Dental assistants continue to be in high demand because they play such an important role in the dental office. Dentists need to be able to focus on their patients and provide the best possible care, and dental assistants help make that possible by handling a wide variety of tasks. As such, anyone who’s thinking about becoming a dental assistant will not only have job security, but they’ll also have plenty of opportunities throughout their career. However, that doesn’t mean just anybody can become a dental assistant. There are certain qualities and skills that dentists look for when hiring an assistant.

Friendly dental assistant with tablet explaining treatment to patient during teeth examination.

Qualities a Dental Assistant Must Have

Because a dental assistant will be required to do a wide variety of tasks, including both administrative and clinical duties, it’s important that they have a well-rounded skill set. Fortunately, you can learn many of these skills by completing a comprehensive dental assistant program as well as through on-the-job training. However, there are certain qualities (or soft skills) that can’t be as easily taught. You may be surprised to realize you already possess some of these.

  • Communication skills: Dental assistants need to be able to communicate effectively with patients, dentists, and other members of the dental team. This includes being able to listen to instructions, understand what the patient is saying, and explain procedures in a way that the patient can understand.
  • Interpersonal skills: Dental assistants need to be friendly and personable in order to put patients at ease. There will be patients who have a tough time at the dentist and it’s the dental assistant’s job to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Patients who are having procedures done can be filled with anxiety. Great dental assistants know how to explain things in a way that’s easy to understand and therefore a little less scary. This is especially true when it comes to children.
  • Organizational skills: Dental assistants need to be able to keep the dental office running smoothly. This includes tasks such as scheduling appointments, maintaining records, and ordering supplies. Without organizational skills, the dental office would quickly become chaotic.
  • Attention to detail: Dental assistants need to be able to pay attention to detail in order to perform their tasks correctly. This includes everything from sterilizing instruments to taking x-rays. If a dental assistant doesn’t pay close attention to the details, it could have serious consequences for the patient’s health. It can also lead to administrative mistakes, such as scheduling conflicts.
  • Stamina: Dental assistants need to be able to stand for long periods of time and do repetitive tasks. The job can be physically demanding, so it’s important that dental assistants have the stamina to be able to handle it.

Becoming a Certified Dental Assistant

If you have the qualities that dentists look for in an assistant, then the next step is to complete a dental assisting program. Here at the South Florida Dental Assisting School, we offer an accelerated 12-week program that will teach you everything you need to know to become a certified dental assistant. 

You can take our classes on weekends or in the evenings, which means you can become certified while you are working at your current job. To find out more about our dental assistant program or to enroll in our program today, contact us at South Florida Dental Assisting School.