How to make a smooth transition to a new dental office

new job notebook

If you’ve recently accepted a job offer to work in a new dental office, congratulations! What some would call the “hard part” — the application process, the job interview and, for some, the preparation time in school — is behind you.

Now, it’s on to day-to-day office life at your new place of employment!

Before you begin your new dental assistant role, you may want to consider the four pieces of advice we’ve outlined here. Following these recommendations can help ensure a smooth transition during those first few days of the new job.

Know your state requirements

Whether you’ve recently relocated to a new state or you’ve been working in the same state for years, all dental assistants should be aware of their state’s dental assisting requirements. Wondering where to start? DANB’s search-by-state map is a great at-a-glance resource for finding out all the specific information you’ll need to know. Additionally, your state may have continuing dental education requirements that are important to be aware of as well.

“This shows integrity and self-responsibility — a few of the traits most dentists look for in employees,” says Eloise R., CDA, CDPMA, CPFDA, RDA, B.A., who teaches about infection control and state regulation compliance.

Be open to change

When starting at a new practice, an onboarding training process typically is involved so that you can learn the ins and outs of the office. If you’ve previously gained assisting experience elsewhere, you may find that your new employer and team do some things differently than you’re used to doing them. This can be both educational and challenging for new employees, as change can be difficult.

Marianyeliz R. once experienced such growing pains. After spending nine years working in a general dentistry practice, she took a role in a new office. Immediately, she could see her former and new practice had slightly different approaches.

Ultimately, Marianyeliz chose to go with the flow in her new environment. “I couldn’t compare this job to the previous job I had,” she explains.

When it comes to navigating change, remaining open-minded is usually the best method. In fact, becoming familiar with new information or processes can be a great way to expand your resume and skill sets!

Ask questions

Before your first day at a new office, the details of your role may have already been communicated to you by your employer or office manager. You may also have received a variety of handbooks, as well as any other information needed to seamlessly step into the role. Sometimes, though, it may take some time to get fully acquainted with your new office and team. This may include adapting to the work style and preferences of your new dentist.

Usually, getting up to speed on these items just takes a little bit of time. But if you have any questions, it’s best not to hesitate to pose them to the dentist.

“Ask questions,” recommends Becky K. “Don’t be shy. Have a sit-down meeting, with paper and a pencil, and ask away!”

Stick with it

If acclimating to a new office ever begins to feel frustrating, rest assured that it will likely get better. After all, everyone was a new employee at one time or another! And most agree it was all uphill from day one. Typically, all it takes to become settled in a new environment is a little patience and time. “My doctor always says, ‘Give it a year,’” Dawn B. says.

“Stay calm and professional,” adds Becky, who has worked with a variety of teams and dentists. “Most often, things settle.”

Are you a dental assistant moving to a new state? Here’s what you should know.