A well-respected and well-liked certified dental assistant will have certain traits. Students going into the dental field will interact with a high volume of patients and will need to adjust to each case individually. A successful hygienist will use these characteristics in their daily routine to assist clients.
Clear communication is key
This career path requires willingness to ask questions, as well as the ability to listen to both the resident dentist and patients. As the first face a client sees, a dental assistant must deliver important health information in a friendly manner.1 In a field that brings many people anxiety, by communicating clearly hygienists can bring a sense of comfort to patients.
An assistant will be willing to work on a team or solo
A high level of versatility and responsibility comes with the job and dental assistants must be ready for quick changes of pace, while still providing great patient care.
Since dentists usually have two to three dental assistants on staff, there are many opportunities to learn.1 Solo or group dental sessions, practices with one or more dentists, are common, as is the chance to help in a variety of different practice settings.1 Public health dentistry allows dental assistants to continue working on their craft in a school or clinic and help entire communities with the prevention of dental issues. Dental school clinics allow an already certified dental assistant to help dental students learn important procedures.1
Foresight is crucial to the field
Not only should a dental assistant be willing to continue improving their skill set, they should also have the ability to anticipate the needs of the dentist.2 A dental hygienist will assist with many different specialties, including orthodontics, oral surgery and pediatric dentistry. This skill increases quickness in treating patients, while not compromising the quality of service.2
By preparing in advance for each procedure, dental assistants can ensure that there is a correlation between customer satisfaction and office productivity. If a hygienist isn’t completely ready, the ability to adapt and improvise to the dentist’s need is vital to a successful visit for a patient.
These fundamental traits, among others, are integral for a good working relationship between dentists and their hygienists. With a dental assistant degree, these characteristics will be put into practice every day and will become second nature when helping patients.
1“Dental Assistant,” American Dental Association, 2015. http://www.ada.org/en/education-careers/careers-in-dentistry/dental-team-careers/dental-assistant
2“The ideal dental assistant,” Dr. Priya D. Kothari, Dental Economics. http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-94/issue-11/features/the-ideal-dental-assistant.html