Top dental office receptionist skills needed to get the job.

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Host

What are the top 3 traits or skills every dental office receptionist must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your dental office receptionist expertise?

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Vonda

88 months ago

I work as dental office receptionist, I enjoyed the job but not the doctor he was a class jurk! Go to the libery and check out a book in the medical area tha list the names of the different teeth, Yes, they all have names and you need to know each one. The hard part was in August I had to call customers to set up appointments, doctor, I was not to except any excuses to set em up!!! Hea! with kids going back to school and everything they need the family budget is busted... Thank God I was only filling in for a couple months. As I quit, the doc was working on a customer and in the middle of treatment he blow up and walked out, I couldn't belive it. If it hadn't been for the doc it would have been a good job.

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Jan in Everett, Washington

88 months ago

I work with many dental offices as a practice management consultant and have seen everything. Doctors contact me on a regular basis looking for qualified help. The two top requests are great customer service and strong work ethics. Everything else can be taught.

It is also very important to understand all types of dental restorations in order to support the doctor's recommended treatment, understand billing and insurance and how to gracefully ask for money...and be a team player.

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Rebecca Johnson

87 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every dental office receptionist must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your dental office receptionist expertise?

1.Excellent Customer Service skills
2.show compassion
3.Be a team player

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Rebecca Johnson

87 months ago

showing excellent customer service will
always bring the patient back to the dentist.
Showing compassion shows the patient you care about how they feel, if they are in pain, and getting them in to see the doctor right away will not only bring that patient back but by word that patient will bring the doctor new patients.
Being a TEAM player shows you are able to get along with your co/works and that makes a very HAPPY OFFICE:)

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kathy freelander in Chilliwack, British Columbia

87 months ago

Would anybody like to add this, by also adding what office dental programs they are using? I am sure it differs in the us than from what is used in Canada

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i love dds

86 months ago

be very aggressive in a friendly way, make sure to collect and never forget anything.

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GEN in Las Vegas, Nevada

84 months ago

Vonda said: I work as dental office receptionist, I enjoyed the job but not the doctor he was a class jurk! Go to the libery and check out a book in the medical area tha list the names of the different teeth, Yes, they all have names and you need to know each one. The hard part was in August I had to call customers to set up appointments, doctor, I was not to except any excuses to set em up!!! Hea! with kids going back to school and everything they need the family budget is busted... Thank God I was only filling in for a couple months. As I quit, the doc was working on a customer and in the middle of treatment he blow up and walked out, I couldn't belive it. If it hadn't been for the doc it would have been a good job.

I A, ALSO A DENTAL RECEPTIONIST WORKING FOR AN AWESOME DOCTOR THAT TREATS THE PATIENT NOT THE INSURANCE OR WHAT KIND OF CLOTHED THEY WEAR... BUT WE CALL THEM PATIENTS NOT COSTUMERS.

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shay318 in Dayton, Ohio

84 months ago

GEN in Las Vegas, Nevada said: I A, ALSO A DENTAL RECEPTIONIST WORKING FOR AN AWESOME DOCTOR THAT TREATS THE PATIENT NOT THE INSURANCE OR WHAT KIND OF CLOTHED THEY WEAR... BUT WE CALL THEM PATIENTS NOT COSTUMERS.

What is a clothed? and what is a COSTUMER? Go back to school and learn to spell. My god that is horrible.

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Sonny in La Grange, Illinois

82 months ago

I just started my job as a dental receptionist today. I have never worked in this industry before so I am going in blind as a bat. Does anyone have any advice. Oh and the Doctor that I work for seems to be a nice guy so far. :)

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karen in Chilliwack, British Columbia

82 months ago

Ask the Dentist if you could spend a day doing clinical observation to understand the procedures. this will help you tremendously with scheduling and billing. If you have no experience about the clinical aspect of your job you should educate yourself fast. Also its important to be able to know how to schedule to production, so you will need to ask the dentist, if he doesnt write clearly in the chart how many "units" they usually like for each procedure. IF you just starting you should just concentrate on one area right now.

