When we talk to dental assistants about their careers, we normally hear many positive things. However, no job is perfect, and everyone encounters certain situations in the dental office that get under their skin. In no particular order, here are the most common dental assistant pet peeves — and some solutions to help you manage them!
Lack of communication
When communication breaks down between the front and back office, the dental assistant may feel like the last to know what’s going on. A lack of communication can also impact the patient experience — which is something no dental professional wants to happen.
“Communication can sometimes be a problem among staff and management. One thing our office has done to help with this is to have a 10-minute huddle in the beginning of our day to get everyone on the same page.” — Katy
In a dental practice, time is a valuable commodity — and some days, it seems like there is never enough. Whether due to a packed schedule, procedures taking longer than expected, or patients running late, managing a busy and ever-changing schedule is no easy task.
“Time is always an issue — patients come late, do not show up, doctors face difficulties during procedures. We do our best to accommodate patients as much as possible. And when patients are kept waiting, I welcome them and make them comfortable, for example, by offering them a magazine or a cable to charge their gadgets.” — Julia
Cancellations are a pet peeve for most dental professionals; they create gaps in the schedule and can cause inconveniences for both staff and patients. Although you can’t prevent cancellations entirely, you can handle them so they do not disrupt the day.
“We try to fill those spots as quickly as possible. We deal with cancellers on a case-by-case basis, starting by trying to find a time that they say will work best for them. But if there is a pattern, as a last resort, we write a dismissal letter.” — Carol
Difficult co-workers can be found in every type of workplace. But for dental assistants who work closely with the team all day, it’s hard to ignore a co-worker you don’t get along with. It may not be easy, but there are some ways to keep it cordial and set a good example.
“Some team members don’t have a team attitude and say, ‘that is not in my job description’ when asked to help out. My solution is to focus on the positive and lead by example — to show them no job is too menial and it is our duty to give our patients the best experience possible.” — Beth