Working with patients is one of your favorite things about dental assisting, wouldn’t you agree? Jeanne E. definitely does. “The patients make the day worthwhile,” she says.
Like Jeanne, so many of you say you consider helping patients to be your No. 1 priority and the best part of your day. You’ve shared so many stories with us about patients who have made an impression on you. In many cases, these patients overcame great obstacles and were so grateful for your care and compassion along the way.
Who are some of the best dental patients? Here, we list some examples. Do you agree that these patients are the best?
1. Patients Who Are Like Family
For dental assistants who have been with the same practice for a long time, it’s not uncommon to forge lasting friendships with patients. “I’ve made a lot of good friends who have become like family over the past 42 years,” shares Nina W.
Carol A., CDA-Emeritus, often finds herself talking with people in the community whom she met while working. “I’ve been retired for a few years, but I’m still surprised when I’m out and about running errands and someone will say, ‘Hi Carol, remember me?’” she says. “They say they haven’t forgotten how well I treated them.”
Mary Ellen W. has been with her office for more than 35 years and has made many meaningful connections there as well. “The patients are my extended family,” she shares. “They’ve seen me as a young teenager, then a married woman, then a mother. I’ve seen their children grow up. It’s been the best job.”
Linsey W. says when she left her practice for a new role, it was tough leaving behind all the patients she’d gotten to know. “They begged me not to go,” she explains. “It made me feel happy and so sad at the same time.”
2. Patients Who Overcome Their Fears
We’ve heard that patients regularly say visiting the dental office isn’t their favorite thing to do, but some are fearful and may dread the experience. Dental assistants have the extremely important job of walking patients through the dental appointment, holding their hand, explaining what will happen next and ultimately helping them to have a successful outcome. You agree that putting patients first and making a difference in their lives is what dental assisting is all about.
“Being able to calm my patients’ fears throughout the procedures has given me great purpose,” says Vicki M., who has been a dental assistant for 29 years. “I am blessed.”
Cheryl B. also believes that helping to calm patients is extremely rewarding. “Oral surgery terrifies 90 percent of our patients,” she estimates. “The best part of my job is making sure they are comfortable and feeling safe.”
Carrie S. agrees having a hand in transforming fear into relief is one of her favorite aspects of her role. “I love when someone who was so afraid feels relieved after the procedure is over,” she elaborates. “They realize it wasn’t really that bad.”
Sue O. once not only helped her young patient overcome her fears, but also inspired her to pursue a career in the dental field. “I had a friend who brought her 4-year-old daughter to my office,” she explains. “She was scared, and I talked her through the appointment. Fast-forward 35 years, and that little girl is a fabulous oral surgery assistant today, and I’m retired.”
3. Grateful Patients
Many of you say it makes your day when patients thank you and tell you just how much you’ve impacted their lives.
“I love when patients tell me I made the experience that much better for them, and that if it wasn’t for me, they would never have come to the office,” says Gabi R.
When patients are extremely grateful for dental care, there can be tears of joy — from the patient and the dental assistant alike. Katrina L. recalls this emotional moment:
“I had a patient who cried because he finally had his teeth back,” she says. “I think most of us dental team members did, too. His teeth had been knocked out in an accident, and it took years for him to recover physically and financially. It was a happy-tears day for all involved.”
“I have seen a lot more happy tears than sad ones,” adds Sue M. “That’s why I love my job.”
Why are your patients the best?