There are always places that we can improve to become better at what we do. Being a better dental assistant is no different.
Whether you are trying to improve to get another job or improve the practice that you are currently working at, these are some amazing tips to keep in mind and implement as soon as possible.
Pay Attention and Stay Organized
Dental assistants are there to do with their name implies. Which is assist. In order to assist in the best way possible, it’s important to be aware of all the possible upcoming situations, scenarios, and recognizing what is more likely to happen.
Over time you will develop a stronger pattern recognition with certain procedures, interactions with patients, and even how your hygienists and dentists prefer to work.
So whenever you are given the opportunity to sit in and assist with more complex dental procedures that the dentist themselves is conducting be sure to pay attention.
You will be in charge of getting the dentist whatever tools he needs at a moment's notice. So be sure to know where all of your tools are, and have them all organized and readily accessible within arms reach for you.
Just like with any plan, preparation tends to be one of the most important parts of the plan. Being properly organized, and set up before the procedure even starts allows the procedure to move much more smoothly, efficiently, and calmly.
Continue Your Education
There are always ways to improve as a dental assistant, there are also ways we can improve to move up from being a dental assistant. If you decide to pursue a career even further into the dental industry, it may be recommended to look into the track to become a dental hygienist or a dentist.
Well, this may sound very intimidating at first, it’s important to remember that the process does not have to be fast in order to succeed.
There is no reason that you would be unable to start making small movements towards whatever your end goal is at the time. If that end goal is to become the best dental assistant that you possibly can, then that is a fantastic goal and you should strive a little bit more towards that every single day that you work.
If you want to start pursuing becoming a dental hygienist or a dentist, take an hour or two out of each day and do a little bit of research to see what programs you think would be the best fit for your life.
No matter what kind of formal education you decide to pursue, or additional certification you want to pursue, continue on the path that best fits what you want to accomplish, and you will see success.
Know Your Goals
Knowing your goals goes along with the previous things that we spoke about, but it is something important to note explicitly. Do you have an end goal in mind or are you just running through the motions of what you think the next step is?
As a dental assistant, you are a valuable part of the dental team in any office that you go to. This allows your expertise to be able to work in multiple different offices depending on what works well for you.
This can be done through full-time work, multiple part-time jobs, or temping at your convenience.
If your end goal is to be able to have the flexibility to be able to work at more of your own schedule, that way you can spend more time at home with your family around their schedules, then you may consider not working at a full-time practice, but instead part-time at multiple practices. This would also allow you to temp on days that you were not working.
The last time I checked, I have never heard anybody complain about the opportunity to make more money on a day that they didn’t have anything planned for anyways.
If your goal is for a consistent income, with consistent hours, and the same consistent people, then you may want to consider working full-time at a practice.
This kind of full-time work will allow you to always be able to count on that same amount per paycheck each cycle, as well as to be able to plan other things around your work consistently because you know what time you will be leaving each day, and arriving the next.
This will also allow you to be able to temp efficiently because you know what your work schedule is ahead of time.
For example: if you know your practice is closed on Fridays, and you want to make some additional money that week, you can accept a temp job for that Friday at another dental practice through Princess Dental Staffing
Listen, Learn, Then Listen Some More
As a dental assistant, you are able to work alongside other individuals that are expertly trained and experienced in the dental field as well. Whenever you’re given the chance and opportunity to work next to a dental hygienist, or dentist in the office, try to learn as much as you possibly can. Although you may not be able to always conduct the same procedures due to legal restrictions of your position, gaining some of the knowledge and expertise that they have will allow you to better help all patients.
It’s also important to know the time and place for questions. Yes, what the dentist is doing during a procedure that you’re assisting with chairside does seem very interesting, but is asking them specific questions about what they are doing when they are in the middle of the procedure a wise idea?
We would be fairly confident to advise you against doing that.
In cases like that, your role is to be there as a resource to assist them, and not to distract them away from the procedure itself. Of course, if the dentist has already established beforehand that it is perfectly OK for you to ask questions during the procedure, then feel free.
After the procedure itself, then feel free to ask the dentist any small questions about the procedure, but be careful not to hold them too long because odds are they have something else that they have to go run to perform.
Stay Professional And Positive
Work can get stressful, especially at a dental office. They are going to be times where you feel like patients are going to be waiting for her more time than anticipated, and you have to assume they’re going to be aggravated as well.
There are times when it feels like you’re just running around trying to balance 50 things at one time and you don’t have enough time to do it.
The best recommendation that we can try to make during any of these situations, is to try to remain calm, collected, and positive. Panic and stress are also contagious. Your patients will see disorganization and stress coming from all of the hygienists, assistants, and possibly the dentist.
Being the leader and stepping up and maintaining the calm, and positivity of the office is something that you can do every day. Every day there are going to be different stressors, but it’s up to you to assist in maintaining the structure in the balance of the office.
This will help relax all of your coworkers, your patients, and will be appreciated greatly by everyone involved we can assure you that. You would rather be known as the person that is awesome to work with because of your positivity and kindness, than the one that people sigh when they see your name on the schedule with them.
So the best you possibly can, try to be the calm within the storm each day.