Smart Systems Get The Patient To Yes

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Smart Systems Get The Patient To Yes

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Dental Consultant DA Job Description

Dental Consultant DA Job Description

Dental assistants have a lot of responsibilities in the practice. Sometimes it's hard to even think of them all. Kevin Tighe has created a very-close-to-complete list of duties for DAs.

Purpose The purpose of a dental assistant is to help the dentist in every way possible, which enables the dentist to provide efficient, high-quality care to patients. 

The first responsibility of an assistant is to become properly trained and apprenticed, so he or she can perform all the required tasks at maximum speed and efficiency. Top dental assistants also strive to maintain excellent patient relations, ensuring patients are well cared for, happy, and satisfied. 

Dental assistant job description and duties 

The duties of a chairside assistant are not simply assisting and cleaning instruments. When there are no patients, a DA’s time should be spent cleaning the treatment rooms, tubs, and trays, stocking treatment rooms, stocking burs, organizing stock closets, and more. (See Daily Checklist below). The treatment rooms should be immaculate at all times. This cannot be emphasized enough. 

When preparing the room, place materials and equipment in the sequence the doctor will use the items. Then, if the doctor or anything else interrupts you, you will remain several steps ahead of the doctor. 

When a patient arrives early, seat the person immediately and inform the doctor of the patient’s name and room number. Inform the patient of the estimated length of the appointment, and of the estimated wait time for the doctor. Review and update the patient’s health history. Review the treatment planned, outstanding treatment still to be completed, and ask the patient if he or she has any concerns or questions regarding today’s appointment. 

When patients ask about treatments, you can say, “I’m not a dentist, and only a dentist can diagnose, but if you were my family member, I would encourage you to change the filling to a crown. This is only my impression and the doctor will be in shortly to review, diagnose, and determine a treatment plan that’s best for you.” 

When speaking with patients, always promote the office, the doctor, and the dental hygienist. When appropriate, tell the patient that the office uses the best dental lab and finest materials, including high-quality impression materials, cement, and equipment. Keep comments positive, and lead conversations to allow patients to talk about themselves. Do not talk about personal problems or situations at work. 

When the doctor asks you to do something or says anything to you during the appointment, always acknowledge the dentist with an audible OK, or ask the doctor to clarify the statement if needed. 

When assisting the doctor, comfort and soothe the patient if necessary. Some patients want you to hold their hand, or they just need to hear some comforting words. When alone, explain to patients what you’re doing in order to minimize their fear of the unknown. 

Anticipate the doctor’s needs. If the doctor must ask for instruments repeatedly, then you are not anticipating. If the doctor is instructing the patient to open, then repeat to the patient, “Mrs. Jones, please open.” 

During a procedure, follow the doctor with the light. When the doctor asks a patient to move, it is your clue to move the light. Both hands should be used at all times (i.e., double retraction or A/W syringe plus single retraction, etc.). Always keep a 2x2 of alcohol gauze nearby to be able to clean the mouth mirror. 

Keep the bracket tray and counter top neat and free of debris. All instruments must be placed in an orderly fashion. Be sure this is kept up without sacrificing the doctor’s needs. Always keep ahead of the doctor to ensure the patient of your competence. 

When dismissing a patient, accompany the person to the front of the office and direct the person to the account manager for payment services. Always ensure that the information has been carried (i.e., route slip or completed services rendered form) to the office coordinator prior to bringing up the patient. The front desk staff should be ready for the patient, so they can give the person their undivided attention. 

When a patient is dismissed, he or she must feel the team did everything possible to make him or her comfortable. A practice cannot be just average in this area. Assistants are an integral part of this function since you spend a lot of time with each patient. Ensure all postoperative instructions have been reviewed with the patient and be sure to ask if they have any questions. 

When not assisting the doctor directly, be prepared for the next patient. Set up the operatory for the next procedure. Ensure that all staff members are caught up in their operatories or if they’re in need of assistance. Keep up with sterilization at all times when you are not with the patient or the doctor. 

The patient is everyone’s number one priority! The team must complete treatment as soon as possible to minimize a patient’s time in the chair. If you notice an appointment is running late or will finish early, inform the patient so that the person can make arrangements if needed. 

The assistant should know the patient’s total treatment, and any questions should be reviewed with the doctor. If the office is not chartless, the assistant can help with the organization of the paper charts for a future chartless practice. Purge documents more than seven years old, or scan documents into patient charts in the dental software and shred the documents once they’re scanned. 

