Are you a dental assistant interested in improving your skills?
In these still uncertain economic times, it is wise to increase your value to your employer and patients. Nobody can take their job for granted any more.
The ability of the dental assistant to anticipate the needs of the dentist in any procedure — and to act promptly on them — is a key factor that allows an office to increase its speed in treating patients without compromising the quality of care. After all, efficiency is very important in the practice of dentistry. Since dentistry is undeniably a customer-oriented business, it behooves all practice members to work as a team. This approach provides patients with high quality services at an efficient rate that allows an increase in overall productivity. The quality of service the dental assistant provides — no matter what the patient load per day — reflects the difference between a mediocre practice and an outstanding one.
Positions in this banded class provide technical assistance to dentists and dental students in the care of dental patients. Positions provide primary
clinical support for patient care by performing dental assisting duties in a variety of clinical settings, i.e., emergency care, general dentistry,
restorative dentistry, oral surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, prosthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics, and radiology. Do you want less of a challenge on the job? Below are useful procedures and tips that a dental assistant may apply to improve their role in the dental operatory.
1. While it is not required by all states, obtaining certification and/or licensure will not only help you find a job, it will also test you on the skills you need to be a better dental assistant. To become certified, you will need to take the Certified Dental Exam given by the Dental Assisting National Board. This can only be done after you graduate from an accredited dental assisting program and become CPR certified.1 Some states may also require you to be licensed with the DANB.2
2. Be consistently tuned in and respond to your patient’s physical comfort and emotional well-being—watch their facial expressions and body language for clues as to how they are doing—they may not be able to tell you what they need—have a good supply of comfort items on hand—neck pillows, blankets, sunglasses, lip balm and protein shakes or juice boxes for patients who have been in the chair for a long time.
3.No one wants to work with someone who has a negative attitude, so always strive to project positivity and be a team player. Patients will appreciate interacting with dental assistants who clearly love their jobs. Work will also be a more pleasant place to be if everyone is constantly looking for ways to help each other and remain cheerful throughout the day.
4. Along with their important role in the dental operatory,dental assistants are responsible for documenting dental care services and patient records. Keeping your operatory cabinets and drawers organized and stocked means less time searching for something and, makes for a more efficient workspace. Using your knowledge of dental supplies and inventory can certainly help you improve productivity as a dental assistant.
5. It is essential to build a rapport with your colleagues. Remember to accept constructive criticism and to work together to reach the goals of your office. If a reward system is not in place, consider starting one (or suggest it to upper management)! For example, have an employee of the month or luncheon to acknowledge excellent teamwork and spirit.
6. If the dentist doesn’t make care calls, YOU make care calls to check on the patient—either before you leave the office or the next morning.
By expanding your perspective on your job and viewing it through new eyes, you will discover how you can help patients, your co-workers and the practice while building your skill set and value. Go for it and become a star!