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The Most Important Job Skills to Work in the Dental Industry

The Most Important Job Skills To Work In The Dental Industry

Dentistry is a quickly growing field. Over the next eight years, experts project that oral health jobs will increase by 7 percent — faster than the average for all occupations!

There’s no denying that life as a dentist, hygienist, or assistant is a rewarding career. But beyond the rigorous required education, what are the most important skills to be successful? Is it all about technical ability? How do personal relationships come into play?

Here are the top seven skills you need to work in the dental industry.


Interpersonal communication

Dentistry is a fundamentally social industry. The best employees communicate effectively across a wide range of situations.

At times, you will need to speak with strong professional confidence. This will help you grow alongside your colleagues, make the most of educational seminars, and provide second opinions on challenging cases.

In other moments, your greatest asset will be empathy. Patients need compassionate care, and your bedside manner is a crucial part of creating a comfortable environment.

Ultimately, dentists and hygienists need to be social chameleons — able to clearly express technical concepts and make friendly small talk all within the same hour.



Like any medical field, dentistry can be sensitive and complicated. You need to stand by ethical standards and always put your patients first — even if it comes at the price of your own ego.

Ask for help. Go the extra mile. Remember your values. It will always be worth it to see your patients truly love their smiles!


Emotional intelligence

In dentistry, an old adage rings true: You cannot take care of others until you have taken care of yourself. In order to provide your patients with the highest quality care, resources, and overall experience, you need to make sure your own wellbeing is in a good place, too.

Having high emotional intelligence will help you know what you — and your patients — need in a given moment, allowing you to bypass tricky situations and ensure everyone’s comfort.


Problem solving

No two patients are alike. While you can learn rules of thumb and time-honed processes to approach dental problems, you also need to be able to think critically on your own.

This involves:

  • Understanding available research
  • Speaking with other professionals about their experiences
  • Being able to evaluate and reconcile multiple sources of information
  • Communicating with your immediate team

Ultimately, your goal is to make logical, evidence-based decisions for the benefit of every patient who comes through your door. It’s no easy feat — but it’s an incredibly rewarding one.


Grace under pressure

Dentistry is not an easy field. You’ll face physical, mental, and even emotional challenges throughout the course of your career.

Sometimes you must work long hours to accommodate patients’ schedules. Sometimes you must deal with grueling emergencies. Through it all, it’s vital to stay focused on your end goal: improving the lives of everyone who comes through your clinic’s door.

If you can hold yourself together in moments of chaos, you will be a light to your patients and team.


Dexterity and physical capabilities

While dentistry is about a lot more than the ability to hold a scalpel steady, it would be remiss to ignore the importance of physical dexterity.

The mouth is a small space — and it’s also a sensitive one. In order to be an effective dentist, hygienist, or assistant, you need to have a steady hand coupled with strong spatial awareness.



More than anything, success in the dental industry requires you to be adaptable.

The best dentists, hygienists, and assistants never stop learning — and they’re never embarrassed to admit that they still have areas to grow their skills.

Dentistry changes rapidly as technology evolves, patient expectations fluctuate, and (like we’ve seen this year) global pandemics revolutionize the safety precautions that keep everyone healthy.
It’s imperative that you can remain flexible!


Is Madison Family Dental the right fit for you?

Madison Family Dental offers a wide range of services to our patients. We take pride in making sure each patient is satisfied with the treatment they receive at our state-of-the-art facility.

We’re a team of friendly, honest, and caring staff members. If you feel you would be a quality addition to Madison Family Dental, learn more and apply on our careers page. We would love to meet you!

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