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What's It Really Like to Work in a Dental Office?

Published: January 4, 2018 | Updated: October 26, 2020

Just like any business, each dental office is slightly different than the next. But you can expect some similarities no matter which practice you are at.


So what’s it really like to work in a dental office?


It’s fast-paced. Of course there will be slow times, but if you work at the front desk, you might check in patients, pull charts, schedule appointments, and contact and bill insurance companies. If you are an office manager or supervisor, you might even run the whole practice. As a Dental Assistant, expect to quickly switch gears from one task to the next and always think ahead. You’ll need to anticipate the dentist’s needs as they work on patients so procedures run smoothly. You may also juggle a range of duties that include assisting the dentists, charting for hygienists, x-raying the patients’ teeth and helping with front office duties.


It relies on good organization and teamwork. From the front office staff to the hygienist to the dental assistant to the dentist, everyone needs to work together and in an organized way. This ensures that the practice runs smoothly and patients get the best care possible. If someone doesn’t follow the systems in place, it could interrupt the dental office rhythm. Disorganization can create unnecessary confusion and slow down what should be fairly routine processes.


A positive attitude is key. How many people do you know who love to go to the dentist? That’s why your attitude is so important. Many people aren’t excited for their dental visit, but they go because it’s necessary. They may even arrive in pain or discomfort. Or they could be nervous about a procedure. It’s up to you to make them feel safe, secure, and at ease, especially if you are beside them for a procedure. If you are friendly and calm, it will help them feel more comfortable.


Cleanliness and sterilization are super important. Because dentists and their team members deal with bodily fluids like blood and saliva, instruments and equipment must be properly cleaned, and sterilized if necessary, after every use. This prevents the spread of dangerous infections from patient to patient and even from patients to dental staff. Other safety procedures like wearing fresh gloves and masks should be followed as well.


If this sounds like an atmosphere you would thrive in, a job in a dental office might be right for you. You could work in the front office as a manager or supervisor, or work directly with patients as a Dental Assistant. Whichever path sounds right to you, Charter College dental assisting program in Canyon Country, Lancaster, Oxnard, Fife, Pasco, and Vancouver could help you on your way.