There is so much more to a dental assistant’s role than just record keeping and the preparation of instruments. As you are on your career path to becoming a dental assistant, you will start to develop a wide range of skills from dental assistant continuing education courses.
If you are thinking about becoming a dental assistant, then you should read on to learn about all of the great skills that you can look forward to picking up along the way.
1. Effective communication
As a dental assistant, you will be tasked with communicating well with not only patients but also a very busy dentist. You will need to work with your colleagues to ensure that each patient and room is fully prepared for the procedure and that all lines of communication remain open at all times.
A part of what you will learn during your studies is how to effectively communicate with clients, staff, visitors and any medical or equipment suppliers the practice uses.
2. How to properly sterilize
Everything from keeping hands and surfaces clean to the disinfection of dental tools, you will learn a great deal about the different methods that can be used and the high standards that must be adhered to. This will involve training on the most modern of sterilization equipment so that you are ready to hit the ground running at your first practice.
3. How to take a dental x-ray
Dental assistants are often the ones who will operate the x-ray machine. Knowing how to position the patient and machine so that an image can be taken is an essential part of your job. Not only will you learn to operate these machines, but you will also be responsible for getting the best possible image from the x-ray so that the dentist has the information they need.
4. Assisting with procedures
This is a very important skill set that you will continue to add to over time. Learning the correct steps that you need to take to support your dentist will cement you as an irreplaceable part of their team. This includes how to use the four-handed technique to pass items and use non-verbal communication skills. These are essential in any dental practice.
5. Additional admin duties
The role of a dental assistant is not limited to procedures and radiology. You will also need to be able to handle the front of house operations. This will include scheduling appointments, phone communication with patients and other duties that are essential to the operation of a successful dental practice.
6. First aid training
A dental assistant will need to be fully trained in first aid and CPR techniques. This is because you will be working in a clinical health environment and you will need to keep these certifications up to date throughout your career.
7. Bedside manner
Patients that come to a dentist often are in pain, and generally, don’t want to be there. There is also a lot of fear and apprehension for patients when they walk through the doors of your practice. As a dental assistant, it is your job to help keep patients calm and manage their expectations. You will be trained in the best methods to do this and over time you will continue to develop this skill set.
Your employer will expect you to be on time for work and to always be professional. Dental practices rely on word of mouth and for their patients to be satisfied with the work that is done. You will have some training on this, but your attitude every day needs to show that you want to be the best dental assistant there is.