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Dental Assistant Work Tips

Dec 04, 2008

It's more than just teeth. If you're in the dental assisting field, you already know that.

But how can you differentiate yourself, putting yourself at the top of your field?

Whether you're just graduating from a dental program or an experienced dental assistant, these dental assistant work tips can make you a valued member of your dental practice.

  • Get to know your docs –  Ask questions as you work with each dentist. Does she prefer to have a face shield for certain procedures? Does he prefer to have the tools set out in a particular order? Whatever you can do to improve the working relationship with the dentist will make you a more efficient assistant.
  • Stay a step ahead of the dentist – Once you get to know your doctors, it's time to put that knowledge to work. You can make yourself indispensible by making the dentist's job as easy as possible.
  • Be a chairside star – Developing great communication will help the procedures run more smoothly. If you work with a dentist over a long period of time, you may also work out a subtle non-verbal communication system that allows you to work together as a team.
  • Be compassionate – Just as you should make the dentist's job easier, you should make the patient's experience easier as well. By making them more comfortable, you'll make the situation slightly easier for them—and that might make them more likely to come back again. When you put the patient at ease, it also makes the procedure easier for dentist—and that always makes you a more valuable employee.
  • Develop a specialty – You already know it's critical to know all the basics of dental assistant work, but you can really set yourself apart by developing a specialty. Course work in areas such as endodontics, orthodontics, prosthodontics, and periodontics will help you build technical skills that make you an important part of the dental team.
  • Find a niche – Build on your natural abilities to connect with a certain type of patient. For example, if you have crazy-good kid skills, shine when it's time to work on pediatric patients. Find an area of expertise, and make yourself the go-to assistant for those situations.
  • Continue your education – Increase your value to the practice by taking continuing education workshops, seminars, and courses. You'll stay on top of the new technology and procedures that create a better dental experience for the patient and, quite possibly, a more efficient working environment for you.

As a dental assistant, you deserve respect for the hard work you do every day. By incorporating these strategies into your career, you'll make yourself even more valued as a team member.

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