Dental Assistant

Flourishing in Changing Times: Choosing the right dental assistant

Oct. 16, 2013
Choosing the right dental assistant is important

An awesome dental assistant can be a real asset in your practice. While coaching doctors on their efficiency and profitability, I see that an assistant’s position has a solid effect on the business results. Thus, I believe it’s important to select an assistant not just for clinical skills. An assistant with curiosity and willingness to learn can be taught leadership, efficiency, forward thinking, attention to details, and sales skills.

Your new candidate may actually lack clinical skills. You need a people person who is interested in others more than themselves. You need someone who can adapt quickly and welcomes change, a problem solver who sees a challenge, and someone who is not afraid to show initiative.

The assistant should be a leader in setting goals and getting results, a leader in the operatory, be able to anticipate needs, and be fully prepared for any contingency. She needs to adapt quickly and welcome additions to the schedule. She should always be asking, “Is there anything else we can accomplish during the next appointment to make things more efficient?”

Through your state labor board, you can find out the history of Workman Comp claims. Always check references before hiring. Find out why someone left his or her last job. Ask one of the references, “Knowing what you know now, would you hire this person today in your dental office?”

So many dental techniques and materials have changed and will continue to change. An assistant must be a leader in embracing change. Is she computer literate? Does she use Word, or Excel? She should be able to enter the treatment notes into the computer for the doctor to check before the next patient.


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Consumers are also changing, so having an assistant that has mastered sales conversations is essential. She is in the best position to ask the patients questions, helping to learn their long-term goals. With her sales skills in place, your practice can change from a “fix-it” mentality to long-term treatment plans.

With the right skills and attitude, your new assistant needs to be well compensated. I believe in pay plus a collection bonus.

Finding the right dental assistant can be a huge boost for your dental practice.

Dr. Bill Blatchford, America’s premier dental business coach, is CEO of Blatchford Solutions. He coaches dentists of all ages to be more profitable and efficient while taking more time away to rejuvenate. His new book, “The Boomer Dentist,” with Jeff Griswold, a financial planner, is now available. Dr. Blatchford can be reached at 888-977-4600 and [email protected].