Are You Right for a Dental Assistant Position?


The role of a dental assistant is not only an important one in the dental industry, but it can also be highly rewarding and provide a stable career path. However, this is not always a simple role. Being in the healthcare industry, it requires a genuine passion for helping people and a willingness to constantly improve.

Here are our tips for becoming the best dental assistant you can be.

Love to assist

This is fundamental to the role of a dental assistant. As the right hand of the dentist, it’s crucial that you enjoy being in this position and that you realise just how important your role is. You are essential not just to the dentist, but also to the patient and the practice as a whole.

Be compassionate

Being in the healthcare industry, it is paramount that you show compassion and empathy. A pleasant and genuine chairside manner goes a long way, especially considering so much of the population is afraid of going to the dentist.

An ability to understand a patient’s feelings and make them feel comfortable is one of the greatest skills a dental assistant can have.

Be proactive

The role of an assistant doesn’t necessarily mean you must stand on the sidelines. In fact, the role of a dental assistant is quite the opposite. Ensuring everything is ready, whether it be sterilising the equipment or organising the office, goes a long way to ensuring the smooth operation of a dental practice and a smooth dental appointment for all involved.

Looking for ways to help and improve the way things are done are highly valued qualities.

Have a plan

Your role is not necessarily the same thing as your purpose. Knowing why you have chosen to be a dental assistant can help provide clarity and motivation on a daily basis. Think about where you’d like to be in a few years, whether it be the type of practice you’d like to be in or what sort of value you can provide in the future.


Communication is key in any business, and in the dental and medical fields communication is even more important. Dealing with patients’ health requires effective communication and positive action. Being a good communicator can mean the difference between a pleasant experience for a patient and their worst nightmare. Furthermore, communicating with your peers and colleagues in an effective manner can ensure a happy and productive working environment.

Stay sharp

Maintaining and improving your skills is the key to becoming a better dental assistant. Look for ways to improve your craft and improve yourself on a personal level.  Staying focused when at work is not only important for patients, but also ensure each day runs positively.

If you’ve been out of the industry for a while or you simply want to take a refresher course to ensure you are up to speed on the latest practices, re-certifying in dental assistance could be a good choice.

Be a team player

While sometimes it may feel like your role operates on a very individual level, remember that you are part of a team. The dentist is relying on you to do a good job, and the patient has entrusted you in ensuring their appointment goes smoothly and with as little anxiety as possible. If you work in a larger practice, the essence of a happy and efficient workplace is teamwork.

By striving to be your best in your role as a dental assistant and also aspiring to be the greatest version of yourself outside of the job, you will be doing both yourself and your employer a great service. Over time, you will become a highly regarded healthcare professional and your personal reputation will also likely be held in high regard. Not only will your work life be more enjoyable but it is also possible that your personal life will too as a result.

To find out more about refreshing your dental assistant skills or to study it for the first time, check out the courses available from ICI today.

Online, career focused education that suits your lifestyle.

See our courses
Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.