Important Traits of a DA

Sometimes, the most important roles are the ones often overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Such is the life of the Dental Assistant. While the focus of most dental procedures falls on the dentist and patient, it’s often the work of the Dental Assistant that makes it all work and gel.

Dental Assistant as the “right arm” of the dentist

According to Christine Felchner, BS, RDA, CDA, Dental Assisting Program Director at Concorde’s campus in Memphis, Tenn., the Dental Assistant is to the dentist what a deputy is to a sheriff, what Robin is to Batman, perhaps more to the point, what a surgical technician is to a surgeon. They can’t do their jobs unless the assistant does theirs.

“The Dental Assistant is the right arm of the dentist,” Felchner said. “He/she has the room set up, patient seated, X-rays taken and procedure explained so the dentist can come in and get started.”

Important traits of the Dental Assistant

Three important traits any good Dental Assistant must possess, Felchner said, are great assisting skills, attendance and attitude.

“Knowing the procedure and having correct materials and instruments ready is crucial to the flow of the office and confidence of the patient,” she said. “Treat each patient with care and concern and each day as a chance to learn something new.”

Attendance might seem like it should be a given. However, in a role like Dental Assistant, it’s even more vital to be present … for as long as the job requires.

“Attendance is critical to keeping any job, but the dentist depends on you to have everything ready for him or her to come in and start work,” Felchner said. “Also, the flexibility of being able to stay longer if a procedure runs over or if an emergency comes in is important.

“Put yourself in the patient’s place. You’d be glad someone took the time to help you.”

Finally, a good, positive attitude always goes a long way in any line of work, but especially that of a Dental Assistant.

“Your positive, caring attitude helps the patient feel safe,” Felchner said. “Learn how to find a positive in every situation. That smile behind your mask lights up your eyes.”

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