We can always improve no matter how long we have been in our careers.
Whether you are one year into your dental career...
How do you become an even better dental assistant?
Ask For Ways You Can Improve
No matter how many years you have been in the profession there is always room to improve. More often than not, you gain this knowledge on how to improve from your coworkers and mentors.
Yes, we do gain a lot of knowledge and necessary knowledge in order to perform our position from our education and training programs.
However, you learn the small optimizations and tips from those that work next to you and have been performing for years as well.
In dental hygiene programs, it isn’t typically stressed how important using air can be during your cleaning to make sure you are performing a thorough cleaning. Now, when you go into a dental practice you very rarely find that people are not using air during their cleanings.
The dental assistant operations are no different.
Ask your team members how you can better assist them when you guys are collaborating together. Ask your dentist what tips he has and has learned over the years that he could give to you. You can even ask your patients if there’s anything they feel could improve about their entire experience at your dental office.
There is always room to grow and improve and that is not something that is negative.
Try To Anticipate The Dentist’s Moves
As you continue to work with the same dentist over months, and possibly even years, you will learn how they work. Every single dentist works a little bit differently.
The goal is that you no longer operate in reaction to the dentist, but instead you are able to anticipate what the dentist needs or wants. This also means you need to become familiar with common procedures that you will need to assist with. The most ideal situation would be that you have a tool in your hand and are ready to give it to the dentist before they say that they need it.
Learning the movements of your dentist means more than just being in the operatory room. This can also be applied in general around the office when you need something. If you know that your dentist typically always runs 5 to 10 minutes late when you request them, then provide yourself a window 5 to 10 minutes after you actually need them in the assumption that they will show up then.
Work on Your Communication
Communication is key in becoming a successful dental assistant. It all starts with listening.
This includes listening to your team members as well as patients. You were going to have to listen to patients as they tell you stories, and you will have to decipher what parts are important to document and what parts are not. You will have to pay attention to the dentist’s direction and those directions put forth by your teammates. Being able to take in all of this direction and prioritize it effectively will allow you to manage your workload.
You also need to be able to effectively speak to patients in a way that they are going to understand. Most people will not have the form of dental training and knowledge that you possess. They won’t have the same knowledge when speaking about a diagnosis or recommendation. So it is important to partner with a dental hygienist, dentist, or if you must explain something to try to explain it in layman terms.
The patient wants to understand what is happening, so we as dental professionals need to be able to explain it in a way that they can understand.
Learn Why You Love To Show Up Every Day
There is no right answer when it comes to you this topic. These answers can vary drastically from individual to individual, and it is important for you to find out your own “why”.
We all have the original reasons why we went into becoming dental assistants. However, it’s important to reevaluate our strong motivation for showing up every single day.
There are some motivations that don’t have to be overly complex. It may have been a program that was offered at an education system nearby and it allowed you the flexibility for your own work schedule. It could also be much deeper because you have a driving sense of wanting to help others, and help others find their smile, and be confident in it.
No matter what the reasoning is it is important that you were able to be fully aware of it. This will allow you to tap into motivation on the days that seem a lot harder. This will allow you to gather that motivation on the mornings when you consider just calling out because your bed is a lot more comfortable that morning.
Rediscover your motivation, and stick to it.