We know that each day in dental assisting brings an opportunity to learn something new — from doctors, patients and other dental assistants. And dental assistants know that each experience, procedure and patient interaction is unique. But there are some things that dental assistants say they must do, no matter what.


1. Show Compassion to the Patient

While most dental assistants enjoy being in the dental office, for some patients, going to the dentist isn’t a favorite activity. Patients might be nervous, fearful or embarrassed about their teeth. Each day, dental assistants must be empathetic, compassionate and nonjudgmental to ensure the patient’s appointment goes as smoothly as possible and they are more likely to return.

“We must be compassionate and nonjudgmental. Patients often come in nervous about their procedures, and they depend on us to help ease their fears. This is especially true of patients who come to us after not seeing a dentist for a long period of time. Not only are they nervous, but they are often embarrassed. As dental professionals, we treat the whole patient — and not just clinically, but emotionally as well.” — Laura R.


2. Work as a Team

Dental assistants know how important it is to have compassion not only for patients, but also for each other. They encourage one another, respect one another, laugh together whenever possible and ultimately work together toward the greater good.

“Dental assisting is a team effort! I love my fellow assistants! We have definitely become a family, and we look out for one another and help one another out.” — Jessica P.


3. Stay One Step Ahead

Because dental offices can be busy places, dental assistants must always be prepared. They must be efficient and able to anticipate what’s coming next. Many dental assistants take pride in knowing what the doctor needs and being ready at a moment’s notice.

“I work with a terrific doctor. After more than 12 years, we are in sync. I know what he’ll need before he asks. Patients notice how calmly we work together. Many compliment us.” — Koren W.


4. Continuously Learn

Many dental assistants believe it is essential to get involved in their professional community. Many also continuously seek out new learning opportunities. Dental assisting is a dynamic profession, so it is important to stay on top of the latest developments. That’s why dental assistants who hold DANB certification are required to earn at least 12 CDE credits each year.

“I have enjoyed my 36 years-plus in the dental field primarily because I have never been bored. Keeping up with continuing education, being involved with my local chapter of the American Dental Assistants Association and attending the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting with dental friends has kept me motivated and content with my career.” — Cindy G.


5. Adapt to Change

In dentistry, change is inevitable — and exciting! As technology continues to evolve and new products enter the marketplace, it’s important for dental assistants to embrace opportunities to learn about what’s new and cutting-edge in dentistry and to be able to adapt and adjust.

“I would love to know how dental assisting will change in the next 10 years. The future is exciting!” — Jennifer W.

What else would you add to this list?