Foundation Education

31 Oct 2016

7 Skills You Learn in Dental Assisting


From patient care to record-keeping, Dental Assistants take on several responsibilities. On your journey towards becoming a Dental Assistant, there are specific skills you learn during your studies and during your practical placement that enable you to work effectively and efficiently in the health industry.

Take a look at the top seven skills you learn when you study for a Dental Assisting qualification.

dental assistant holds tablet

Effective Communication

Effective communication skills are essential for all dental professionals. As the face of your dental clinic, a Dental Assistant spends the majority of their day interacting with clients and colleagues in what can sometimes be high-stress moments, and it’s important for communication to remain clear and open. With a qualification like a Certificate III in Dental Assisting, a Dental Assistant will learn a number of appropriate methods for communicating with clients, staff, visitors and suppliers.

Administration Duties

Dental Assistants are also responsible for making sure the front-of-house clinic is clean, organised and tended to. Dental Assistants undertake a number of administrative duties and need to know how to schedule appointments, record and reconcile payments, maintain patient records and how to greet clients and communicate details of their appointment.

Equipment Sterilisation

In any health setting, hygiene and cleanliness are paramount, and you need to know the right infection prevention and control procedures to take. From hand washing to equipment disinfection and heat sterilisation, Dental Assistants learn how to properly handle, clean and sterilise all elements within a dental clinic. During your training to becoming a Dental Assistant, you will learn how to operate a steam autoclave, how to package instruments after the sterilisation process, and how to prepare the dental treatment room.

Assist with Dental Procedures and Treatments

As a Dental Assistant, you will learn how to provide a high level of patient care before and after treatment, as well as how to assist a Dentist or Dental Hygienist by properly preparing the dental surgery, including cleaning and sterilising the necessary equipment, instruments, and materials for oral health care procedures, and how to effectively assist during the delivery of a treatment or procedure. This includes how to use the four-handed technique to pass items and use non-verbal communication skills. 

dental assistant and dentist

Apply First Aid

As Dental Assistants are working within a clinical health environment, they must be trained in first aid to be able to perform basic life support skills. First aid certifications are a requirement for all Dental Assistants and are undertaken as a study requirement during dental assisting studies.

Assist with Dental Radiography

For Dental Assistants wanting to specialise in radiography and study a Certificate IV in Dental Assisting (Dental Radiography), they will be trained to be able to effectively operate a dental x-ray machine, including how to detect the location of the on/off control, how to adjust the controls for voltage and exposure time, how to properly adjust the machine for proper exposure and learn how to process and mount conventional dental radiographs.

Promote Good Health and Oral Hygiene

Throughout your dental assistant course, you will learn how to encourage and promote good oral health practices. As the critical link between a client and the Dentist, Dental Assistants need to have the ability to work effectively in health by always maintaining a professional chairside manner, making the patient feel comfortable, verifying any medical history and using non-verbal communication with the Dentist.

Does a career as a dental assistant look appealing to you? Our range of Dental Assisting courses would be perfect for you! Kickstart your career in oral health and browse all our dental courses or call 1300 616 197 to speak to one of our Careers Advisors today.


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