Its easier to offer advice if I know a little more about the practice you work for? General or Specialist? How many CDA's and/or hygienists. Is the one dentist or is their also and associate dentist. Is their an office manager? How many receptionist? GEt back to me. Im interested to know

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Julia in Vancouver, British Columbia

82 months ago

I am a CDA who has recently taken on the new position of reception. I like it, but my only concern is when a cash patient comes to the desk after the treatment and cannot pay anything! ( Sometimes did not bring any method of payment.)Any tips, it happens more than I thought it would.

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Jan in Marysville, Washington

82 months ago

When the patient is brought up to the front desk to schedule their appointment, you should give them a treatment plan and review what will be done, cost for the procedures and how much they are expected to pay at the time of their appointment. This should greatly reduce patients not paying at the time of service. One of your obstacles may be the clinical staff not giving you the exact treatment and the doctor not supporting you in collecting at the time of service.

Best to you

Jan

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Chris Jaso in Richardson, Texas

82 months ago

Sonny in La Grange, Illinois said: I just started my job as a dental receptionist today. I have never worked in this industry before so I am going in blind as a bat. Does anyone have any advice. Oh and the Doctor that I work for seems to be a nice guy so far. :)

Good luck. Every dds is different. They try to be nice to you the first couple of days/weeks, then their bad side comes out. Whether rude, holier than thou, or whatever fault they have. I have worked for all kinds, men,women,gay,lesbian...the last one I worked for was a "brand new Dr". She didn't want anyone else in the office, assistant, front office manger, to wear a "white" lab coat excpet for her, because she was the "DR" and she deserves to wear the white coat. Anyway, hang in there, it's a pretty good industry to work in; but don't leave too many offices to go to the "greener pastures" on the other side; like they say they may be greener, but it's all that (S..) mannuer that is on the other side.

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Chris Jaso in Richardson, Texas

82 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every dental office receptionist must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your dental office receptionist expertise?

Your DDS, or owner always wants to you to be "nice", but stern @ the same time, about everything. Collections,scheduling appts, etc. Most people can't be mean & nice, you're either or. I always seem to be "Too" nice, my employer told me one time. That's why it's always good to have a nice employee, and a "mean" employee in the front desk, that way they can feed off each other & treat the patients the way that your employer wants you to treat them.

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Jerri Cobine in Tampa, Florida

82 months ago

The treatment plan should be presented to the patient when it is diagnosed. The office manager or receptionist should present fees-NEVER the doctor.
At that time, the patient should be asked how they will "take care of their bill" and if they did not plan ahead and bring money or their debit card, the procedure should be rescheduled. If the patient is in pain, it is not unethical to prescribe antibiotics and pain meds. If this patient is new to your office, be careful to collect!! If this patient has a history of this behavior, then collect before doing treatment every time. Always remain polite but firm. Hope this helps.

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CougarKatz in Alberta

82 months ago

Could you please give me some suggestions on how to "politely" but "firmly" ask for collection BEFORE doing the dental treatment? Also how to do the same if the patients say they dont have the money AFTER the treatment is already done.

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Chris Jaso in Richardson, Texas

82 months ago

When the patient arrives, after you greet them; we always had them complete consent for treatment forms, prior to their going to the back treatment area. I always, would, at that point, say, "we are going to do 2 fillings, a root canal, or whatever the treatment was to be done on that date". Alot of times, the patient changes their mind on treatment,from their last visit till the next visit; so that gives you an opportunity to, at that time, to ask for the payment prior to their going to the back. You can always let them know that if the treatment changes in any way, you will let them know, and payment(s) can be changed accordingly, at the time of checkout. You can let them know that you are doing it before treatment, so that when they do get done, (sometimes they have to be there awhile) they can just walk right past the check-out "window". This would also be a good time to make future appointment(s); that way, when they are finished in the back, they can just leave.
About the patients who say they can't pay today; you let them know that we take, checks ,credit cards; if that doesn't work, let them know if you participate in any outside financing, like Care Credit or Unicorn Financial. If they don't have either of those, they can go on-line, or you can get the phone# or applications (if you use those) and they can apply right then and there. You usually get to know your patients; but at first, especially if you are taking someones place that had been there for awhile, but just let them know that the office is not a "financial institution"; and if you can go so far as to explain to them that they wouldn't go to the grocery store and ask if they could pay next week. Sometimes you have to make "exceptions" to your office "rules", but don't make it a habit. Just let each patient know, if there isn't already a sign, or if it isn't already on your initial paperwork, that all payment (copays) is due up front; that there are no "payment plans.

