Dental Articles

A Comprehensive Dental Assistant Job Description: What Soft Skills Matter?

Posted

By Dr. Deborah Marynak

There are a lot of articles online that try to define the Dental Assistant job description. Many of them have good things to say, but they also miss some of the key points of a comprehensive Dental Assistant job description. 

Some articles talk about the physical skills necessary to meet the standard of a Dental Assistant. But as Anthony Bourdain once said, “Skill can be taught. Character you either have or you don't have.” 

While it’s critical that a great teammate will have the necessary qualifications that meet the Dental Assistant job description, some of the most valuable skills are the character and “soft skills,” or personal traits, that make up a work ethic. 

We have outlined some of the most valuable soft skills that you need to add to your office's Dental Assistant job description, and traits that you should look for in your newest hire! 

If you’re a Dental Assistant looking for a position, focus on fine-tuning these soft skills, and try adding them to your resume! It’s the Dental Professionals who go above and beyond when considering the position of a Dental Assistant that will really get noticed in a competitive job market. 

Multitasking

Great Dental Assistants need to be able to keep several balls in the air at once. At any given time in a Dental Office, there are a thousand little tasks that need to be done. A Dental Assistant that can thoroughly turn a room while remembering there’s an impression to pour, a lab case to go out and documentation to complete will help your Dental Office be more successful and streamlined. A more streamlined office can see more patients, and provide a better experience to their clientele. 

A Dental Assistant that goes above and beyond the simple qualifications of the Dental Assistant job description will anticipate the needs of their Doctor. They will see problems in the schedule and solve them before they become obstacles in the daily production or patient care. They will be able to prioritize tasks to stay on schedule; they will be able to aptly assess which patients to seat first, which to seat second, and can do it all with a smile on their face! A great Dental Assistant knows that great dental care is ALL about the patient, and they make it their job to take care of the Doctor’s needs and the patient’s experience. 

Team Spirit

It’s not often that you ask a Dental Office for a copy of their written Dental Assistant job description, and listed in the skills is “team player.” But it’s one of the most valuable soft skills a Dental Assistant can have. Assistants need to be the kind of player every great Team wants. Dentistry is often no different than playing football or basketball; it has a lot to do with picking up the ball and running with it when another Team player needs help. The ideal Team Player won’t decide a task is “not their job” and wait for someone else to handle it: being a Team Player is all about working for the betterment of everyone.

Professionalism

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.

Communication

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 the Hygienist in order to troubleshoot any situation. Anticipating potential problems and carefully communicating those to the Team can also be a great help! In a Dental Office there is always a lot going on, so it’s important that a Dental Assistant knows how to clearly and insightfully communicate with the entire Team, while leaving out stress, unnecessary information, or too many personal opinions. 

There are a lot of qualifications that should be included in a comprehensive Dental Assistant job description. But the traits listed above are invaluable to a Dental Office working smoothly and efficiently. A Dental Assistant who can work with a Team, communicate well, and multi-task in a fast-paced environment will be an indispensable Team member. Having a Team full of qualified and diligent professionals (in both hard and soft skills!) will make your Dental Office stand out as a leader in the Dental Industry. 

Is your office in need of a Dental Assistant that fills all the requirements of a complete Dental Assistant job description? Become a member of Dental Staffing today, and get access to resumes from qualified professionals looking for a Dental Clinic just like yours! 

Are you a Dental Assistant who is looking for a Dental position, to show off your invaluable soft skills? Sign up for Dental Staffing, post your resume and start browsing jobs all over the nation! 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

- Aristotle

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