As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, employment of dental assistants is also projected to grow in the upcoming years. Dental assisting can be a rewarding career as it provides stability, opportunity for advancement, and job security, but it’s important to do some research and learn more about the career path before pursuing it. As lucrative as it can be for some individuals, it’s not for everyone. To have a successful career in dental assisting, you will need the right personality and attributes.
Here are a few of the qualities of a successful dental assistant:
- Desire to help others
Before going into the dental field, take some time to evaluate whether you are truly passionate about healthcare, and more importantly, if you like helping people. Working with people all day can be extremely overwhelming. For some people it comes naturally and for others it doesn’t. Like every career, dental assisting can be challenging at times, but being passionate about the work is what will help you overcome adversity. The most successful dental assistants genuinely enjoy the work they do. They are team players, and they work alongside the dentist and dental hygienist to provide the best possible care to patients.
- Active listening
Being an active listener is another important characteristic to have as a dental assistant. You have to be able to listen to your patients’ needs and concerns. Some patients will experience fear when they come to the dentist. Learning how to actively listen to them will help you be of better service to them. You not only have to listen to to patients, but you also have to listen to instructions from the dentist.
Empathy is an important trait to have for any job, but especially when working in healthcare. As a dental assistant, you will be working with all kinds of people, and it is your job to make them feel as comfortable as possible. The people who come into the office are sometimes in pain or they have other problems. Having empathy and compassion will put them at ease and it will make your job easier as well.
- Attention to detail
Attention to detail is a great trait to develop for this career because you will be given a lot of directions from the dentist which you will have to put into application. In addition, working in someone’s mouth requires a lot of attention. One of your primary responsibilities as a dental assistant will be to ensure patient safety and comfort in the office. Paying attention to even the smallest of details will help you keep the patients safe. Being detail-oriented will help you maintain patient records, keep instruments sterilized and clean to use on the patients, and record patient details.
- Organizational skills
Being organized is an important skill to have because it creates structure and it allows you to work with more ease. As a dental assistant, the environment can get pretty overwhelming and hectic at times, so having a good system in place is really beneficial and it will make your job easier. Staying organized will also help maintain a clean environment and keep your priorities and schedule in order. Depending on the size of the office or clinic that you work in, you will likely have to deal with paperwork as well, so having a system in place will help you stay a few steps ahead and it will allow you to keep the office running in a smooth manner.
- Good dexterity
As a dental assistant, you will be working with your hands a lot. Having good dexterity is a must for this job because you will have to work in people’s mouths all the time, which usually requires being comfortable working in small and tight spaces with various tools and instruments. Having good hand-eye coordination will make working with precise instruments a lot easier because you will have more control over your hand muscles.
Being professional in the workplace is important for any job. As a dental assistant, the majority of the patient’s satisfaction will come from how they are treated in the office. Some individuals will feel uncomfortable or scared coming into the dental office, so being professional and making them feel safe is really important. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that you will be working in a collective, so the way that you act is also a representation of the organization as a whole. Being professional can look like coming to work on time, having a good attitude, dressing appropriately, and doing the best job that you can.