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Iren in Mississauga, Ontario

81 months ago

i am a adental Assistant Level 1 and i am interested to work as a receptionist.I don' have time to register in a college and take the Dental Office Receptionist.What i should do?if some of you have experience of this field,please give me some advice.How can i get there? Thank you

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Julie in Guelph, Ontario

80 months ago

Iren in Mississauga, Ontario said: i am a adental Assistant Level 1 and i am interested to work as a receptionist.I don' have time to register in a college and take the Dental Office Receptionist.What i should do?if some of you have experience of this field,please give me some advice.How can i get there? Thank you

If you are currently working in an office right now, your best bet is to learn as much as you can from the ladies at the front. I find you don't really need to go back to school to do reception. Though sometimes it would be nice that they get certified, nothing burns my butt more than to find out a receptionist makes more than you do and they are not certified. So when it comes time for you to move into the receptionist position you will have plenty of experience. Good luck

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psyank

80 months ago

i was just told by my boss that i am great with everything except one thing....i do not schmooze the patients. i was told that i am abrupt (never been told that)...i didn't know i was also a salesman. if i did this like he wants me to..he stated i would be "amazing". my receptionist at my dentist does not schmooze me. am i wrong about thinking i am a salesman now?

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Brittney C. in Chattanooga, Tennessee

80 months ago

Vonda said: I work as dental office receptionist, I enjoyed the job but not the doctor he was a class jurk! Go to the libery and check out a book in the medical area tha list the names of the different teeth, Yes, they all have names and you need to know each one. The hard part was in August I had to call customers to set up appointments, doctor, I was not to except any excuses to set em up!!! Hea! with kids going back to school and everything they need the family budget is busted... Thank God I was only filling in for a couple months. As I quit, the doc was working on a customer and in the middle of treatment he blow up and walked out, I couldn't belive it. If it hadn't been for the doc it would have been a good job.

lol teeth dont have names, they are just numbered from 1-32

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hudler in California

79 months ago

I would like a little feedback. I was lay offed after 14yrs with the same Dr.
I worked back office only in orthodontics.
I would like to transition to a front office position. My strong points are my people skills. Could someone tell me if my typing wpm is going to be an issue? I have a self confidence problem so I am a little intimidated to go after this position. I am 49 and feel now is a great time to make the change. How difficult is front office. Is the pay anywhere close to 20.00 as I was used to? What would the skill requirements be?
Thanks for any feedback you can throw my way. I appreciate it.

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Rebecca

79 months ago

The best thing for you to do is apply for an front office position. I think with your
experience and skills it isn't going to matter but, if you feel intimidated then ask the questions you put in your letter. I know
just how you feel I am also 49 and I have
started looking for another position and the fear of starting over or not being able to live up to someone else standards is a very
scary thing. I make sure I ask all the question before I go on the interview. I hope that help you.

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hudler in California

79 months ago

Thank you for your response. Like you said my biggest fear ia intimidation or not being good enough instead of playing on what I DO have to offer.
There are so few jobs in this area available.
Now I have to try to find what I wrote to see what my questions were,

Thank you.

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Rebecca

79 months ago

ON THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE YOU SHOULD SEE A "VIEW COMMENTS" THAT WILL SHOW YOU WHAT YOU SAID AND WHAT EVERYONE ELSE HAS REPLIED TO.

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mamaoflucas in East Lansing, Michigan

78 months ago

I am applying for a dental office receptionist position. It is full time M-F $13-$17 per hour!!! I am curretnly a CNA/CENA (certified nurse aide), I am making under $11 per hour! I will stay at my job per diem because I am going to nursing school and I do love what I do so I must stay there but I also feel I am qualified to be a receptionist. I have an extensive educational background, I am very articulate and compassionate, I communicate well and feel competent about the collections/monetary dealings involved with this position. Any advice or points I should highlight to include in my cover letter and resume I intend to fax tomorrow????
Thanks! Helpful forum!!

