Many dental assistants work for great dentists who recognize and value them. After all, dental assistants juggle many tasks throughout the day to keep the office running smoothly. But some dental assistants would like to see their employers make a few changes. Here are a few improvements dental assistants wish they could make at their dental offices.
Pay Me What I’m Worth
Salary is always a hot topic with dental assistants. Some feel they don’t get paid as well as other dental professionals. Given their broad clinical knowledge, administrative skills and rapport with the patients, assistants say they should earn higher salaries.
“I’m a DANB CDA certificant and state RDA. I work for an orthodontist. I don’t make nearly as much as I should for the work that I do. I do love it though.” — Mary R., CDA
Invest in My Professional Development
As dentistry becomes more complex, professional development is vital. So continuing education is crucial to stay on top of the latest in dentistry. Yet some dentists may not realize the importance of investing in their dental assistants and supporting continuing education.
“Dentistry is asking dental assistants to do more clinical things. In order to do those things, an assistant needs to take classes or go back to school to be able to perform those functions. So, education is important.” — Mary H., CDA
Let Me Have a Break
Many dental assistants work long days in a fast-paced environment without taking a break. In addition, the repetitive nature of their jobs puts them at risk for body strain and injury. To stay healthy, assistants say they should be allowed to take a few breaks throughout the day. They need time to eat lunch, stretch or take a quick walk.
“Having a strong work ethic doesn’t mean you work long hours without a break. It means working efficiently. Long hours will eventually become old. Please do yourself a favor and be strong! Ask for breaks. Dental assistants are people, too!” — Paolo F.
Treat Me with Respect
The best dental assistants know how to handle a stressful day. They are the epitome of grace under pressure. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always apply to their dentists and colleagues. Some dental assistants told us that their dentists have yelled or lashed out at them when the day gets hectic.
“When I was young in my career, I put up with it. Later in my career, I pulled the dentist aside and told him, ‘If you disrespect me in front of the patient, I will walk out and never come back!’” — Leslie C.
Say Thank You
Dental assistants are the unsung heroes of the office. They do more than most people realize. Dental assistants typically are in charge of a variety of tasks. They often cover the both the front and back office — all while making patients feel comfortable and at ease. A simple “thank you” from the doctor goes a long way in recognizing their hard work.
“There would be no dental practice without us! Appreciate us!”—Carol B.
What do you wish your dentist understood about the realities of your job?