By Dr. Deborah Marynak
I’ve read several articles on the characteristics of a great Dental Assistant and although they were good, I didn’t always agree they summarized the best characteristics. So I decided I would write an article on what I’ve learned after over 45 years in the profession. There are four characteristics that stand out in my mind.
Great Dental Assistants can keep several balls in the air at one time. They can thoroughly turn a room while remembering there’s an impression to pour, a lab case to go out and documentation to complete. They can set up a room while anticipating anything that may go wrong and prepare for it; they know their Doctor.
They can see problems in the schedule and solve them before they become obstacles in the daily production or problems with the patient. They know how to prioritize tasks to stay on schedule; they automatically know which patients need to be seated first, which to seat second and they do it all with a smile on their face. They are fully aware the patient is the reason they receive a paycheck.
They are the kind of player every great Team wants. It’s no different than playing football or basketball; they’re not above picking up the ball and running with it when another Team player needs help. They never determine a task is “not their job”; on the contrary, they work for the betterment of everyone. At the end of the day, they don’t leave the office without helping everyone complete all task.
A great Dental Assistant knows what to talk about and what’s off limits at work. They don’t talk about their personal problems at work, not only because they are focused on the day at hand, but it’s inappropriate to bring problems into the office. They can listen to patients and any problems they might discuss, but they keep their conversation lighthearted and positive.
Great Dental Assistants are excellent communicators. When things happen that may affect any forward movement of the day, they communicate with the Doctor, Office Manager, the other Assistants and even the Hygienist if necessary. They don’t embellish or add their personal opinion; they understand the importance of clear, insightful communication with the entire Team.
Admittedly, there are other characteristics that make an Awesome Dental Assistant, but if you acquire these skills, you will prove to be an invaluable Team member and undoubtedly stand out as a Leader in your field.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Dr. Deborah Marynak is the owner of DentalStaffing.org, a dentist with over 30 years experience, and is committed to helping Dental Professionals find the right fit for both employees and employers. She also works with Dental Offices to help them streamline their clinical systems and teach Dental Teams how to effectively document to avoid risk.