Top 5 Skills that a Dental Assistant needs in Canada

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Dental Assistants play an important role in the dental industry. They are responsible for providing direct patient care, taking x-rays and impressions, and assisting the dentist with various procedures.

This blog will provide an overview of what are the expectations from a Dental Assistant in Canada and discuss some of the key duties and responsibilities associated with this profession.

Skill #1: Multi-tasking

As a dental assistant, you will be doing several tasks apart from chairside assisting including sterilisation, restocking and parts of reception work too.

Not working in an efficient manner often leads to too much pressure throughout the day.

To overcome this pressure, being organized with the day’s work beforehand will help become well-prepared for any unseen requirements. This will help you to work smartly by giving balanced attention to each duty which is the key to multitasking.

You must be able to work quickly and proficiently in a fast-paced environment. You need to be able to handle multiple tasks at once and be vigilant to assist the dentist in ongoing procedures.

Dental assistants must possess the ability to

  • Stay organized
  • Prioritise tasks and 
  • Remain calm under pressure

Skill #2: Knowledge of Dental Instruments and Equipment

Knowing & pre-arranging the required Instruments and equipment to use, before each procedure, will save a lot of time looking for them during the treatment procedure. This skill will help in increasing the pace of work and become much more systematic.

This is because dental assistants are responsible for

  • Setting up the dental room
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures and 
  • Cleaning and sterilizing instruments

Having a thorough understanding of how to use dental instruments and equipment can be gained by reading the user manuals.

Skill #3: X-Ray Skills

The third most important skill for a Dental Assistant is having efficient X-ray skills.

Most of the clinics in Canada want a HARP Certified assistant who can take xrays with accuracy.

A well-organised dental office in Canada will have Dental assistants seating the patient and taking x rays & photographs of the concerned teeth, before calling the Dentist for the diagnosis and treatment planning.

Dental assistants in Canada must be able to

  • Properly position the X-Ray equipment, 
  • Process the images and interpret the results. 
  • Dental assistants must be knowledgeable in the safety protocols surrounding X-Rays, including the proper use of radiation protection.

Skill #4: Interpersonal Skills and Communication 

Dental assistants must be able to effectively communicate with patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals. They must also have the ability to foster relationships with their patients and coworkers.

Good interpersonal skills are important for a dental assistant to build trust with their patients and colleagues. This trust is key to providing quality patient care. In order to develop these skills, dental assistants must practise

  • Active listening, 
  • Empathy, 
  • Problem-solving, 
  • Conflict resolution, and 
  • Assertiveness.

Furthermore, they must be able to communicate clearly and concisely both verbally and in writing in order to provide accurate information about treatments or procedures. With the right interpersonal skills and communication abilities, dental assistants can ensure that they provide the best possible care for their patients.

Skill #5 : Infection Control & Sterilisation Practices 

One of the major responsibilities of a dental assistant is to maintain asepsis in the operating room. Removing used instruments and wiping down the entire OP room is a repetitive task through out the day of a dental assistant.

Instrument sterilisation is yet another repetitive task that is done by either the dental assistant or a floater.

  • Dental assistants must ensure that all instruments and surfaces are properly cleaned and sterilized before and after use to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Dental offices are required to follow the Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC)  guidelines for infection control and sterilization
  • Certification programs, such as the Canadian Dental Assistants Association (CDAA), offer courses and exams to certify dental assistants in infection control and sterilization.

From understanding the basics of dental assisting to learning how to use the latest technology and tools, this guide has offered key information on the skills that are required to become successful in this profession.

With the proper training and skills, dental assistants in Canada can become invaluable members of the dental team. With the right training and commitment, any dental assistant can be successful in this profession and make a positive contribution to the oral health of their patients.

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