If you are considering being a dental assistant or maybe a dental assistant with only about a year of experience then odds are you're curious about some of the challenges you might be facing over a career as a dental assistant.
Here are some of the biggest challenges dental assistants face.
Inner Office Politics
Whenever you have started a new position, and especially at a dental office, you have probably experienced this kind of learning curve before. It is all about learning the interoffice Dynamics that are happening on a daily basis. The fact is, there are typically a lot of people with a lot of experience at dental offices. Some individuals may think they know a better way of doing it than you do.
Well sometimes this is true, other times it may not necessarily be true. It is up to you if you want to make that judgment call to challenge.
After speaking with some dental assistants these are the things they told us that they always look out for:
- Who is typically in charge?
- Who is the authority figure regardless of their position?
- Who is the most knowledgeable?
- Who you should avoid?
- Who is always open to help?
- How to act around each individual.
Stepping into a new dental office means there are a ton of things you don't know about your team. They're going to have been many employees that have been there for multiple years by the time you come in, and they may already have deep friendships throughout the office.
So until you start learning more about your fellow team members, we always recommend playing it too safe with conversations. This is done by trying not to say anything controversial and trying to work out issues very calmly if you have any conflicts.
If you feel like you are struggling then it's always good to reach out to your supervisor. Odds are they have had to bring in employees before, so they are used to be into office dynamics and how to assist new incoming employees.
Let's face it, every single job can be stressful. As a dental assistant, it can be even a little more stressful. You'll be working with patients, providing a skilled Service, as well as working with other dental professionals.
In some ways, it may feel like you are balancing pleasant customer service with the skilled professionalism that you have.
It's also important to note that as a dental assistant you may be working long hours. For most of these hours, you are going to be either on your feet or leaning over while assisting. Both of these can lead to physical pain over time if you are not properly supported, and that may increase the level of stress you experience.
That's why it is always important to remember to wear shoes that can actively support you. If you ever have any increasing concerns about your own health we always recommend getting checked out by a physician just to be safe.
Working long hours can leave you feeling more burnt out over time. That's why we always recommend working with a dental office where these extremely long hours are an exception and not the normal hours of operation for you.
If you ever feel like you are actively being burnt out to these hours and you feel like your work product may be suffering for your patients, then always let your office manager be aware of this so they can adjust your hours accordingly.
Patients That Don't Respect Your Time
This can be one of the most aggravating aspects when it comes to being a dental assistant. Whether it be due to their perceivement of your profession, or just the patient's general personality, patients that don't respect your time can throw off your entire day.
One of the biggest occurrences of this is last-minute cancellations or just simply not showing up. This can generally throw off the entire day of planning oh, and at some cases, it can leave you multiple hours of nothing to necessarily do. At some offices, they may even send you home for a couple of hours if there is nothing for you to do.
Overall, this can hurt your paycheck each week depending on the number of cancellations.
Especially if you are not salary.
Patients can also arrive late. Late patients are handled differently from office to office. At some offices, if you are a certain amount of time late then they are turned away and forced to reschedule, and other offices will still try to fit them in and push the entire day back.
In instances like this,b you may be encouraged to work on that patient and try to get them done as quickly as possible to accommodate other patients because they were late.
To help reduce the occurrences of late patients and patients that do not show up we always recommend the office reach out to patients a few days before their appointment.
Considering these patients have probably made their appointments more than four months in advance, they may have forgotten if they did not put it in their calendar, or something may have come up. Checking in advance with patience will ensure that you have the most filled schedule as possible.
Communication is important in every single position in a dental office, but it is even more important as a dental assistant. You will be working with every single part of the dental office. This includes partnering with dentists, patients, dental hygienists, and other front office team members.
Partnering with these many different positions will require you to have a lot of understanding about how these other positions work, and their individual responsibilities. We are not saying you have to know how to perform every single position that in-depth, but having a relatively complete understanding of the responsibilities will allow you to better help patients and help you go to the correct positions for your questions and needs.
It is also important that you have a positive attitude as much as possible around the dental office. Considering you will be communicating with all aspects of the dental office, your attitude either negative or positive will spread throughout the office due to all of your interactions.