How to Become A Dental Receptionist

Healthcare is an amazing industry to work in each day. You have a great job to go to every day and have the opportunity to help others. That’s why many people are interested in a career in the healthcare field, and some more specifically in the dental industry. But many people don’t know how to get their start in dental. Some decide to start with training to be a dental assistant, which is great, but what if you don’t have an interest in clinical work?

If you want the chance to work in a dental office but are not destined to work in a clinical role, the next question is: where to start?

In most dental offices, the best non-clinical starting position is the role of dental receptionist. There are a lot of idiosyncrasies in the medical and dental field based on the need for familiarity with the procedures, understanding insurance billing, knowing dental codes, and so much more. Therefore, the role of dental office receptionist is the position most dental offices start a new employee, so the person can learn how to be an effective receptionist while learning the particulars of the dental knowledge needed to move up in this field.

If you’re ready to apply for an entry-level position in a dental office as a receptionist, you may be wondering exactly how to land a position like this. Every office is different, but here we will outline some of the attributes a dental office may look for in candidates for a dental receptionist position. The following guidelines are also relevant beyond dental offices, as orthodontists and other specialists typically start out new non-clinical employees in the role of the receptionist.

3 Things to Consider When Becoming a Dental Receptionist

  1. Understand the purpose of a receptionist and the importance of the role in the office.
  2. Understand and describe why excellent customer service is a key part of success in this position.
  3. Know and be able to clearly articulate why you want to work in the dental industry.

The first step to landing a receptionist position, in any industry but especially in dental, is to fully understand the purpose of the receptionist position and how the person plays a vital role in keeping the office running smoothly. The receptionist is the first person that clients and patients speak to on the phone, and many times the receptionist is the first person they meet when they walk in the front door for their first visit. That responsibility is important because the front desk receptionist is the person who creates the first impression for the business. As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” In the case of a dental office, patients should have a good first impression to set the tone of the visit, make them feel appreciated so that they will come back again, and make their experience memorable so they will refer their friends and family to our office.

The next step to landing a receptionist job is to ensure you understand what good customer service is and you are fully committed to showing up in this way every day for clients and patients.  What does this mean? Tangible aspects of exceptional customer service include: answering the phone with a smile (which lets the client or patient know that you are genuinely happy they called) and making sure you resolve any question or issue raised by the caller. One of the most important dental office receptionist tips is to really understand – people don’t love going to the dentist. This understanding will help you remember to make clients and patients feel welcome when they call or when they arrive at the office. When you show your compassion for their fears and take the time to listen to them, you are building their loyalty to your dental office. There are tons of dental offices in almost every city, but very few are really excellent at building relationships with their patients. As the receptionist, the responsibility rests with you to create and maintain that relationship so patients will keep coming back.

Finally, if you are specifically looking to join the dental industry as a dental receptionist, this is the best interview tip I can give you – reflect about why it’s important to you to work in dental, so you will be able to explain it in a way that helps the dentist know you are a great fit for the team. You could find a receptionist job almost anywhere, so why do you want to become a dental receptionist? You’ll be a step ahead of other candidates for the position if you are able to explain from your heart why you are pursuing the opportunity to be a receptionist in a dental office. Be clear on the reason and be able to communicate it to others, and you’ll find yourself one step closer to becoming the dental office receptionist that you hope to be.

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Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson, BS, MS, FAADOM is the founder and driving force behind Front Office Rocks, and the leading provider of on-demand virtual training and resources for dental practices.