Dental Assistants are very important to the dentist and a dental practice in general. As discussed in previous blog posts of ours assistants have many responsibilities including: instrument passing, x-ray taking, chart notes, suctioning, impressions, and many more. Without dental assistants the dentist would be greatly overwhelmed. Dental assistants tend to be the first point of clinical contact for patients, so being friendly, being able to clearly explain procedures, and ask the right questions is essential. It is important for dental assistants to build trust with patients. Some patients are feel more comfortable talking to a dental assistant rather than the dentist and will direct questions to the assistant when the dentist is not in the room. Every assistant should be prepared for questions and to reply with educational answers, without being condescending.
How the assistant acts can determine if a patient will accept and move forward with treatment or not, therefore acting appropriately is essential. The ability to connect with your patient is important in them accepting the treatment plan proposed. This means using simple language, not overusing dental terminology the everyday patient won't understand, and reading the patient's nonverbal communication. Patient's tend to spend the most amount of time with dental assistants so these roles they play are essential.
For those out there reading this who are dental assistants, how do you connect with your patients?