Like the old saying goes, the chief is only as good as his helpers. Dental auxiliaries can make or break a dental office. The quality of care that a dentist can provide is directly related to the skills of his/her team members.
The ability to relate to people is an essential quality of any dental assistant. Their duties vary but usually include collecting and managing data and dental records, patient education, scheduling appointments, inventory control, making dental impressions and study models, patient preparation for dental procedures, sterilization, and hazardous waste management, assisting the dentist with surgery, laboratory case scheduling, and organization, and many others. Above all, a dental auxiliary is an advocate for their patient who is responsible for making certain that each dental visit runs smoothly and safely. Certifications such as basic life saving (CPR) and a valid dental radiographer’s license are also usually required.
One quality that cannot be represented by technical skill, a certificate, or a license is the ability to care for each and every patient as if they were a close family member. Warmth, care, and concern for the well-being of others is an integral requirement for doing this job well. A warm smile, a perfectly timed joke, a soft touch on the shoulder….these are just some of the intangibles that patients enjoy from a good dental auxiliary.