In most dental practices, dental assistants are a crucial part of the dental team. An experienced dental assistant works with patients and colleagues each day and strives to have a positive impact on everyone. Learning to improve in your position can grow your career by equipping you to take on more responsibility and can have a positive effect on your professional relationships.

Dental assistants must be able to listen to patients and other healthcare workers to be able to assist dentists and hygienists treat patients. They must follow rules when helping dentists treat patients. They must be good at working with their hands. Good hygiene is important, as they work in tight quarters with dentists and patients. Dental assistants must have excellent organizational skills to have the correct instruments in place for a dentist or hygienist to use when treating a patient. Basic computer skills are required to be successful as a dental assistant as well.

Aside from these basic skills, what are the top factors you need to develop to be a great dental assistant?

Communicate Well

You can improve your abilities as a dental assistant by communicating well. As you are on the job, you will be required to communicate with patients, dentists, and other staff, so it is helpful to know how to communicate with each of these groups. You not only need to speak and write efficiently, but also you need to listen well to what others are saying. Report to the dentist what a patient communicated to you while the dentist performs a procedure on the patient, or inform a hygienist what a dentist said a patient needs to have done. You need to transcript accurate notes based on your observations and what the dentist says, so your dental team understands what needs to be done.

Be Proactive

To show you are a dedicated and attentive dental assistant, try to find ways you can be proactive during your workday. In order to be proactive, you must pay attention to detail and be aware of the needs around you. These are important skills for a dental assistant. Show you are aware of the needs and procedures of a dentist in your practice by setting up their instruments as they like them arranged to help them be at their best. Try to determine things that can be done in advance to make workflow go smoother and have them taken care of before being asked.

Collaborate Better

A dental assistant is just one of the parts of the dental team working in a dental practice. You may work with several team members in different positions such as dentists, dental hygienists, and other support staff. The work you do can affect the other members, so make collaborating a priority. You must listen and be respectful of the ideas of other team members. If you work well with others on the team, you can learn the preferences of others in the office. By sharing information with each other, you are all learning to perform better together.

Have a Plan

If you want to advance your career further, it will require some planning. In order for your plan to be successful. you must have an itemized list of the steps you need to take in order to reach your career goals. You need to research in advance to see what skills you will need to acquire to get there. This may mean you need to get an advanced certification, complete continuing education, or seek networking opportunities. Plan to update your knowledge on a regular basis to keep up with ever-changing technology and changes in dental policies and procedures. You may want to take a class, join a professional organization, or collaborate with coworkers to accomplish learning new skills.

Care for Yourself

Self-care is important for dental assistants. It’s because of the fact they are standing or walking on their feet the majority of the work day. Be ready by showing up alert, organized, and ready to assist your team members. The more you rest and take care of yourself, the more productive you will be at the office. Caring for yourself also means taking care of your career. This means having a plan for advancement and being aware of what is most important at work. Caring for yourself in every area allows you to be a better employee and team member, as well as better personally.

Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to improve is to ask for feedback from your team members. You can formally make up feedback cards to have dentists, coworkers, or patients complete them, or ask for feedback in casual conversations. Ask your dentist if there is anything you can do to be more helpful. You can ask your coworkers how you can best collaborate with them. Ask your patients how you can improve their experience in the dental office. Taking feedback from those around you on a daily basis must also consist of you putting their suggestions into practice. Remember you must take the feedback in stride and use it to be helpful for making improvements in your knowledge and professional service.

A dental assistant is a trained professional and may assist in scheduling appointments, helping with procedures, or recording notes relative to patients. They can receive training or education in a community college or vocational college in approximately 6-11 months. Dental assistants learn about biology, anatomy and physiology, dental radiology, and dental science. SPS Dental Academy is committed to offer quality, accessible learning opportunities that successfully meet the needs of the dental community as well as individual personal needs. Contact us today for more information.