example, are seen as going above and beyond, thus standing out as the ultimate dental professional.