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Sue

78 months ago

mamaoflucas in East Lansing, Michigan said: I am applying for a dental office receptionist position. It is full time M-F $13-$17 per hour!!! I am curretnly a CNA/CENA (certified nurse aide), I am making under $11 per hour! I will stay at my job per diem because I am going to nursing school and I do love what I do so I must stay there but I also feel I am qualified to be a receptionist. I have an extensive educational background, I am very articulate and compassionate, I communicate well and feel competent about the collections/monetary dealings involved with this position. Any advice or points I should highlight to include in my cover letter and resume I intend to fax tomorrow????
Thanks! Helpful forum!!

I would definitely highlight everything you just said (except maybe the schooling part-they will think you'll jump soon...which I am assuming you will!). And don't mention salary part-all the good things you just said about yourself..I would put down you understand that there is a financial component to being the receptionist and that you understand it is a very confidential and sensitive subject, and you already deal with such in your current position and feel you'd be very capable of that aspect of the job, also. Good luck and let us know if you get it!! I don't know of a dentist here in Saginaw that is open on Fridays....!

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mamaoflucas in East Lansing, Michigan

78 months ago

Thanks for the support!!! Actually, typo I meant M-Th. That is one reason I would so love this job. Also, I plan to ask for $15-$16 per hour since I will be driving from Lansing (about 30 minutes). Fair??? Plus, I agree about school. My classes are in the evening and will not conflict anyway.

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laurie in Claremont, California

78 months ago

Good luck. I hope you get the position. you sound very qualified. Sometimes you can be considered over-qualified so be careful in how you write the resume. Here in Ca an Orthodontist receptionist/back office RDA makes aprox 18 to 25 an hour. Can you shoot for more dollars wise?

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laurie in Claremont, California

78 months ago

i love dds said: be very aggressive in a friendly way, make sure to collect and never forget anything.

I would say be assertive always with a smile on your face!

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Kelly in Houston, Texas

78 months ago

Julia in Vancouver, British Columbia said: I am a CDA who has recently taken on the new position of reception. I like it, but my only concern is when a cash patient comes to the desk after the treatment and cannot pay anything! ( Sometimes did not bring any method of payment.)Any tips, it happens more than I thought it would.

Julia, in my practice it is our policy if it is a "large" payment collect before treatment. Makes it harder to stiff the practice.

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Mary in Wilmington, Massachusetts

78 months ago

Brittney C. in Chattanooga, Tennessee said: lol teeth dont have names, they are just numbered from 1-32

Teeth most certainly do have names. There are molars, cuspids, bicuspids, incisors, etc. These "names" are in addition to the numerical system.

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Laurie in Upland, California

78 months ago

My goodness Britney what school did you attend? Not only are the numbered 1=32 and named. In orthodontics the are from the ur central to the ur wisdom numbered 1-8 L,R U and lower.

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Anna in Fort Knox, Kentucky

78 months ago

Brittney C. in Chattanooga, Tennessee said: lol teeth dont have names, they are just numbered from 1-32

Well not exactly, there are wisdom teeth, molars, bicuspids, canines, and incisors.

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DentalPlus in Mississauga, Ontario

78 months ago

Iren in Mississauga, Ontario said: i am a adental Assistant Level 1 and i am interested to work as a receptionist.I don' have time to register in a college and take the Dental Office Receptionist.What i should do?if some of you have experience of this field,please give me some advice.How can i get there? Thank you

Hi! We are a Dental Staffing Agency can you send your resume to our Agency? emailto: contact@dentalplus.ca or fax to: 905 896-0696

Thank you
Mariela Delgado
Recruitment co-ordinator

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Agata in London, Ontario

77 months ago

I am a dental hygiene student, I have no other background in the dental field. I have been working as a dental receptionist for over 6 months. My advice: excel in you people skills, this will make or break you. You need to get along professionally with your fellow staff, your big scary boss, and most importantly the clients. The ways of the dental receptionist are learned usually uniquely to the dental office (in my perspective). It is winning the trust of your clients that is the money maker. Know what your taking about and always make it seem the office is only working for the client's best interest. You'll have times you hate the job and times you'll love it. But if you love the dental field, you don't really care about the rougher days.
Good luck and find a dental team that is respectful and fun.

