There's a lot more to being successful in the dental industry than just having the technical skills and ability to perform the job.
So how do you become valuable to any dental office that you either work permanently at or temp at?
We are here to break down some of the best tips to ensure that you will be requested again as a temp and become a highly sought-after dental hygienist or dental assistant.
Be A Team Player
Being a team player is something that has been recommended in countless professions across countless Industries. However, the dental industry is no different. If anything, it is arguably more important to be a team player in the dental industry. Dental offices depend on the entire team to run smoothly. This includes front office team members, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and the dentists themselves.
So as a team member of a dental office whether you are working as a permanent member, or as a temp member for a day it is important to be reliable in the dental office. This includes showing up to work on time, as well as following through on anything you've stated that you will complete.
This also includes keeping your team in the loop as much as possible.
Do you know you're a little bit slower when it comes to assisting with root canals as a dental assistant? Then this may be something important to alert the dentist and front office manager to so they will be in the loop about patients waiting.
One thing that we have always heard is that you should not try to help out because that's not part of your job.
In some ways, this is true. If it is not technically part of your job then you do not have the obligation to assist as it pertains to your job description.
You will find that assisting whenever it is possible for you will be appreciated by your team members, and by the patients for making the process easier and quicker for them.
The best way to get requested back multiple times for a dental office is to make a positive impression on the dental office, and the patients. Every dental office appreciates team members that prioritize patient care and patient relationships with the dental office.
These offices have worked hard for many years in order to foster the relationship with the patients they have, and it is important as a permanent team member or a temp to prioritize the maintenance of this relationship.
It is vital to try to keep a pulse on the office.
What do we mean by “keep a pulse” when it comes to a dental office?
We mean attempting to pay attention to the workload and - while you are there. Are there any areas that other team members are falling drastically behind? Is there a panic that is spreading around the office due to multiple patient no-shows that day?
All of these are important to be aware of as they are happening. This will allow you to jump in as a team player and assist.
Being communicative also means asking questions when there is something you are unsure of. This applies most heavily when you are temping for a dental office, and it applies even more so when it is a dental office that you have never temped for before.
These questions could be as simple as their filing system for patients if you need to pull something. Or these questions could be more applicable to the cleaning itself such as where the scalers are sanitized and stored for your access, or where the necessary x-ray machines are if they are not within the individual operatories.
At most dental offices the process is relatively the same, it is always a good idea to check in in the morning to make sure that the process is what you are used to, and what the dental office is expecting.
Match The Culture Of The Practice
Matching the culture of the dental practice will allow you to have a much easier time in any dental practice that you walk into. There are some dental practices that pride themselves on being very professional but courteous to their patients, and then there are other dental practices that pride themselves on southern hospitality and friendliness.
You'll normally get an understanding of the culture of that dental practice within a few minutes of entering and hearing how they interact with patients.
One thing to note is that it will never be frowned upon for being friendly and having positive customer service with patients.
The culture will be largely dependent on the way that the other team members interact with each other. Is it a culture that is extremely friendly when walking around the dental office and always popping into operatories to give a quick wave, or is it in an operatory that sticks to their individual responsibilities and patients with minimal interaction amongst the team unless necessary?
Dress For The Position
It is important to dress appropriately for whatever position it is that you are filling in a dental office. If you are working at a position permanently you are probably already aware of the dress code at that specific office. It is always a wise idea to abide by that as much as possible to continue the external appearance that the dental practice itself would like to portray.
If you are temping for a position then it may be a little bit different. We always recommend reaching out to the dental office before arriving at the location in order to ask what their dress code is.
As a dental hygienist or dental assistant, you may find yourself wearing scrubs to most dental offices. There is a multitude of designs and patterns that you can purchase on your scrubs, but some dental offices prefer a relatively uniform tone. If you prefer much brighter colors and patterns on your scrubs then it may be a good idea to go ahead and check with the dental office to ensure that this is okay with them.
If you are specifically just working the front office at a dental practice then your dress code might be slightly different. It is typically always acceptable to dress business casual when it comes to patient-facing positions.