CareersBlogOnline Educationdental administrative assistant

Dental Administrative Assistant: 3 Helpful Ways to Stand Out

This is a topic I love to talk with students about. You are training to be a Healthcare Professional, with the key word being professional.  You need to look and act the part. Employers will notice.

As a Dental Administrative Assistant, you are the first impression a patient has of your office. A polished, professional look is essential, be it business attire or scrubs, you need to look put-together. One of my pet peeves is when I hear “but they are just scrubs”. Yes, they are scrubs, but they may be the office uniform. They are called “uniforms” for a reason—everyone looks uniform, part of a team, a cohesive unit, all working together.

It’s a Team Effort

You are part of that team—the dental team. You are a vital member, remember that. I dislike the term “front desk” when talking about the administrative assistants; you are a critical team member not a piece of furniture. Stand tall and proud.

Your attitude sets the tone for the entire visit. As soon as someone walks into the office, acknowledge them, be it with a warm “hello” and a smile or a friendly wave if you are on the phone. They need to feel welcome, and you need to show them you appreciate they are there. They are not an intrusion in your busy schedule. Do not be surprised when the patients mention to your dentist “I love coming here, that receptionist is always so happy.” Employers will notice, especially when patients notice.

Being part of a team means being a team player. As a dental administrative assistant, take the phrase “that’s not my job” out of your work vocabulary. Replace it with “can I help you with that?” Having the office run smoothly is the goal. One big happy team that works well together. Be the type of team member you want to work with. Remember the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat your teammates the way you want to be treated. This includes your employer.

Being a dentist is hard enough, having teammates that do not get along only adds to the stress. When was the last time you said to your employer “good morning Boss, how was your weekend?” or “that temp crown looked great”. Be sincere not fake and keep it professional. Employers are human and they need encouragement too. Of course, you must know your employer’s personality. Always keep your comments sincere and professional.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Be dependable. Not only on time but show up to work early. There is always something to do, especially as a dental administrative assistant. Checking with the answering service and making any necessary schedule changes is only the beginning. There is more to scheduling than filling holes. There are dental offices that give a bonus when production goals are met by the team. A productive and smooth-running schedule makes for a happy team and very appreciative employer.

Being considerate of others is not that hard. Again, I will say to treat team members the way you would want to be treated. If someone is having an off day, cut them some slack. We all have off days occasionally and it is comforting to know that someone has your back. There is no reason to make matters worse for them. There will be times that you do not have to say anything – just be there for them. Not everyone wants to talk about their problems, they just may need to know someone cares. Be the teammate others want to work with. It will come back to you two-fold.

Dental Administrative Assistant Tasks

Look for things that will make the office look nicer. Put a nice plant in the window or flowers on your desk. Nothing expensive. I picked flowers from my yard and took them into the office. Something that will add a personal touch. Dust off the top of a cabinet or run the vacuum if you do not have a cleaning service.

I treat my office as my home away from home; after all, I do spend 8 to 9 hours a day there, so I want it to be nice. I have gone as far as to sit in the waiting room to see what the patient sees. Look around. Get those fingerprints off the front door. Straighten that tilted picture on the wall. You are trying to make a good impression.

Bragging about your accomplishments means nothing to an employer. Actions speak louder than words. Show what an asset you are to the team. How valuable you are depends a lot on your attitude. Show that you care. This should be your approach in everything in life not just your employment. That is how you stand out and make a positive statement about yourself as a Dental Administrative Assistant.


Written by Colette Jesikiewicz CDPMA, FADAA