What is a Dental Office Receptionist?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2019
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A dental office receptionist is a person who works for a dentist by completing duties such as answering the phone and checking patients in and out. Some receptionists work for several dentists on the same floor of a medical building. A dental office receptionist must have good clerical and communication skills as well as be able to work well under pressure.

Booking appointments and answering patients' questions over the telephone is a main part of the workday for many dental office receptionists. Yet, they must also give priority to patients checking in for their appointments or exiting the office after a dental procedure. They deal with insurance concerns, such as making sure procedures are covered under a patient's plan. If patients are confused about dental insurance options or coverage, the receptionist discusses this with them to try to work out a suitable payment plan.

A dental office receptionist often works behind a large desk located between the waiting room and the dentist's working area. She will typically transfer patient files and paperwork to the dentist before each appointment. Filing the updated information correctly after the appointment is usually the receptionist's responsibility.


At least high school graduation or equivalent is needed by dental office receptionists. They may also hold an associate's degree in business or another field. Computer skills are required as is an ability to professionally handle telephone and in-person communication with patients. A dental office receptionist must always have a calm, helpful attitude. Many people dislike or are afraid of going to the dentist; an understanding yet professional approach by the receptionist can help inspire trust and ease nerves.

The most successful dental office receptionists have excellent customer service skills. They are helpful and professional when dealing with patients to solve insurance problems. Many dental receptionists take deposits to the bank as well as collect and deal with office mail. They may address and send out appointment reminder postcards for six-month checkups to regular clients.

It may be the dental office receptionist's responsibility to keep the waiting room tidy. Most dental offices have a children's play area that can have toys left scattered around. The receptionist may also stock magazines in the waiting area as well as keep the office carpet clean with a sweeper or vacuum. Watering plants and making coffee may be other reception duties.


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