5 Characteristics You Need to Have as a Dental Assistant

If you’re looking into a career as a dental assistant, you have to embody some characteristics that will help you on the job. Even if you have a dental assistant education to prepare you for the technical aspect of things, you may want to brush up on other points of growth to thrive.

Every career or industry will demand a specific set of traits for different positions. In the dental care industry, dental assistants need to be trained not just in smarts but in the right attitude to the profession. Since demand for this industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, it will help to have these traits in your back pocket:

1. Genuine Interest In the Field

This career entails a lot of learning, so you need to have the focus and drive to learn all the information you need and apply it in practice. Of course, this becomes much more manageable if you’re actually interested in dentistry. It’s an old and worn saying, but it is true that when you like what you do, the job doesn’t feel like work.

2. People Skills

Working in a dental clinic requires you to juggle more than just the technical aspect of dentistry. It will be hard to keep up in this work environment if you’re solely focused on procedures and getting it done. 

You’ll be working with people and interacting with patients a lot, many of whom are likely in pain or uneasy to be at a clinic. It will help you a lot to enjoy connecting with people and be able to handle different temperaments.

3. An Eye for Detail

As with any job that has to do with a person’s wellbeing, it’s important to be very detail-oriented. Slip-ups in this field can lead to complications and liabilities. Even regular tasks like cleaning instruments for the dentist and making appointments will have to be done with care and precision. Your job is essential to keep the wheels turning in the dental clinic.

This becomes especially important if you end up handling numerous patients and the dentist you’re assisting doesn’t have other staff. Reliability comes at a high value for this position.

4. The Desire for Constant Growth

This is a great career for individuals that like to move forward and continue to grow. There are a lot of learning opportunities throughout this career and it can even lead to a pursuit of other positions in the industry. When you gather experience as a dental assistant, you can eventually go on to be a dental hygienist or even decide to study to become a dentist.

5. Flexibility With Time

This job, depending on the clinic or practice you work for, may end up going outside of the usual work hours. You may find yourself working all night and on weekends, or you could get a part-time position that cuts up your hours and days of work. This is a great setup for many people, but it’s something to consider if you care about a specific routine.


Even though every individual’s pursuit of a career is different, these characteristics can be a real boon to one’s professional journey. Once you get your dental assistant certification, it’s about seizing opportunities and maximizing your potential. These skills will simply help you achieve your goals and keep the job sustainable.

For individuals that want to join a certified dental assistant program, reach out to Northwest Suburban College for more information. We offer healthcare career training and health science programs near Schaumburg, IL.

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