Southern Ontario Dental College

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What It Takes To Be A Dental Assistant And Why It Matters

Posted in Articles, Dental Assistant.

In Canada, a dental assistant can earn up to $48,000 per year without the need for lengthy schooling.

Dentistry is a rewarding career path in which there will always be a need for qualified workers because people are always in need of dental care.

However, if you don’t have what it takes, you may not enjoy your job as a dental assistant. Keep reading to learn more about what personality traits and skills you should have to excel in this career path.

Dental Assistant Job Duties

Some of the job duties you may perform as a dental assistant include:

  • Preparing the patient for procedures
  • Assisting the dentist
  • Mixing filling materials
  • Sterilisation and maintenance of dental equipment
  • Taking x-rays

Depending on the clinic, you may also find yourself responsible for performing other tasks around the office such as taking inventory, placing orders, and working with patient files.

Qualifications to Become a Dental Assistant

Technically, you don’t need any schooling to become a dental assistant and could find a place that is willing to train you on the job. However, most places prefer if you have a one-year certification in dental assistance when you apply.

There are some other things, however, that you should have which will make you a better dental assistant. Let’s take a closer look at these things.

Manual Dexterity

Many of the things you’ll do as a dental assistant involve using your hands to perform detailed tasks. For that reason, it’s important for you to have fine motor skills that are at least above average.


There is a lot of organization that has to happen around a dental office, whether it’s with patient files or dental tools. Since a dental assistant is responsible for many of these duties, it’s essential to be organized if you want to be great at your job.

Communication Skills

Also known as soft skills or interpersonal skills, these are essential for medical professionals to possess. There is a great deal of communication that occurs between team members and the patient.

Dental assistants need to listen to the patients and sometimes read between the lines of what they’re trying to say. They also need to be able to share any concerns with the dentist so the patient can receive the best possible care.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking can be described as your ability to make an unbiased decision based on available facts. It also involves being able to remain calm and act reasonably, even in the event of an emergency.

Although emergencies are rare in most dental clinics, you should always be prepared to deal with any stressful situations in a calm and collected manner.

Ready to Pursue an Exciting Career in Dentistry?

Now you know what it takes to become a dental assistant. As you can see, it takes someone who is good with their hands, organized, communicative, and calm in stressful situations.

If you believe you have what it takes to become a dental assistant, request more information about our accelerated dental assistant program that can get you into a job you love within a year.

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