Dental Assistants Recognition Week is here, and it’s all about you! And for good reason: Each day, you make a difference, impacting the lives of your patients and colleagues. For so many of you, dental assisting is not just your job — it’s your career, which you take pride in.

In honor of DARW, we wanted to know your feelings about the importance of this special week. So we asked: What does DARW mean to you? Many of you shared such insightful, inspiring responses, which we spotlight here.

Appreciating Your Role

First and foremost, Danielle M., CDA, says DARW highlights dental assistants’ important role in the dental practice. “DARW is a reminder that we aren’t ‘just’ assistants,” she says. “We are a major asset to the dentist.”

Kantres D., CDA, says DARW makes her feel special and proud to be a dental assistant. “To be recognized during DARW makes us feel like, yes, we are important! Yes, we are seen! And yes, we are needed! We can be proud of our roles and work with confidence, knowing that someone appreciates us.”

Barbara J., CDA, echoes that DARW is all about acknowledging that dental assistants make a difference. “It is a time for us to be recognized as professionals for the important role we play in people’s lives,” she says.

Recognizing Your Dedication

DARW also recognizes dental assistants’ hard work and dedication, says Amanda J., CDA. In order to provide the patient with the best care, dental assistants must go above and beyond, she explains. For example: “We come into the office early and work though lunch to make sure every patient receives the best care we can give,” she says.

Michelle P., CDA, says DARW motivates her to challenge herself to be the best dental assistant she can be — not only during DARW, but each and every week.

“Being recognized during DARW for all my hard work makes me feel more valued and needed,” she elaborates, “which then makes me want to work even harder and more efficiently, and to keep pushing myself to do and learn more.”

“It gives you a little extra boost of confidence to be recognized,” adds Sheena R., CDA.

Celebrating Your Team

Ambition, compassion, dedication, hard work, a thirst for knowledge — these are just a few of the words you’ve used to describe what it takes to be a successful dental assistant. You probably would all agree that providing the best patient care takes all this and more, including teamwork.

Julianna R., CDA, believes DARW bonds dental teams, and this is inspiring. “When our efforts are recognized, this boosts our morale and encourages team unity,” she says. “These are things that make our office a better place to be and a more efficient practice.”

Tyler W., CDA, agrees that DARW is the perfect time to recognize strength in numbers. “DARW is a week when we can celebrate the profession which we love, give our co-workers an extra ‘pat on the back’ for our great teamwork and, finally, take pride in ourselves as professional dental assistants and our chosen profession,” he says.

Reflecting and Looking Ahead

Additionally, some of you view DARW as an opportunity to grow as a professional. Laura S., CDA, plans to spend some time this week thinking about her own career path. “DARW is a time to reflect on the past year of our careers: on what we have accomplished and our goals for the future,” she says.

DARW is also a great time to consider the history of dental assisting and what’s ahead for the profession, adds Diana T., CDA.

“I’ve spent 33 years in the field,” she explains. “I believe that this week is a time for reflection on how dentistry has improved, and the technology that is changing the future.”

Ultimately, Shayna O. summarizes the meaning of DARW in one word: appreciation. “DARW is an opportunity to thank and remember those who have come before us and those who are paving the way for the future in this profession — ALL of us!”

What does DARW mean to you?