Dentist and dental assistant tending to a young patient

Skills You’ll Build in a Dental Assistant Program

Becoming a dental assistant is a fulfilling career path that allows you to help others and constantly learn on the job. Dental assistants are in a good place to gain valuable experience through time that will open up new opportunities in the field. On top of the rewarding experience and promising growth path in this career, dental assistants also enjoy a competitive salary range and can establish job security. As long as dental clinics are in operation, there will always be a need (and a lucrative job market) for aspiring dental assistants.

As if these benefits weren’t enough, yet another advantage is that the dental assistant program is concise and delivered at an accelerated pace, allowing you to put your training to use in no time at all! If you’re thinking about taking an NDAEB-accredited Dental Assistant Program in Toronto, you’ll do well to secure your place in a top-notch institution like Cestar College.

In this article, we will cover the vital skills that a quality Dental Assistant Program will help you develop so that you can have a leading edge as you enter this rewarding profession. When applying for jobs, make sure to highlight the top dental assisting skills on your resume, which will capture the interest of dental field hiring managers and set you apart as the perfect candidate.

Let’s get started!

A dental assistant adjusting the dental operatory lamp above the patient

1. Interpersonal Skills

One of the most fulfilling aspects of being a dental assistant is being able to interact with people. Depending on your tasks, it’s highly likely that you’ll be the very first person a patient will see or interact with upon coming into the clinic – and we all know how important first impressions are! As a dental assistant, you will present yourself with professionalism as you set expectations about the procedure/s to be done. Moreover, you’ll be a source of encouragement and compassion for patients who are in great pain or emotional stress.

Of course, another aspect of the job is also maintaining a good working relationship with the dentist/s in the clinic. If you’re part of a team, it’s also important to be a team player and work smoothly with your colleagues to be able to identify and solve problems that the team might encounter.

2. Administrative Skills

Administrative tasks in the dental assistant career can take the form of interviewing patients, conducting intake, scheduling appointments, maintaining records, ordering supplies, and the like.

Therefore, dental assistants are expected to have some skill sets that are similar to those needed in the office environment – which include attention to detail, clear focus, and good written/verbal communication skills. This is great news for anyone who is shifting from office work to this career path – those administrative skills you’ve honed are still valuable in this field and will help greatly.

3. Computer Skills

Depending on tasks sent out for a dental assistant, they could be responsible for updating the clinic’s files, booking appointments, transcribing notes, and so on. Therefore, working knowledge of basic computer applications is a must. Furthermore, dental assistants need to be familiar with dental software programs that fall within the following verticals: clinical, administrative, imaging, and patient engagement.

4. Organizing Skills

Almost all professions require some degree of organizing. But typical of most healthcare and dental care jobs, the success of a dental assistant hinges greatly on being organized. First, there is the physical aspect of organizing. Dental assistants are expected to do their best to keep the workspace clean and uncluttered. Tools and supplies need to be prepared, arranged, or stored correctly. Doing so will allow the clinic to go through tasks efficiently and without hassle.

There is also the mental aspect of organizing. Dental assistants would need to keep track of instructions from the dentist, requests from the patients, endorsements from colleagues, and so on. In line with this, clear focus and excellent time management skills are a must.

5. Hand-Eye Coordination & Dexterity

Dental assistants are there to act as a second pair of hands to help the dentist in a wide range of tasks. Some of these tasks require the use of precise tools and instruments to work on a small and enclosed part of the body.

Think of tasks like removing sutures, removing excess cement from fillings, applying anesthetics on the gums, and so on. Small errors can mean big consequences. This is why hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity is so important. And the only way to really develop these skills is through hands-on practice – which a quality dental assistant program would be able to provide.

6. Technical Skills

Of course, we saved the best for last. A dental assistant needs to have comprehensive knowledge and skills for the technical side of the job.

Dental Radiography

Dental assistants need the technical skills to be able to process films, correctly mount radiographs, critique X-rays, care for dental X-ray equipment, and so on. All-in-all, the dental assistant must be able to ensure the quality of the X-rays produced, make the procedure comfortable for the patient, and abide by federal and provincial regulations regarding radiation.

Operative Dentistry

The operative or restorative aspect of dentistry is the one that patients are typically most familiar with and is what dentistry is most known for. It can take the form of tooth fillings, crowns, veneers, dental implants, composite bonding, root canals, tooth extractions, and so on.

A dental assistant must be equipped with the presence of mind when assisting with such tasks under operative dentistry. Moreover, the matching technical skills must be honed with the right dental assistant program.

Preventative Dentistry

Preventive dentistry aims to help patients avoid any pathology, cavities, and infections and maintain long-term oral health. Preventive dentistry can take the form of cleanings, applying sealants, fluoride treatments, and so on. Educational instruction on proper brushing and flossing methods is yet another practice under preventive dentistry.

A dental assistant would need theoretical knowledge and the associated skills to be able to accomplish tasks related to preventive dentistry.

What’s My Next Step?

Ready to take the next step towards becoming a dental assistant? Cestar College in Toronto offers a top-notch, NDAEB-approved Dental Assistant Program (Intra-Oral Level I & II) that will hone all the skills you need to succeed in this fulfilling profession.

We constantly strive to give the best for our students with updated training, experienced instructors, and a healthy student-to-teacher ratio that’s conducive to in-depth learning. In this comprehensive and focused program, you’ll be sure to get a competitive edge.

Got any questions for us? Feel free to reach out, and we’ll be more than happy to help!

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