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It's Dental Assistants Recognition Week: 10 traits of highly effective dental assistants

March 5, 2015
It's Dental Assistants Recognition Week, and the staff of Dental Assisting Digest want to wish everyone a very happy and festive week!

This article is dedicated to the hardest working and most important practice builders of every dental practice – dental assistants! These are the women and men who work effortlessly to provide patients with the utmost professional care by offering compassion and sympathy, and helping to coach patients through some of the most delicate moments of their lives.

I’d like to say that I’ve met some really great dental assistants during the last 14 years of working in this field. Unfortunately, sometimes the profession loses a magnificent dental assistant, which can be heartbreaking and devastating to the practice. I’ve seen a few assistants come and go, but the ones who continuously leave their lasting impression in the hearts of patients and staff will always be remembered for their hard work and dedication.

I write this with the intention of not only shedding light on the importance of recognizing dental assistants during Dental Assistant Recognition Week (DARW) this week, but also to acknowledge each and every dental assistant who goes above and beyond expectations to exhibit magnificent work ethics. I’ve seen this exhibited often in my years as a dental practice manager. These assistants make everyone’s life easier and less stressful, often at their own expense.

Here are some of the traits of outstanding dental assistants:

• They greet each and every patient in a warm and friendly manner.
• They review all new patient charts to check occupation and/or marital status so they can start a friendly conversation and relate to each patient.
• They ensure that each instrument is sterile, and they disinfect rooms completely prior to seating patients.
• They seat each patient promptly, and if they aren't able to do so they make sure to apologize to the patient for not being able to do so.
• They explain each step in detail, starting with the X-ray process straight through to the actual procedure.
• They set up each operatory to provide comfort and warmth during the patient’s procedure.
• They sit chairside to ensure 100% emotional support during each case presentation and/or treatment.
• They escort patients to the front desk after their dental procedure.
• They offer help to other assistants during their time of need.
• They lead by example to ensure a smooth patient transition flow throughout the office.

Here’s wishing every dental assistant who goes above and beyond the call of duty a wonderful DARW. We’re hoping your fellow dental staff members do something extra special for you this week to recognize your efforts.

RELATED ARTICLES:DANB’s online DARW celebration
Celebrating dental assistants during Dental Assistants Recognition Week

Kyle L. Summerford is CEO and founder of Summerford Solutions, Inc., and editorial director of PennWell's Dental Assisting Digest e-newsletter. He runs a podcast series titled "The DDS Guru Podcast Series." He provides private business coaching for dentists. Mr. Summerford is a professional speaker focusing on topics such as increasing profits, staff etiquette training, and maximizing dental insurance benefits. He is a contributing author for Dental Economics, DentistryIQ, and Surgical-Restorative Resource. Visit his website at, available to dentists and team members for educational purposes, or contact him by email at [email protected].