Making the choice to become a dental assistant is a smart decision, as you’ll be entering an in-demand and fast-growing field with excellent career prospects and job security. Affordable and accessible dental assistant training means you won’t need to invest several years in higher education. However, you may wonder what makes a successful dental assistant?

Dental assistant smiling while standing in a patient treatment room.

Successful Dental Assistants Have Excellent Organizational Skills

Dental offices are busy places, and as a dental assistant, you will have a lot to do. The dentists, hygienists, and office staff will rely on you to keep everything organized. You will need to ensure that dental instruments and materials are in the right place during procedures, that patient records are always in the correct location, and that you are maintaining accurate patient records. You will likely need to manage multiple duties at once, and staying organized is the best way to do that. You may be preparing an exam room and sterilizing equipment, only to be called to assist elsewhere or answer someone’s questions. Being able to stay organized and juggle multiple tasks will help you succeed.

Successful Dental Assistants are Detail-Oriented

Attention to detail is incredibly important. You are helping to ensure patient safety and comfort. This means that even the smallest details are crucial. You need to make sure the dentist has all the correct tools and instruments for each procedure, and that those tools are properly sterilized, laid out, cleaned and sterilized again, and put away exactly. You will need to make sure every step of each task is completed and that the patient details are properly recorded and maintained. Finally, you will need to keep an eye on each patient, making sure they are calm, informed, and not in pain.

A Quality Dental Assistant is Professional and Motivated

As a dental assistant, you will have a lot of patient interaction, and the dentist and office staff will want to make sure you are always presenting yourself professionally. Punctuality, cleanliness, and having a good attitude are important in a dental assistant career. You want to be motivating to the staff, confident to the patients and always present yourself professionally.

Successful Dental Assistants Have Strong Communication Skills

Good communication is important in most jobs, but very important in a dental office. You will often serve as a liaison between the dentist and the patient, the front desk staff and the dentist, and others, and you will need to be able to communicate with everyone effectively. Explaining complex procedures in a simple way, initiating small talk to put patients at ease, outlining patient status, room availability, and room preparation, and describing care instructions are just some of the things you’ll need to communicate. Make sure you have excellent listening skills as well, as you will need to follow instruction exactly and respond to concerns. A professional and compassionate attitude can help facilitate how well you communicate.

Become a Dental Assistant with Dental Assistant Training

Dental assistant training will give you all the skills you need to perform your job. You will learn clinical and administrative skills and have the opportunity for hands-on experience. You will learn everything you need to know about dental instruments and how best to support the dentist. If you have the right “soft skills”, such as organization, communication, and professionalism, dental assistant training will help you hone the learned skills covered in formal training and apply them in a dental office setting.

The most successful dental assistants are those who take pride in everything they do, love to work on a team, and have a passion for helping others. Determination and a strong work ethic go a long way toward becoming a successful dental assistant. If you are ready to start a new career in dental assisting, contact South Florida Dental Assisting School to learn more about our comprehensive training program and how to enroll.