Success in dental assisting comes in many different forms. In dental assisting, a sign of success could be patients who tell you they are happy to have bright, healthy smiles, or a co-worker who says he or she is grateful for your encouragement. Other signs of success could be when your boss compliments your skills and work ethic; when your friends and family members tell you they are proud of your career path; and, of course, when you achieve DANB certification!

Have you ever wondered about the dental assistants who achieve all these accomplishments and more? What characteristics do they share? We believe that all successful dental assistants have these top five traits:

1. Confidence

Success comes to those who believe in themselves and their capabilities. There’s so much in store for dental assistants who make the most of their careers.

“I have been DANB certified for more than 30 years — and am still going strong,” says Deborah J., CDA. “So many doors have opened for me, and I’ve had cool opportunities over the years. I believe in myself and in my career.”

2. Kindness

Successful dental assistants are kind to everyone they encounter during the workday. They’re always putting their patients first and going the extra mile for their teammates. For example, Faith R. pays it forward whenever she has the chance.

“I like to help out my co-workers by getting something done for them for the next day, so that it is already set for them,” she explains. “This way, we begin and end the day on a good note.”

In addition to kindness, laughter goes a long way, too. “Remember that you spend more time with your co-workers than your family some days,” Sherry W. says.

3. Organization

The best dental assistants are organized, meticulous and always one step ahead. They know that preparedness is the key to successfully meeting any challenge.

Melanie B. always plans ahead. “I check out the schedule a few days in advance,” she shares. “And at the beginning of each day, I compile the entire days’ worth of operative instrument setups so I can better focus on sterilization and lab work.”

When it comes to getting organized, Jackilyn H. touts the power of the team huddle. “The women with whom I work are extraordinary! Not only do we discuss the schedule at our morning meeting, but we plan who should take what patient to make the day run even smoother,” she says. “Teamwork is all about communication, and you can’t have that if you don’t have a team that trusts each other and works well together, like a family.”

4. Positivity

Successful dental assistants keep a positive mindset. “Being positive is all about perseverance and always having a can-do attitude,” Luci S. says.

To stay positive, Stephanie W. focuses on her patients and the bright spots in her day. “Try to relax and enjoy your day as best you can,” she recommends. “Don’t let those negative, hard-to-please people whom you encounter during the day get you down, but be kind to them.”

Kiki E. also strives to focus on the present, and tries not to worry too much about the past or the future. “Some days are definitely better than others. Try to leave today in today,” she suggests. “Tomorrow when you go into the office, tell yourself that you’re going to have a great day and be the best you can be, and that nothing will ruin your day.”

5. Resilience

Successful dental assistants always give 100% on the job. When it comes down to it, this is all anyone can ask for. “I really do love the challenges dental assisting brings,” Tamera B. shares. “When challenges are overcome, it’s a great feeling. When they’re not, I know we tried our best.”

You must be tough to work as a dental assistant, agrees Debbie D. “At the end of the day, we are the backbone of the office to ensure the day is running smoothly.”

What would you add to this list?