Posted in Career Insights
dental assistant skills

For those who want to work in dental care but don’t have the time or money to commit to a dentist’s education, there are many popular options. However, one of the most popular is working as a dental assistant.

You may be wondering, what dental assistant skills do you need to succeed? Here are some of the most in-demand skills you can expect to matter on a dental assistant job application.

1. Dexterity

Perhaps the first skill listed on a dental assistant skills checklist is dexterity or hand-eye coordination. Since dental assistants routinely help dentists or dental hygienists perform treatments, they must have great dexterity.

Even a small mistake when working on a patient’s teeth can cause problems, whether that’s with the teeth themselves or by making the patient anxious. This need for accuracy is especially pertinent when the dentist requests certain tools. So, if you are great at working with your hands and love helping people maintain good health, becoming a dental assistant may be a good career choice for you.

2. Attention to Detail

At first, it may seem like being a dental assistant is not that difficult. However, this line of work requires excellent attention to detail. 

This is because dental assistants are often responsible for a variety of crucial tasks, which may  include the following:

  • Setting up and sterilizing dental equipment,
  • Recording patient details for their record,
  • Doing x-rays to identify dental conditions,
  • Administering fluoride or bleaching agents, and
  • Taking dental impressions for diagnostic models or restorations.

In all of these tasks, your attention to detail reduces the chance of a preventable mistake or accident. It also makes it easier for the dentist or hygienist to provide quality service.

3. Interpersonal Communication

According to the Cleveland Clinic, around 36% of people in the United States have dentophobia, which is the fear of undergoing dental treatment. As such, it is very common for dental assistants to encounter patients who are nervous about their visit.

Because of this, one of the most important skills to be a dental assistant is interpersonal communication. Expressing empathy and learning how to help patients relax are important parts of the job and often have a lasting impact on the patient’s willingness to maintain dental health.

4. Organization

One of the skills of a dental assistant that goes hand-in-hand with all other aspects of the job is organization. With the amount of work that dental assistants do to help prepare and conduct procedures, it’s easy to overlook their administrative role.

In fact, dental assistants are also responsible for maintaining patient records, setting up appointments, and even greeting patients at the front desk. For this reason, it’s important that dental assistants make a good first impression. Maintaining an organized space is a great way to show the care and professionalism that patients are usually looking for.

5. Flexibility

Since dental assistants have a lot of different responsibilities, no list of how to be a good dental assistant would be complete without mentioning flexibility. The ability to balance your various duties on any given day is essential to keeping up with the job. This means being able to switch between tasks effortlessly and efficiently.

So, if you are okay going from preparing examination rooms to answering the phone to greeting patients—you should have no trouble. However, if you’re looking for a position that only requires you to complete one task for most of the day, being a dental assistant may not be the best choice.

Want to Learn More Dental Assistant Skills? Enroll in Stratford’s Course Today

With dental assistant job openings expected to grow by 8% between now and 2031, this is a good time to consider this career. If you are interested in starting a dental assistant career but don’t know where to start, consider enrolling in Stratford Career Institute’s dental assistant course. 

Through this program, you’ll learn all of the basics of the job from start to finish. This includes administrative duties like maintaining patient records as well as dental science topics such as anatomy, charting, and procedures. Contact us to request more info, or if you’re ready, you can enroll in our course today.


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Become a Dental Assistant

Become a Dental Assistant

Stratford Career Institute offers an affordable online course that covers the key skills required to start a dental assistant career.