Daily checklist 

When the doctor enters the room, start in this order: 

• Post all x-rays, full-mouth series, panoramics, and bitewings on computerized dental radiography, taking any images or x-rays needed for the appointment 
• Ensure the appropriate instrumentation is ready for a procedure (i.e., restorative trays). Open instrument cassette and sterilized pouches in front of the patient. Place blades in the proper locations articulating paper in the proper holders. Place hand pieces on attachments. 
• Review the patient’s health history, noting any changes. Take blood pressure. 
• Place dental napkin (bib) around neck. Position chair. 
• Take custom shade, opposing impression, and digital photos.
• Hand out topical 2x2 gauze pad.
• Hand syringe with warm anesthetic.
• Have additional carpules ready to hand to doctor if needed.
• Divert the attention of the patient away from the procedure with interesting conversation.
• Ask the patient if he or she is OK or would like a bottle of water. 
• Provide tissue prior to all treatment so the patient does not drool on himself or herself. 
• Offer every patient headphones for the TV or music. Encourage and explain the need for headphones. 
• Place protective glasses on all patients. This keeps the bright light and splatters out of their eyes.
• Use the intraoral camera to demonstrate any abnormality in the mouth. Give possible scenarios if it’s not treated in a timely manner. 
• Review the use of floss threaders, electric toothbrushes, and water piks as needed. 
• Reinforce the necessity of regular cleanings and encourage more frequent recalls. If home care is good, praise the patient. 
• Review home care as needed, especially how to clean under a bridge, implant, or orthodontics. 
• Ask patients if they’re satisfied with the color or shape of their teeth. Where indicated, encourage whitening, and show them an album of before and after photos. 
• When the doctor calls you, you must stop what you are doing and check with him or her unless you are seating a patient, trying in a crown, or making a temp. 
• When dismissing the patient, ask how the person is feeling. Reinforce preventive homeopathic medicines for the next couple days to minimize postoperative sensitivity or pain. 

I recommend rereading this article many times per month. It will help you excel in your job. Now, enjoy and be proud of your dental assisting position! 

Kevin Tighe, Cambridge Dental Consultants, Senior Consultant, got bitten hard by the business and marketing bug during long summer days working at his dad's Madison Avenue ad agency. After joining Cambridge as a seminarist in the mid-1990s, Kevin went on to become Cambridge’s senior consultant and eventually CEO. Cambridge Dental Consultants is a full-service dental practice management company offering customized dental office manuals. Frustrated? High overhead? Schedule a chat with Kevin at .

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Your Dental Consultant

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PAMy name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's owner and senior consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner.  Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.


Client Reviews

Dr. Jacob Masters, DDS, Indianapolis, IN

CEO 1 Cambridge Dental ConsultantsI started with Cambridge in 2018 after 11 years in practice. My results have been great! I have been able to decrease the number of days I work per month and have finally improved my practice much more than I could do on my own! I highly recommend Kevin's on-target coaching! 

-Dr. Jacob Masters, DDS, Indianapolis, IN


Dr. Shane Blake, DDS, Coudersport, PA

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PAI have owned my dental practice since January 2005.  The practice is a rural solo provider practice.   The practice has always been successful but something was always lacking.   I did not manage the practice by the numbers and its shortfalls were overcome by sheer determination and hard work for both myself and the staff. 

My motivating factors to sign up with Cambridge in January of 2017 were that I had reached a point in my career where time with my family was worth more to me than the professional fulfillment that dentistry can provide.  The practice was so micromanaged that it required most of my time and I didn’t understand how to motivate both myself and my staff beyond the sheer nose to the grindstone path to success that had guided us the prior 12 years. 

Our consultant was instrumental in educating each staff member in what expectations are and how performance for each position is measured.   Staff members became more aware of their part in the overall success of the practice and doing their part.  Ultimately this led to a less stressful and more productive average day which decreased management stress and headaches and allowed life to be enjoyed just a little bit more with a little more time. 

We have had many changes in the practice after our initial integration over the last 1 ½ years.  Cambridge has been helpful in navigating those planned and unplanned changes.  My only regret is I had not called Cambridge sooner.


Dr. Kristin Rushing, DDS, Nashville, TN

Dental Consulting Client TennesseeI used Cambridge as well, it gave me a good foundation for employees to know what was expected of them as well as very detailed job descriptions that could be used to train new employees if I needed to replace a staff member. Mike also is good about coaching you so that you are knowledgeable about what your numbers and percentages should be but also things to look for when they are off.

Everyone is accountable for their numbers and communicate better as a team. We all want to be more productive and time was spent looking into my specific concerns as well as reviewing all facets of the business. Everything was reviewed including input from staff on ways to improve the office. I feel the morale in my office has changed and we are overall headed in a much better direction. As a side note, I've used a different consultants previously and their moto was simply to increase production. Patients felt pressured and we still had communication issues among the staff.


Dr. Jeremy Johnson, DDS, Monroe, WA

Dental Consulting Client WashingtonI'm extremely happy with my decision to utilize Cambridge’s services. My consultant, Mike, has been awesome! I love that I can call or email him whenever and always get a quick response. He even calls and checks in if he hasn't heard from me for a bit. My production increased immediately after the first in-office visit and has continued to climb. The initial investment was recouped in increased production about seven weeks after our first meeting.

My average per day production for the first four months I worked with Mike has been 20-25% higher than the prior two years. In fact, all of the four months have had higher average per day production than ANY month in the two years prior to working with Mike.

