Help! My Dental Assistant Talks Too Much

Talking too much can inadvertently cause discomfort to some patients and the schedule.
Embrace the challenge of becoming a better listener.

By: Ronda Holman

Hi dear reader, my name is Ronda Holman and I have been sitting across from a dentist for a living for the last 25 years.

I thought it might be time to make some written confessions as to what I have been guilty of over the years and how my dentist was able to effectively mold me into their dream dental assistant. 

I Talked Too Much!

So let’s start with talking too much. Yep, I have been guilty of it. 

Once upon a time in the town of Brightsmile, there lived a dental assistant named Ronda Holman. Ronda had dedicated her life to assisting dentists in their daily tasks, helping patients achieve healthy and sparkling smiles.

However, there was one small problem – Ronda liked to talk –  a lot.

Ronda’s chatty nature had always been her trademark, but it was becoming a bit of an issue at work. She would often engage in lengthy conversations with patients, sharing stories about her personal life or discussing the latest gossip in town.

Why is Talking Too Much a Bad Thing?

You might wonder why would this be an issue? Don’t patients like being talked to?

Well, these conversations sometimes caused delays in the dental office, frustrating both the dentists and the team.

The Dentists Who Helped Guide Me

Dr. Graham, the dentist Ronda had been working with for the past decade, was a patient and understanding man. He recognized Ronda’s potential and knew that with the right guidance, she could become the perfect dental assistant. So, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

One sunny morning, as Ronda arrived at the dental office, she noticed a new sign on the door. It read,

“Silence is Golden – Let Smiles Speak Louder.”

Intrigued, Ronda stepped inside thinking this sign was for her.

Dr. Graham greeted Ronda with a warm smile and invited her into his office. He explained how important it was for a dental assistant to maintain a peaceful environment, allowing patients to relax during their visits.

He shared stories of patients who had felt anxious or overwhelmed by excessive conversation, and how it affected their overall experience.

I Embraced the Challenge to Become a Better Listener

Deeply moved by Dr. Graham’s words, Ronda realized that her talking had inadvertently caused discomfort to some patients and the schedule. She decided to embrace the challenge of becoming a better listener.

Dr. Graham provided her with practical tips on how to engage with patients while ensuring the focus remained on their dental care.

Over the next few weeks, Ronda practiced her newfound skill of active listening. She learned to ask open-ended questions that encouraged patients to share their concerns and fears. She discovered that creating a safe space for them to express themselves helped them find a new focus point other than anticipation of the impending treatment. 

My Active Listening Was Noticed & Appreciated

As time went on, Ronda’s transformation was undeniable.

Patients appreciated her genuine interest in their well-being and started to trust her. They felt comfortable opening up about their dental anxieties, enabling Dr. Graham to provide tailored treatments that addressed their specific needs.

Word quickly spread throughout the office about the remarkable change in Ronda. Patients booked appointments, knowing they would be met with empathy and understanding. They loved the new calmer, focused dental assistant. 

Ronda’s journey also inspired her colleagues within the dental community. Other dental assistants began to recognize the importance of balancing conversation and patient care.

In Conclusion

Ronda became a mentor on social media, sharing her experiences and teaching others how to effectively communicate with patients while maintaining professionalism.

In the end, Ronda’s talkative nature transformed from a challenge into a gift. Her ability to connect with patients on a personal level helped create a positive dental experience for all who walked through the doors of Dr. Graham’s office.

As for Ronda, she continues to learn and grow, forever grateful for the lessons she has learned from her dentist and the power of listening.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Ronda Holman

Ronda Holman

Ronda Holman found her passion for dental assisting while in the Air Force. She assisted in oral surgery, general dentistry, and ended her four-year service as a prophy tech, the military’s version of a dental hygienist. She married and spent 13 years traveling the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Each time Ronda relocated she got the opportunity to work in a new dental office, where she picked up pearls that have helped her become an expert in educating dental assistants. Her interests are immediate denture/partial fabrication, CEREC technology, patient education, and striving for optimal chairside skills. Ronda believes that every dental assistant has the potential to be a rock star assistant if given the right tools and guidance.