Top 10 Skills Needed for a Job in Dentistry

Stacy's Random Thoughts

In addition to the required education, working in the field of dentistry requires an individual to have certain specific skillsets that will make for a more successful professional career. Some of the skills needed are good communication, professional behavior and cognitive ability. Those and the rest of the top 10 skills are discussed in further detail below.

1. Good Communication Skills

Good communication is a vital skill for an individual in the field of dentistry to have in order to effectively speak with patients, colleagues in the practice and family members of patients. Communication skills encompass both verbal and non-verbal skills. For example, you must be able to evaluate a patient’s non-verbal expressions; especially since he or she won’t be able to speak while you’re performing dentistry tasks. Additionally, demonstrating understanding with regard to various social and cultural issues concerning your patients is important. While writing medical assessments and recording dental notes, you need to have good written communication skills.

2. Professional Behavior & Integrity

A second skillset that is important for someone in the field of dentistry is to maintain a high ethical standard, while continually operating under professional behavior and integrity in all that you do in your practice. Additionally, individuals should exhibit a sense of compassion and sensitivity when dealing with all of their patients. When you are working in the medical field, you need to maintain your own health and emotional wellbeing so that you can better assist your patients. When you have all your senses functioning properly, you will be able to better execute proper judgment while working in your dental practice. Daily exhibiting professional behavior in your practice will go a long way toward cultivating good relationships with your patients.

3. Skilled Cognitive Capabilities

Individuals with skilled cognitive capabilities will make excellent dentists because they will be able to successfully harness and put into practice all of the dental coursework that was taught in school. Dentists need to be able to analyze situations and calculate the perfect solution for each patient’s needs. These individuals must know how to quantify, use careful consideration and combine these factors into a specific plan for each patient. Excellent cognitive skills will enable the dentist to handle thinking on his or her feet and make firm decisions in the practice.

4. Sensory & Physical Capabilities

It is also important for individuals working in the field of dentistry to have excellent sensory skills and solid physical capabilities. Good sensory skills come into play when a dentist meets with patients and basically gathers information from the diagnosis. The individual needs to be able to utilize all senses — visualtangibleauditory and olfactory — in a cohesive method to correctly assess the patient’s needs and provide an acceptable dental solution. With regard to physical capabilities, dentists need to be in shape and healthy so that they can keep up with an active practice and continually provide comprehensive care.

5. Diligence in Research  

Another skillset that is vital for an individual in the field of dentistry is to exhibit diligence in research and continual learning. For example, when a situation presents itself in the practice where the dentist needs further assistance, he or she must be open to doing additional research, which may even include speaking with a fellow colleague for advice. Additionally, it is important for the individual to continually maintain a desire to learn as it pertains to new and advancing technology and up to date practices in the field.

6. Excellent Management Skills

Another factor that may not generally be considered is that an individual in the field of dentistry should have excellent management skills. Of course, as funding exists, a dentist can hire an office manager to oversee the day to day operations of the practice. However, the dentist should be aware that having excellent management skills will assist in the overall administration of the entire practice operation. For dentists with a smaller practice, he or she may need to handle more of the daily administrative tasks such as recordkeeping and bookkeeping.

7. Manual Dexterity Skills

Especially with regard to the field of dentistry, manual dexterity is vitally important to operating a safe, productive and profitable practice. If an individual does not have good dexterity, he or she may want to consider a career change. Dentists work in close proximity to the patient and need to utilize specified dental tools, so safety is of the utmost concern. Additionally, if the dentist is not able to manually perform the various reconstructive and surgical procedures required, he or she won’t be successful in the practice.

8. Spatial Judgment & Memory Skills

In order to be successful in the dental practice, a dentist should have excellent spatial judgment. For example, he or she is dealing with a small area of the body and needs to be able to translate cognitive ability to the actual physical environment of the mouth. Additionally, memory skills are vital as well. Being able to meet with the patient and see the actual dental situation, and then recall with excellent memory skills while evaluating the actual plan, is vital.

9. Detection & Management  

Dentists must be skilled at detective work as it pertains to effectively ascertaining the specific issues each patient is experiencing. He or she must be able to pay attention to detail and cultivate excellent observation skills. Additionally, dental management skills are important. For example, once the detective work is completed, the dentist must know how to properly manage the situation in a manner which works best for everyone involved. The patient’s best interests must always be a top priority during the detection and dental management stage.

10. Public Speaking Skills

This last skillset may not apply to every dentist. However, many times dentists will be given opportunities to engage in public speaking events. Not all of these events will be outside the practice. Dentists should be skilled and able to speak to their patients, even in a group setting. A sense of confidence in his or her skillset and expertise will enable the dentist to successfully engage in such public speaking opportunities.

Dental health is related to overall health of the human body. Being a successful dentist is possible; especially for an individual who possesses the specific skills as discussed in this article.