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8 Ways to Recognize Dental Assistants

Posted March 12, 2021

The DentalPost Team

There is so much to appreciate about Dental Assistants, as they are essential to the prosperity of a dental practice. Their delivery of safe and successful dental care, in addition to easing a patient’s anxiety about procedures and educating them about aftercare, is crucial to the practice. They are the significant link in the patient communication chain, in addition to ensuring infection control and safe practices. Dental Assistants deserve all the accolades we can bestow upon them and then some. These critical team members deserve our appreciation year-round!

Recognition starts with acknowledging when a Dental Assistant has gone above and beyond with patients or in taking the practice to the next level. Positive reinforcement does wonders in letting people know when they’ve done a good job and to keep doing it. 

Below are 8 ways to recognize Dental Assistants:

  1. Give them a pay raise for consistent superb work throughout the year.
  2. Give them a bonus when they went above and beyond for a patient or for the success of the practice. This helps to encourage them to keep up the excellent work.

Even when it’s not possible to give raises or bonuses, there are other ways to make Dental Assistants feel valued.

  1. Verbally tell them what a great job they’re doing!
  2. Write a “thank you” note to appreciate what they’ve done. In a recent survey, a “thank you” note was the third favorite way a dental professional prefers to receive appreciation, just behind pay raises and bonuses.
  3. Make an effort to include Dental Assistants in meetings about patient care.
  4. Ask for their input about what they’re noticing with patients and around the office in order to provide a better patient experience.
  5. Support them to further their education by paying for CE’s, the DANB (Dental Assistant National Boards) Certification, or their EFDA (Expanded Function Dental Assistant) Certification.
  6. If a Dental Assistant is asking for a pay increase, but their pay has already peaked for their role, there are other options to satisfy their request. Assess their hard and soft skills to give them more ways to contribute around the office. Utilizing them more often is a form of appreciation, especially when there are holes and gaps on the team. Don’t be afraid to get creative! They will appreciate being seen as a valued team member with more to contribute.

Dental Assistants Stepping Up

Dental Assistants add so much value to the hygiene department. Without them, the office would get behind schedule, adding more stress to the rest of the team. With Covid-19, Dental Hygienists have been in short supply nationwide. Many Dental Assistants stepped in to fill gaps on the hygiene team. As the most sought-after candidates currently on DentalPost, Dental Assistants shouldn’t be taken for granted, as practices are in heavy recruiting mode. Showing them gratitude is the best way to make a Dental Assistant feel important and appreciated. It also gives them a sense of pride and belonging at the dental practice.

By doing everything from easing a patient’s fears to reading the Dentist’s mind, Dental Assistants deserve more credit than they typically receive. Some Dental Assistants have stepped in to support the front office with managing the more challenging task of keeping a full schedule. Since Covid-19, they’ve taken on even more duties in the critical role of infection control and prevention. With longer, more intense protocols for prophy and perio and new OSHA infection control measures, Dental Assistants have become even more invaluable in maintaining clean and safe operatories. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Successful patient-care starts with a close-knit team, dedicated to the health and happiness of each patient who walks into the practice. A team functions most effectively and efficiently when all team members are contributing at their highest level. When we feel like a valued part of the team, we perform better. Each position at the practice is pivotal to the success of the whole team. Let’s make sure we give praise to those who make our work easier, our days smoother, and our patient care the best it can be. 


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