What is a dental receptionist and how much do they make?

What is a dental receptionist and how much do they make?

Are you interested in dentistry but don’t know where to start? Why not become a dental receptionist?  

Dental receptionists help ease patient worries by answering questions and ensuring the dental office runs smoothly. As a dental receptionist, you help staff care for patients by operating the front desk, communicating patients’ needs to staff, and instructions to patients. But what exactly is a dental receptionist, and how much do they make? 

What is a dental receptionist?

Dental receptionists are the representatives of a dental office. They are the first and last faces patients see during their appointment.  Dental receptionists handle the administrative work, i.e. scheduling, office inventory, and filing in dental offices allowing dental staff to focus on patient care. They ensure that all patient paperwork, results, and billing are accurate and share essential patient information with the dental staff. 

Where do they work?

 Dental receptionists mostly work in dental offices, but they also work in hospitals, dental care facilities, rehabilitation centers, schools, and clinics.

What are some primary dental receptionist responsibilities?
  • Greeting patients and answering patient questions during dental practice visits
  • Scheduling, rescheduling, and canceling patient appointments
  • Preparing dental staff daily schedules
  • Handling inventory and communicating with supply vendors
  • Preparing and updating patient charts, records and documenting treatments and procedures
  • Connect with insurance providers, billing and coding 
  • Perform general administrative duties, i.e., answering phones, message board questions, filing.

How do you become one?

To become a dental receptionist, you must have a high school diploma or GED. There’s no specific associate or bachelor’s degree for dental receptionists. Still, most receive an associate degree or certificate in Office Administration or Healthcare/Medical Administrative, i.e., ACI Medical and Dental School for Medical and Administrative Assistants or any related-degree. Most receptionists receive on-the-job training in dental offices while attending school and participating in externships during their programs.

 Program courses include
  • Medical terminology courses, i.e., understanding oral health and toothing systems
  • HIPPA and insurance procedures
  • Coding and billing
  • Manage electronic records.  

Note: Some dental offices prefer certified receptionist; the American Dental Association has an exam-based certification for dental receptionists.

Q&A: Can I become a dental receptionist with no experience?

Yes. Dental receptionists focus on clerical and administrative work and do not perform dental care. You must familiarize yourself with dental care and medical terminology if you want to work in a dental office. Most dental receptionists gain experience by working as office assistants or office managers in a dental office to understand how dental facilities work. You can become a receptionist without a background in dentistry.

What skills do you need to become a dental receptionist?

For a dental receptionist to be successful, they must be organized and effectively communicate with dental staff and patients. Here are some skills every dental receptionist needs to be successful.

  • Interpersonal Communication: Customer service is an essential part of a dental receptionist job. Receptionists are always communicating, whether speaking with patients in person, on the phone or connecting with insurance or billing. That is why receptionists need to have exceptional communication skills. Being an effective communicator helps patients and staff establish a positive relationship and affects patient satisfaction and retention.
  • Organization and Attention To Detail: Time management is essential in dentistry. Being organized and having the ability to multitask and work under pressure, especially during busy days, allows operations to run smoothly. 
  • Technical Skills: Being tech-savvy or having basic computer skills is essential. Dental receptionists update charts, records and use teledental platforms to connect with patients virtually.

How much does a dental receptionist make?

On average, a dental receptionist makes between $26,000 ($16 hourly) and $36,000 ($19 hourly), with a median of about $ 31,182 a year. 

 5 Highest hourly paying cities for Dental Receptionists

 According to Indeed.com, these are the five highest-paying hourly cities for dental receptionists:

  • San Jose, CA- $22. 27
  • New York State-$18.81
  • Brooklyn, NY-$18.59
  • San Diego, CA-$18.02
  • Worcester, MA-$16.83

Note: The job growth for dental reception between 2019 and 2028  is about 5%.

Are you a future dental receptionist looking for a job? Create an account here, and we will match your profile when the best job offers in your area.

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About the author

Joycelyn Ghansah

Joycelyn Ghansah is a former Healthcare Organizer with a background public health, include reproductive and sexual health. When she's not freelance writing, she's transcribing interviews and researching ways to strengthen healthcare labor laws.

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