8 Skills That Make a Good Dental Assistant

8 Skills That Make a Good Dental Assistant

8 Skills That Make a Good Dental Assistant

A skilled dental assistant is a vital part of the dental healthcare team. Having a successful career as a dental assistant means having superb communication skills, maintaining strong attention to detail, keeping organized, and more! As a dental assistant, you’ll be working closely with the dental hygienist, dentist, and patients.

Let’s review the 8 skills that make a good dental assistant!

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1. Technical Skills

Dental assistants must have a basic understanding of dental medicine, machinery, and equipment and be able to conduct fundamental activities to assist dentists. Some of these technical skills may include:

  • Using suction hoses
  • Operating x-ray machines
  • Take dental impressions
  • Sterilize rooms and tools
  • Prepare dental products

2. Superb Communication Skills

In every workplace, but especially in a dental office, effective communication is critical. Dental assistants are in close quarters with the rest of the team. They frequently act as a point of contact for patients, dental staff, and dentists. Exceptional communication skills are also required of dental assistants in the following situations:

  • Face-to-face and over-the-phone communication
  • Simple explanations of complicated issues (for example, billing and insurance)
  • Making small talk with patients
  • Describing basic dental care
  • Describing patient status, room availability, and daily schedule adjustments

3. Strong attention to detail

When one of your key job responsibilities is to assure patient safety and comfort in the office, attention to detail is essential. Dental assistants must be able to focus on even the smallest things in order to be successful. It’s critical to have a detail-oriented personality in order to:

  • Ensure that all dental devices and tools are properly sterilized and stored
  • Maintain patient records
  • Ensure that all tasks are completed on time
  • Keep patients comfortable

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4. Tidy and Organizational Skills

The environment in a dentist’s office is fast-paced and constantly changing. When it comes to patient schedules, paperwork, and exam room preparation, a dental assistant needs to be organized. There are various ways that having good organizational abilities can help you succeed, including:

  • Keeping track of dental appointments
  • Making appointments with patients
  • Collaborating with patients on billing and payment issues

Having good organizational abilities will help you stay focused and keep the office running efficiently and on time.

5. Dexterity

Dental assistants must be skilled at manipulating objects with their hands. They usually work in cramped spaces with extremely precise tools and instruments. Dental assistants benefit from good dexterity as they pass instruments to the dentist or assist during dental procedures.

6. Administrative Skills

Dental assistants may be required to do a lot of administrative work. Interviewing patients and conducting intake, arranging appointments, compiling and updating records, and buying supplies are just a few examples of these responsibilities. This part of the job is comparable to that of other office workers, and it involves many of the same skills, such as attention to detail, effective verbal and written communication, and basic computer skills.

7. Problem Solver

Dental clinics are typically fast-paced environments. Because of the fast-paced nature of the job, dental assistants must think quickly, absorb information, make decisions, and put orders into action. Because of complications that emerge during procedures or patient relations, problem-solving abilities are essential while doing dental assistant jobs.

8. Ability to multitask

During the course of a typical day, dental assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks. They help patients in the dental chair, assist the dentist during treatments, and disinfect instruments and equipment. These responsibilities for dental assistants necessitate the ability to multitask between technical tasks during dental operations and clerical work between patients.

Learn The Skills To Become a Dental Assistant at Dorsey College

Our dental assistant training program is designed to prepare students for a variety of clinical and administrative duties within a dental office. Graduates of the Dorsey College Dental Assistant diploma program can learn the foundations of dental care, how to give exceptional patient service, and what it means to work as part of a dental team.

Learn more about our Dental Assistant program or contact us to learn more today!


  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-6
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-assistants.htm#tab-5