Dental Assistant Performance Reviews: What Should You Include?

Posted by on Nov 28, 2022 9:00:00 AM

No matter the size of your practice, dental assistant performance reviews play a large role in the growth and success of your team. Here are some ways to establish consistent evaluations to help improve your practice: 

Best Practices for Conducting Performance Reviews

Your dental assistant performance reviews are an effective way to set up recurring check-ins, ensure standards of operation and patient care are met, and work together closely for the betterment of the practice and the relationship with your team. 

It helps to have the structure of the reviews and the topics discussed to be formally mapped out, perhaps with an agenda or review survey, so both you and your team members know what to expect. A Human Resources  professional can also help advise on best practices for conducting performance evaluations. By incorporating helpful feedback and action items into the review process, you can support your employees’ growth, thereby strengthening your team and practice overall. 

Here are some topics to cover during dental assistant performance reviews: 

1. Soft Skills 

Dental assistants spend a considerable amount of their time interacting with patients, whether they’re helping a dentist throughout an appointment or speaking to a patient directly. As a result, being personable, professional, and communicative during those interactions is key to successful team members.

Soft skills can be challenging to gauge, but you can learn a lot by paying attention to the dental assistant’s overall delivery and time management. 

Positive indications of successful patient interactions may include verbal and non-verbal cues, such as a relaxed and satisfied attitude toward the dental assistant, the dentist, and the dental practice. You may also receive feedback through patient reviews. 

A lack of these indicators could be the opportunity to identify and discuss areas for improvement. 

2. Hard Skills 

Dental assistants are responsible for a number of tasks and duties throughout any given day, which requires them to be proficient in a versatile skill set. 

Some responsibilities may include gathering patient medical histories, providing helpful explanations to patients concerning dental concepts like plaque control and general oral hygiene, and following proper protocols during tasks. 

Positive indications of hard skill proficiency may include accurate record-keeping and executing cleaning and sanitation procedures following appointments.

Opportunity areas may be identified by instances of errors in patient documentation, sanitization, billing, or the lack of fulfillment in another frequent task. 

3. Technological Proficiency

As with many roles, a certain amount of technological proficiency is necessary within a dental practice. For example, a dental assistant should be able to accurately type at a certain number of words per minute for record-keeping. This responsibility is significant, as correct, timely, and up-to-date records are required to maintain HIPAA standards. 

In addition, you’ll likely expect your dental assistants to proficiently utilize dental practice management system software. Depending on each dental assistant’s level of experience, they may require training in this area. If that is the case, you can include an assessment of their progress within your recurring performance reviews. 

Indications of proficiency often include expediency of up-to-date records details, proper use of software, and positive results from other similar tasks such as managing e-mail communications. 

Areas of improvement can often be found in situations when these tasks are not successfully carried out, such as an error or details missing in a record or a discovered breach of HIPAA guidelines. 


Successfully Managing Your Team 

Creating an effective team at your dental practice doesn’t happen by accident — and performance reviews are just one of the aspects of thorough management. 


While this blog focuses specifically on dental assistants as they work closely with dentist(s) on a regular basis, it is important to provide reviews to every employee. Since your employees are some of your greatest assets, you want to make sure you’re effectively leading them towards professional growth. 


Here are a few of the other aspects you’ll want to consider while managing your dental practice


  • Attract the right candidates. You want people in your dental practice that align with your values and goals, so attracting them during the interview and hiring process is critical to maintaining them throughout your career. 
  • Establish streamlined processes. Once you have the right people interested in working at your dental practice, you want them to have a smooth onboarding and training process. 
  • Create a patient-centric culture. By ensuring your patients know they will be well taken care of, you’re creating loyalty that can spread through generations, prompting current patients to refer new people to you, and inspiring positive reviews for your practice. 
  • Retain your employees. Once you have a team of happy, proactive, and productive employees, keeping them is paramount — but in today’s competitive job market, it’s equally vital to connect with and support your employees and learn about other retention best practices to encourage them to stay. 


These topics can be difficult to implement — but by learning how to effectively manage the team in your dental practice, you’ll be able to ensure your employees are supported, your patients are happy with the care they receive, and that your dental practice flourishes. 

Access a copy of our Ebook today to examine some of the key factors and actions behind cultivating a successful dental practice as you learn to invest in and support the people who help your office operate. 

Building Your Practice with Treloar & Heisel

Treloar & Heisel is a financial services provider to dental and medical professionals across the country. Our insurance and wealth management divisions assist thousands of clients from residency through retirement. We strive to deliver the highest level of service with custom-tailored advice and a strong national network.

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