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Do I Need to Go to School to Work in the Front Office at a Dental Office?

DentalPost takes a look at what are the duties and responsibilities of a Dental Front Office Staff Member.

A Dental receptionist plays a vital role while engaged in a setting that mainly involves dental care. Their core responsibilities entail facilitating patient care, making responses to calls, scheduling treatment plans, assisting in making health insurance claims, and keeping patients’ records.

The best candidate for a dental receptionist job ought to possess either a high school diploma or a certificate of vocational training. On-the-job training helps dental receptionists be successful. Office Managers prefer individuals with years of experience in the dental front office desk. A dental office is no ordinary office, meaning they should have a front desk to serve the incoming patients. An associate’s degree or a certificate concerning office administration and medical administration can help improve the smooth running of daily functions.

Job Description of a Dental Front Office Job

There is a set of responsibilities during job descriptions that a receptionist, once hired, should perform. These tasks include:

  • Making office supplies and inventory management
  • Communicating with supply vendors
  • Handling all test results, even those of x-rays
  • Canceling and arranging patient appointments
  • Welcoming patients and making responses to calls
  • Ensuring accurate and timely completion of insurance forms and billing records
  • Filing and documenting

Office Training Needed to Carry Out Dental Office Tasks

To effectively and professionally handle office front desk tasks, as a job seeker, you should possess training in all of the following areas:


The first impression matters a lot. When patients appear for their scheduled appointments, the first thing you need to do is to give them a warm welcome by greeting them, giving them a smile and a pleasant tone, and maintaining eye contact while conversing with the patients to portray the right image of the company. It also serves as a perfect way of non-verbally communicating with your patients while being busy and unable to make verbal communication.

The dental front desk should additionally provide its patients with some refreshments as they wait and inform them of any unintentional delays.

Check-out Process

Similarly, the dental front office team should get training on making the check-out process very smooth by attending to questions about treatment. If any concerns regarding the visit arise, team members should solve these with a friendly demeanor. Furthermore, the front office team should not converse in a condescending tone; instead, they should maintain the same smile during a greeting as when checking out to retain new patients.

Phone Etiquette

The dental front desk acts as the voice of the organization and not just as its face. Technology has led to patients making their appointments online; however, some prefer phone calls. Hence, the dental office manager needs to have your front office team trained to respond to patients’ requests to portray the competency embraced by the whole dental practice.

Besides, the conversation taking place on the phone matters a lot and how the team says it. The office team members should smile while making responses to these calls to enhance the friendliness and positivity of the tone.

Lastly, ensure you get permission before putting your patient on hold if it seems necessary to do so.

Skills Necessary for a Front Desk Receptionist for a Dental Office

Customer Service Skills

“The Customer is always right.” It is essential to have excellent customer service skills to ensure that your clients are fully satisfied as a receptionist. Poor customer service makes the new patient never return to the same dental office. Thus, your front desk team members need to interact with the patients with an attractive and friendly means.

Communication Skills

Having excellent communication skills makes one become a well-performing receptionist. Much of your time gets spent conversing with the patients, health insurance providers, and another dental team. Hence, it is crucial to have a good mastery of both written and verbal communication levels. Office Managers will have consistent conversations with people in person, via the phone, and through emails.

Speaking and writing acceptably and professionally is not an exception for the receptionists as they are the face of the dentist’s office. First impressions matter a lot; hence, a pleasant receptionist is a plus for a dentist’s office.

Organizational Skills

Well-defined organizational skills help a receptionist keep trails of the crucial documents such as addresses, details of credit cards, and medical histories. Also essential to ensure that the data inserted is secured in the computer system and paper documents carefully filed on the Front Desk. These skills are also critical during this era of Covid-19. It will help you make the necessary precautions by becoming a hygienist, making proper disposal of used PPEs, and sanitizing and washing your hands regularly.

Computer Skills

Advancement in technology has replaced the majority of paperwork with computer systems. In these offices, unique software facilitates appointments, keeping patient medical information, and processing payments.

Similarly, there is a high likelihood that you will play the oversight role concerning payrolls and accounts receivable as a receptionist. Additionally, the ability to type very fast is a requirement as it will help quicken your job.

Multitasking Skills

A receptionist job mainly involves multiple tasks that co-occur, such as answering calls, greeting guests, and typing, making one frazzled. The ability to multitask makes you a suitable candidate for this job. The thing to expect is constant phone calls and furious patients.

Great Personality

Having a personality that people find appealing is a crucial requirement for this job. The front office desk requires a person with emotional intelligence as it is always about attending to situations professionally. Offices hire receptionists with a likable character; hence, job seekers should show their personalities in job interviews.

Problem-solving Skills

Every new day has a new set of challenges. As a receptionist, it’s your job to come up with solutions to these problems.


Being a dental office receptionist means becoming an early riser to get in the office and attend to patients.

Also, you need to make swift responses to calls to evade losing your potential and current patients.

Final Thoughts

To become an excellent dental receptionist, utilize the American Association of Dental Office Managers as a training resource.

Ready to begin?