Last month I produced more than I ever have in one month since starting my practice in 2003. On top of that is the fact that my staff is driving all of this growth! They tell me which op to go to and when, then they get all excited when we exceed our goals! These four months have been the best months of my career!

That's a lot of exclamation points! This is all to suggest that you give Cambridge a call.


Dr. Andrea Mulholland, DDS, Columbus, OH

Dental Consulting Client OhioI have been the owner of a general dental practice for ten years now. I work four days a week and have an associate who is with me for three days.

The practice has always done well but I knew there were many aspects of it that needed improvement but I didn't know how to proceed. I researched several practice management companies but decided to go with Cambridge because of their good reputation and because I didn't feel pressured.

Mike is the consultant that I have worked with for the past year and a half and he has helped my practice tremendously. He really knows the ins and outs of a practice but I appreciated that he didn't use a cookie-cutter approach. He really treated my practice like the individual practice that it is and I didn't feel pressured to follow any suggestions that I wasn't comfortable with.

I know there are a lot of management companies out there. I just really feel like Cambridge is one of the best and was the best for me and my practice.


Dr. Jeffrey D. Weaver, DDS, Port Royal, SC

Dental Consulting Client South CarolinaWe have been using Cambridge since Dec 2013. We are really just getting started, but so far everything has been great. They really have given us the tools to quickly get our team focussed, and have created systems and measurable statistics for each area. YTD for 2014 compared to 2013, our production is up 12% (over $20,000).

Our office felt "stuck", like we simply did not know what we should be doing to get better. We knew the potential was there, but did not know the next steps to take. What we liked from the start is that Cambridge has been in every type of office and seen every type of problem/issue there is. Their ideas are proven and, so far, we have been very happy with the results. Our team is really pleased with the direction we are going.

We built our office in 2007 and, had we known, would have started with Cambridge much sooner. Good luck with your decision. I think you will be very pleased with Cambridge.


Dr. Ron McHargue, DDS, Moses Lake, WA

Dental Consulting Client WashingtonI was fresh out of school when I bought my practice in 2012. It came riddled with staff issues and I had no knowledge of business. I thought I could handle it and went for a year and a half before really coming to the realization that I was in over my head. I was stressed completely and needed help with staff issues and business advice.

I contacted Cambridge because of what I read on Dentaltown and because of their fair price and money back guarantee. Mike was very helpful in getting me over a couple of big hurdles dealing with staff. I now have a direction and a good plan for tracking numbers and keeping a pulse on my practice. I was hesitant to even hire a consultant, but I am very glad I did and wouldn't hesitate to get Mike back and work with him again.


Dr. Ed Warr, DMD, Ashland, OR

Dental Consulting Client OregonMy experience with Cambridge has been great. In June of 2014 I was very concerned as my year was down by about 6% from the previous year. I had used consultants before and hadn't liked any of them. But, I knew I needed help with what I did not know - I went to school to earn a DMD, not an MBA.

After researching several and having several phone conversations regarding their methods, I committed with Cambridge.

Their money back guarantee was a nice touch to lower the risk factor for me. So, I finished 2014 up 8% over 2013. In six months, Mike had helped me introduce practices that helped me have a 14% turn around in six months. I whole heartedly recommend Cambridge and their services.


Dr. Chris Burke, Pedodontist, Lexington, TN

Dental Consulting Client TennesseeI have used Mike Kittelson with Cambridge since I opened from scratch in 2009. Having no background in business, management or marketing he has helped us tremendously. Not only has he taught us which stats to track, he has coached us through employee issues, marketing programs, strategic planning for the future, and served as therapist and friend. He has also proved to be a wealth of information on helpful computing programs that have made certain tasks easier and improved employee productivity. I would recommend talking with Cambridge before making your final decision on which group to go with.


Dr. Dustin Snyder, DDS, Lewisburg PA

Dental Consulting Client PennsylvaniaWhen I initially contacted Cambridge, I was open for about a year and the production graphs were trending down, quickly. My Cambridge coach met with me, offered several ideas specific to my situation, and two years later, I'm having annual growth over 20% and we're already at record annual production with one and a half months left in the year.

I am now busier than ever, even under the previous owner! The best dental office manual I've ever used. I can't say enough positive things about what Cambridge has done for my practice!


Your Dental Practice Mangement Consultant and Coach

Shane Blake DDS Coudersport, PAMy name is Kevin Tighe. I am Cambridge's owner and senior consultant. Before joining the Cambridge team I was in charge of setting up workshops for large nonprofits throughout the United States and Canada. During that time, I was fortunate to receive mentoring from several world-class business consultants, including a dental practice management guru, which led to a position at Cambridge as their seminar organizer. In time, I began crisscrossing the country delivering seminars myself for the better part of a decade. Subsequently, I moved up to senior consultant and eventually owner.  Contributing writer to Dental Economics/DIQ, JADA, AGD Impact and Dental Town Magazine.


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