Three tiny tweaks you can make today to kick up your Dental Assistant game

No matter what our job title might be, how many years of experience we have, or how much praise we have received, there’s always room for improvement.

Like most roles in the medical industry, the day-to-day demands of a dental assistant are high-pressure and fast-paced. But it’s still important to find the time and opportunities to learn, to sharpen our skills, to grow…to get better.

I want you to be a dental assistant who constantly looks for ways to kick up the game. I want you to be dedicated to transforming a good patient experience into a great one! 

Here are a few ways you can do that:

Work on being a really good active listener 

For some patients, going to the dentist can be stressful, and fear of the unknown can lead to days of anticipation and anxiety. In order to provide the most comfortable experience possible for your patient, active listening is a great place to start.

Ask questions about your patient’s dental history. Really allow them to open up about anything that might affect their appointment, from previous negative dental experiences to mouth sensitivities related to the procedure. If they’re a patient you’ve had before, ask them about how they’ve been since their past appointment.

Stay engaged throughout the conversation to show that you really care about them; both medically and personally. Repeat things back to them so they really feel heard, and try to remember specifics when you see them for their next appointment. I can guarantee this will allow them to feel much more at ease in that chair.

Stay proactive 

Like in any profession, there will always be slow days. But as you’ve probably seen, dental assistants often take on hundreds of tasks at once, so there is always something to do. 

Whether it’s simply reorganizing your workstation because you’ve found a layout that will increase your productivity, or asking your doctor how to prepare for the next patient, staying proactive is the key to becoming a great dental assistant. It will also help you stay calm when the pace picks up. Plus, it’ll make your doctor realize just how valuable you are!

If there’s truly nothing available for you to do, reach out to a colleague. Maybe your slowest day is another dental assistant’s busiest day, and offering to lend a hand whenever needed can help foster a collaborative and supportive workplace. And, other dental assistants will probably be more likely to help you when you need it.

Ask for feedback

Once you’ve made all these tweaks, there’s no better way to find out how you’re doing than from the patients themselves.

Positive feedback might give you the confidence boost or perfect testimonial to confirm how great you really are at what you do. Negative feedback might be tough to hear at first, but could give you long term advice on how you can improve as a dental assistant, both technically and interpersonally.

Either way, providing your patients with anonymous opportunities to reflect on their experience might lead to insights and inspiration you never knew you needed. Because at the end of the day, the patient’s perspective is what matters most.

If you’re already a certified dental assistant, then you’ve been through the training, and you definitely have the skills to do the job. 

But your goal is probably bigger than that: to build a long term career that leaves you feeling confident and satisfied with the service you provide to your patients. And to do that, recognize that you can constantly improve, and go from good to great.

Learn more about how you can kick up your dental assistant game, and build a high-paying career that shines by enrolling in Polished Academy!