Must-Have Technical Skills In Dental Assisting

September 19, 2013 General 0 Comments

Dental Assisting SkillsWhat skills do you need to pursue a path dental assisting? Effective communication, interpersonal, and organization skills are important, but these are things that are needed in most fields. To stand out in the dental field and get the preparation you need, you need to develop excellent technical skills.  

In a dental office or facility, dental assistants use equipment, tools and technology to support the dentists and other staff they work with. But they not only use these tools but also clean them and organize them.

Here are some of the dental assisting technical skills that students develop in a dental assistant program.

Chairside Equipment Skills

Dental assistants spend a lot of time handling and caring for equipment in exam rooms, and they:

  • Develop and follow infection control protocol by sterilizing dental instruments and equipment.
  • Set out instruments in preparation for exams.
  • Exercise basic abilities using dental materials and tools. They also hand instruments to dentists during procedures. 
  • Use suction hoses or other equipment to keep patients’ mouths dry.

Lab and Other Equipment Skills

The tests and other technical tasks that a dental assistant performs depend on their skill level, the location of their workplace, and state requirements for certification, so keep this in mind when you consider these duties of dental assistants.

  • Take impressions of patients' teeth to use as study casts, or models.
  • Take and process x-rays, which may require certification.
  • Achieve CPR certification to be prepared for possible emergencies.
  • Conduct lab tests and other diagnostic tasks.


On the non-clinical, or administrative, side of the dental field, dental assistants are required to:

  • Manage patient dental records.
  • Monitor inventory and maintain the supply of needed materials.
  • Schedule appointments with patients.
  • Work with patients on billing and payment.
  • Do other management tasks using a computer.

Learn more about dental assisting to see if it’s the right field for you.


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