Caring. Empathetic. Generous. Kind.

These are just a few of the words we’ve heard used to describe dental assistants, who have big hearts and know firsthand the powerful effects serving others can bring.

“We can truly change lives by giving our all,” says dental assistant April S.

Read on below for examples of dental assistants going the extra mile to make a difference — both within and outside of the walls of the dental office.

1. Giving Patients Back Their Smiles

Each day, dental assistants strive to make a difference among patients visiting the dental office. And some patient treatment outcomes are especially successful and emotional. Guinevere J., CPFDA, CRFDA, reflects on one such rewarding experience from earlier this year:

“A longtime, loyal patient of our office recently underwent treatment for breast cancer. Throughout her experience, she was always smiling, vibrant and in good spirits. Every time I saw her, I made a point to tell her how wonderful she looked, and how unique her knit hats were.

“After completing cancer treatment, this patient came into the dental office and received the most beautiful implant restoration,” Guinevere continues. “After her appointment, she came to find me so we could share an embrace.

“With tears in her eyes, she thanked me repeatedly for being her dental assistant. I was so happy for her that I cried, too.”

Perhaps dental assistant Debbie P. best summarizes how it feels to make a big difference in a patient’s life: “I find it very rewarding to give back a smile.”

2. Caring for Patients in the Community

In addition to helping patients in the dental office, some dental assistants extend a helping hand in the community through dental-outreach efforts. For example, when she’s not working as a dental assistant, Iris G., CDA, spends her spare time volunteering at free dental clinics, as well as with a mobile dental bus and the Give Kids A Smile program.

As a fluent Spanish speaker, Iris also volunteers in Hispanic communities where she can serve as a translator for dental patients: “I help to provide educational information about proper oral-health hygiene and its benefits,” she says.

Dental assisting educator Vicki B., CDA, believes in the importance of community dental outreach; so much so, she regularly connects her students to volunteer opportunities. Vicki’s students participate in Mission of Mercy events that provide dental treatment and dentures to those who don’t have access to these services.

“It’s amazing to see my students be a part of the community, the compassion that they have at such an early stage in their careers, and that they see the need in their community for oral healthcare,” says Vicki, herself an active volunteer locally and globally. “When they talk about it back in the classroom, they cry. It’s so heartfelt.”

3. Helping the Homeless and Others in Need

For some especially motivated dental assistants, serving populations in need goes beyond participating in community dental care events. These assistants are dedicated to contributing their time to other heartfelt causes such as addressing homelessness.

For instance, Elisha R. has volunteered since 2013 with organizations like Project Homeless Connect. “Having the opportunity to help vulnerable populations in our community, who are so often overlooked, is one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had,” he says.

Michelle C., CDA, organizes food drives and delivers what’s collected. “My goal is to one day open a shelter for those who are struggling,” she says.

And Jodie S., CDA, volunteers with a nonprofit addressing homelessness, and also works at a dental clinic treating low-income patients one day a week. “Working at this office has been an eye-opener. It has been challenging and heartbreaking at times,” Jodie shares. “My experience certainly has made me grateful for the many blessings in my life.”


Do you know a dental assistant who goes above and beyond to make a difference? We’d love to hear about their efforts. Contact us.