Working as a dental assistant is a challenging, rewarding, and in-demand career. For those who like working with people and making a difference, dental assisting can be a great choice. There are, however, many requirements to become a quality dental assistant.

Female dentist adjust dental surgical light then starts checking or examining tooth of young girl patient lying on dental chair. Dental assistant supports procedure by handing instruments to dentist.

Technical Skills You Need to Be a Dental Assistant 

Dental care is complex. A dental assistant will need comprehensive knowledge of multiple procedures and the equipment and instruments necessary for each procedure. Dental assistants must know how to use the many different tools and materials present for dental procedures, including blood pressure machines, x-rays, dental impression kits, sterilization equipment, and more. Dental assistants are often asked to have CPR certification or x-ray licensing. A strong dental assistant training program with a comprehensive class curriculum and clinical practice will help you learn all the technical skills you will need.

Physical Skills Needed by Dental Assistants

Dental work can be physically demanding. Dental assistants will be on their feet for most of the day, sometimes for hours at a time. Dental assistants may be asked to help disabled patients in and out of dental chairs. In addition, excellent fine motor skills and exceptional hand-eye coordination is important for any work involving patient care, including taking dental impressions, x-rays, and more. You will hone these skills during your training, but having strong physical skills can give you a head start.

Dental Assistants Need Critical Thinking Skills

While you will not be in charge of designing treatment plans or doing complex dental procedures, dental assistants will be helping with many of these tasks. Dental assistants need to take direction well, but they also need to be able to think on their feet, rely on their training, and adapt to a changing environment.

Dental Assistants Need to Be Team Players

Dental offices are busy with many professionals working together. As a dental assistant, you will work side by side with dental hygienists, dentists, office staff, and other dental assistants. A good dental assistant will thrive as part of a team and work to contribute to the overall success of the office. Working well with others is a soft skill that is still an essential requirement for a dental assistant.

Dental Assistants Need Good People Skills

One of the most important roles of a dental assistant is making patients comfortable and at ease in the dental office. Many patients – especially children – are intimidated by a dental or orthodontic office, and the dental assistant is the one who can help set those patients at ease and help them stay calm and even enjoy the experience. A good dental assistant likes being around and connecting with people. Although some are naturally gifted, these skills can be developed over time.

Training to Become a Dental Assistant

Dental assistant training will vary slightly from school to school. Some programs can be completed in as little as 12 weeks and are very affordable. During the training program, you will have classes as well as labs to develop clinical skills, and you will learn everything you need to know to work as a dental assistant. Classes and clinics include dental anatomy and physiology, dental charting, sterilization and infection control, dental X-ray techniques, instrumentation, dental materials, and clinical procedures. The curriculum will be comprehensive enough to prepare you for any skill you will need in your work as a dental assistant. After you have completed the training program and externship, job placement assistance is available. Many dental assistant graduates will receive immediate job offers after completing the program.

While some requirements are taught and others are more inherent, a good dental assistant training program can help shape you into a great candidate for the dental field. You will enjoy a stable, in-demand career that keeps you busy every day and allows you to make a difference in the lives of people in your community. If you’re interested in learning more about this exciting career, contact South Florida Dental Assisting School today!