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beverlywayne@comcast .net in Littleton, Colorado

76 months ago

Hello!
I am a fifty something woman whose nest just emptied and have been studying dental assisting, soon to start externship. I originally thought I wanted back (clinical) but have recently decided to focus on the front desk. If you are interested in the front office I suggest you become familiar with dental software and the importance of scheduling, collecting money and being kind and friendly because many people have a lot of anxiety about going to the dentist. Also, check out the organization (or lack of) for the practice. I recently filled in for a front office person out on maternity leave and it was shocking how unorganized and haphazard the practice was. Communication was through yellow post it notes, dental supplies were often running out and I never saw a treatment plan. In contrast, my twin 20 year old sons are having their wisdom teeth removed by a local oral surgeon and this practice seems to be so well run. Prescriptions, treatment plans, insurance, etc. are all communicated and the office manager sounds so fabulous over the phone. What a contrast! I now see the importance of organization and structure and believe it could make all the diffierence in my experience once I complete my training and find a job!

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beverlywayne@comcast .net in Littleton, Colorado

76 months ago

Thanks for your reply. I am starting to realize that organization is the key. The most organized and efficient prac tices are most profitable and can pay more. This is where I want to be.

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Sonya in Waterville, Ohio

76 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every dental office receptionist must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your dental office receptionist expertise?

Customer service #1, have to be sincerly people friendly. Then you have to know some dental termnology/coding. Pts will call and ask questions about a tooth in pain or etc and you need to be some what familiar with the dental field. If you can take a basic dental class from Vo-Tech if offered or ask a dental office if you can come for a week and follow them around listen and make sure you even want to go into this field. Last, Hvae to be a team player! mostly woman in this field and you have to get along. Hours can be long, depending on the office hours, you will have to stay after some days depending on the day goes, its common to run over as with teeth there are alot of unforseen adventures. Don't worry about the starting pay or if you have to take out garbage or wash floors, I started with no schooling and now make $14 hour as front office. I started on the job about 6yrs ago as chairside, I had NO idea what I was doing but I was very eager to learn. I hated schooland the first few days I balled my eyes out on the way home and on the way to work as I was very much so out of my comfort zone. You'll do great! if you really desire to do this.. Good LUCK!

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smilemaker in Kentucky

76 months ago

Julia in Vancouver, British Columbia said: I am a CDA who has recently taken on the new position of reception. I like it, but my only concern is when a cash patient comes to the desk after the treatment and cannot pay anything! ( Sometimes did not bring any method of payment.)Any tips, it happens more than I thought it would.

After the doctor see's the pt on the first visit - you should be doing treatment/payment planing with them - present their opions for payment ie; visa, mastercard, Care Credit w/ 6 mo free financing or 5% discount for cash. Then the pt understands what is expected for the services rendered. In your policies tht the pt reads before they meet the doctor for the first time it should clearly say - payment is due at time of service - put a sign on the front desk that says that also. You have to teach your pt's your policies. It is fee for service not free for service. Good luck.

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Insecure in Sacramento, California

75 months ago

Hello everyone! I'm a biology major at CSUS and I'm interested in becoming a dentist. HOWEVER, I don't have nice straight teeth like my husband's and theres a little gap between my front teeth. Since a lot of you have worked in the field, I was wondering if that will be an issue? Like for example, does everyone in a dentist office have perfect teeth? Also, how important is it for the doctor to have perfect pearly whites?

thanks.

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Laurie in Upland, California

75 months ago

I worked in ortho for 14 yrs. Is it a necessity to have perfect teeth to become a General or other speciality outside of ortho? no, I don't believe it does.If your going to start your own practice you really don't need to worry.
I worked for an extremely successful practice in So Ca. We treated many general dentists charging nothing. It is a great way for an orthodontist to get the referrals.

I guess I would say having perfect straight bleached teeth would be the best scenario. I don't believe it will make or break you.

A smile is the first thing people will notice. (especially in outward appearance conscience Ca.)

