Dental Staffing

How To Hire a Novice and Train Them as a Dental Assistant

OK, you’re desperate to find another Dental Assistant. You’ve set up eleven interviews and one Certified Dental Assistant showed up. The challenge is that this individual came in sweatpants with holes in the knees. Her sweatshirt looked like a baby had vomited on the shoulder and her hair looked as if she just got out of bed and through on the clothes she arrived in.

Out of desperation, you hired her thinking you could refine her over time. You would utilize her to take temperatures and BPs as a start. You offer her the job and the next day, she doesn’t show up! This is one of many stories I heard at the recent AADOM Convention in Orlando. Only a handful of Dental Practices told me they weren’t suffering from a Dental Staffing shortage. So, what to do??

As a retired Dentist, here’s my suggestion. Certainly, there are many tasks an uncertified Dental Assistant cannot perform, however, there are many tasks they can perform that can take the burden off the Dental Assistant who is certified.

The right lay person, who wants to work and is ready to learn can be trained to:

  • take temperatures and blood pressures
  • seat and bib patients
  • look over medical histories and make certain they are fully completed
  • dismiss patients to appropriate administrative Dental Staff members
  • break down operatories
  • perform sterilization
  • set up trays
  • keep the Dental Staff lounge area picked up
  • keep waste receptacles empty
  • keep floors free of debris

Does this require some training? Yes it does. Would this free up your Certified Dental Assistant to perform tasks requiring higher education and certification? Yes it would.

In this pandemic/post pandemic era in our Country, we need to get creative, stay positive and find ways to keep up productivity. There will be obstacles and roadblocks to overcome. The flip side of today’s issues is this: we know history has shown the pendulum will swing the other way! It always does.

So, hang in there, stay positive and focused! You’ve got this! Go to, post your creative Dental Practice Profile and ad. Find that one individual to lighten your load!



“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead
where there is no path and leave a trail.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson