3 Qualities Employers Look for in Dental Assistants
If you’re looking for a start in the dental industry, becoming a dental assistant is a wise career choice. You’ll be tackling tasks necessary to running a dental office, like helping patients feel at ease and supporting the dentist during procedures. Dental assistants play an essential role in the delivery of dental services to the broader population. However, good dental assistants can be hard to come by.
Compassion and Empathy
The first thing that every dentist looks for when finding a new dental assistant is whether or not they’re compassionate. You will need to exhibit two important qualities as a dental assistant: compassion and empathy. There are simple definitions to help you understand both:
- Compassion is a feeling of distress for the suffering of another person. It also involves a sense of wanting to help someone who is struggling. Showing caring, kindness, and a willingness to help are all acts of compassion.
- Empathy is the ability to understand how another person is feeling. You might also share those feelings. Empathy is different from sympathy, which involves feelings of sorrow or pity for the misfortunes of another.
Many patients have a fear of the dentist and need to be given comfort. A dental assistant should be able to help assure the patient that there is nothing to worry about. You should also be understanding of this fear and discomfort to be effective. The ability to provide high-quality customer service will keep patients returning and significantly contribute to the value you provide to the practice. Developing a high level of service orientation is not difficult, particularly if you have a background in retail or hospitality.
A good dental assistant is one that always listens. Active listening involves dedicating your full attention to what other people are saying. You need to take the time to understand the message they’re getting across, ask relevant questions, not interrupting at inappropriate times, and actively engage with the speaker when necessary. Patients often have concerns about their condition or an upcoming operation and need someone to talk to. Because dental assistants are often the first people the patients meet, you need to quickly listen and respond to them. Dental patients need to know that they’re being heard and cared for. Knowing that the staff cares about their needs and doesn’t think of them as another number benefits them and your dental business.
It’s vital for a dental assistant to be trustworthy, reliable, and have a good work ethic. No matter what the job is, it’s important that a dental assistant shows and maintains a good work ethic. The best dental assistants are constantly motivated to work, maintain their focus at all times, and make sure that every task is completed on time. Part of that means showing up. If you aren’t reliable, you could leave your dental office and could potentially be in chaos. A reliable dental assistant is someone who has completed medical assistant programs, always gets the job done efficiently, shows up on time, hardly ever calls in sick, and takes pride in their career. Not only does the dentist rely on their dental assistant, but the whole team also relies on you. We often say that a dental practice cannot succeed without dental assistants. You are the ones who keep things running smoothly.
A role as a dental assistant can be very fulfilling and incredibly rewarding. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a successful dental assistant, get in touch with us for a chat about your aspirations, and we’ll help you formulate a plan to achieve the career you deserve.