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Sara in Lorain, Ohio

75 months ago

I just started at a dentist office. I filled in at another office a total of three times over the summer doing some assisting and desk work. I made about $8.30 there, but when I started filling in for the place I work for now I made $12. I was blown away! There aren't too many positions open around here (trust me, I looked just about everywhere). I was so blessed to find the doctor I work for now! Not only is he working with my schedule, but I just got out of high school. I had no experience, unless you consider waitressing, and working at a tanning salon a 'skill'.

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PJ in Mesa, Arizona

74 months ago

Julia in Vancouver, British Columbia said: I am a CDA who has recently taken on the new position of reception. I like it, but my only concern is when a cash patient comes to the desk after the treatment and cannot pay anything! ( Sometimes did not bring any method of payment.)Any tips, it happens more than I thought it would.

I work front office in an endodontic practice. When we confirm patients the day before we ALWAYS let them know what their out of pocket is for their appointment. This gives them the opportunity to discuss payment if they need to. If we are dealing with insurance then we tell them it;'s only an estimate as insurance doesn't guarantee payment.

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PJ in Mesa, Arizona

74 months ago

Brittney C. in Chattanooga, Tennessee said: lol teeth dont have names, they are just numbered from 1-32

Actully, teeth DO have names...molars, bicuspids, and anteriors. Each has a number but it's very helpful to know the names associated with the number.

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Annonymous in Surrey, British Columbia

73 months ago

Host said: What are the top 3 traits or skills every dental office receptionist must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your dental office receptionist expertise?

The Dental reception field is very specific and the education you should have going into the position should also be completed. I am amazed that there are dentists out there that hire receptionist without education!

To sum up the skills required; The key is to be VERY organized, have a working knowledge of the insurance aspects, dental terminology, types of dentistry and booking techniques and lastly, to be prepared for any type of patient... be understanding and polite and ALWAYS let them know if there will be any costs to them up front ( yes girls, that happens even if a patient has 100% insurance coverage)so that you are not unpleasantly surprising them at the end... Which brings me back to the beginning: If you want to work in a dental office and make a well-paying career out of it instead of just being the "telephone operator" for the office, go out and take the course!

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Nc in Colorado in Denver, Colorado

72 months ago

Hi everyone. Hey well im trying to work at a Dental office as a receptionist but i have no experience what so ever. I want to do this because i want to go to school to become a Dental Assitant so i want to get familarized with everything thats envolved. I did read all your advices but i wanna know exactly what type of Job they do, what skills you need to have? What type of computer programs you need to know etc. Oh yeah and i don't know if some Dental clinics can help with school tuition. I would really appreciate if you can help me!! Thank you.

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hudler in California

72 months ago

Why don't you just get into school for dental assisting? Here in Ca you can go to Jr College and get a certificate and then pass a state exam. Yes you can get assistance money wise if the circumstance shows the need. If back office is what you ultimately want you will learn everything you need through school and internship in a specialty office and general. In the office I worked in the assistant did a lot of scheduling right from the back office. If you get into a quality office you will be crossed trained in all depts.

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ella in Lynbrook, New York

72 months ago

you do need to professional, you need to know insurance, you need to understand the basics of procedures, but also you DO need to schmooze with patients, they love it! you learn as you go along and become more experienced how to be very friendly and yet respectful with patients without crossing the line of being too friendly. it also depends on your clientele, location and your doctor. my dental experience had stared at Blue Cross, when i got a job as CS rep. as much as were told to stick to the script, i could never do that, it's just not me, so in my own way i was able to speak to callers - members, dentists, receptionists, office managers, group administrators, you name it - without sounding like a broken record and they loved it! now when i am on the other side of this business, it bothers me when people on the phone sound like machines and can't get off their memorized lines! working the front desk in a dental office you need to be a real person - polite, respectful, understanding, and yes - funny and open! of course your boss (or bosses) would have to be the same way. when the can discuss root canals and george bush and andrea boccelli at the same time , you know you don't need to be stiff and cold like a recorded answering machine - good morning mrs smith, sign here and have a seat. talk to them about weather, kids, weddings they went to last week, accident you heard about on the local news, crack a joke - a polite one of course! smile and be yourself. the best part of the day is when a patient comes to the office and says - i love coming here! and i get this great feeling when he/she leaves the office saying - you're the best!
ella

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