7 Skills of a Successful Dental Assistant

Interested in becoming a dental assistant? What are the 7 skills of a successful dental assistant? The 7 skills include administrative skills, computer skills, being detail-oriented, having dexterity, interpersonal skills, listening skills and organizational skills. All of these skills make a successful dental assistant.

Administrative skillsDental assistants are responsible for a large number of administrative tasks including billing and coding, form filling, insurance claim processing, payment processing and secretarial tasks. Throughout the day a dental assistant may perform one or all of these administrative tasks so they must be able to work smart to get everything done while dealing with patients that come for appointments in the dentist’s office. A dental assistant must also do all of this confidentially as personal patient information needs to be secure.

Computer skillsA dental assistant must be comfortable working on a variety of computer programs or be able to adapt to new software interfaces. Many of the different tasks a dental assistant performs are based in unique environments, from billing and coding to insurance claims. The dental assistant may also type letters on Microsoft Word or fill out spreadsheets in Microsoft Excel. Having a basic knowledge of word processing and data collection software is a must for a dental assistant.

Detail oriented Dental assistants must follow specific rules and protocols when assisting dentists. Adhering to procedure will help dental assistants from making mistakes during examinations and minor dental surgeries. The dental assistant also needs to be detail oriented with respect to billing as it can be possible to bill a patient incorrectly or code an insurance claim incorrectly. This can cause a lot of back and forth with the insurance company and patient to resolve these issues. Being detail oriented can help dental assistants stick to a procedure and not make any mistakes.

Dexterity Dental assistants must be good at working with their hands. They generally work in small spaces including the patient’s mouth. The dental assistant must also use dental tools and instruments during procedures and examinations so good dexterity is important. Writing and typing dexterity is also a good skill to have for a dental assistant. A dental assistant will write and type a fair amount when recording patient exams and performing billing processes. A common injury many dental assistants may get, if not using proper ergonomics, is carpal tunnel syndrome. This can affect the dexterity of a dental assistant so proper ergonomics is an important part of a dental assistants work space.

Interpersonal skills Dental assistants work with dentists and patients on a regular basis and interpersonal skills come in handy. A dental assistant must be able to get along with others and get the job done. Sensitivity to patients and dentists can be important since during a procedure the patient might be in pain or the dentist may be tired from extreme focus. Good communication can be an asset for a successful dental assistant.

Listening skills Dental assistants should be able to listen to patients and colleagues for exact information. Procedures may be very important or timely making listening skills important. Dental assistants need to follow directions from a dentist so they can help treat patients during examinations without making mistakes.

Organizational skills Dental assistants must have good organization skills. Having all tools neat and clean for the next patient is important. The dental assistant must keep the dental station and exam room organized so everyone can find what they are looking for. The dental assistant must keep deadlines when filing billing information and may need to schedule patient’s appointments so organizational skills will help the dental assistant stay organized and focused on the tasks at hand.

Meridian College offers Dental Assisting Training in Florida that prepares you for a position in a dentist’s office. Meridian College’s hands–on Dental Assistant program gives you the skills you need to start an exciting career as a dental assistant.