These past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged so many in their work and personal lives, including dental assistants. We at DANB and the DALE Foundation wish for all dental assistants to know that we see you, and we appreciate you:

To dental assistants whose offices temporarily closed during this time, we see you. We acknowledge the financial challenges you and your families may have faced as you adjusted your budget to accommodate a reduced-hours schedule, furlough or layoff. We also acknowledge that for most of you, and especially those with children not in school in the spring, being out of work likely impacted your daily routines. Thank you to you and your families for staying home to keep the community safe.

Also, best of luck as you and your team begin returning to work amid a “new normal” for the dental office — we’re confident that together, you’ll thrive as compassionate patient caregivers (who may also be sought out as infection control experts).

To dental assistants who remained working to help provide emergency dental care, we see you. We applaud the courage you demonstrated as you helped to care for patients under extraordinary circumstances in a variety of work settings, including the dental office. In some cases, we heard assistants were interacting at a distance with patients in parking lots, to help screen them and in some cases deliver to them dentist-prescribed medication. These are examples of what it means to truly go above and beyond to provide exceptional patient care.

To dental assistant educators and students who transitioned to at-home learning, we see you. We know that it can be a challenge to teach and learn outside of the classroom, in an environment that perhaps can be distracting. We commend all those who turned to online tools, including DALE Foundation products, to stay connected and avoid interruptions in education. Teachers’ dedication to their students, and students’ dedication to their studies and pursuit of a successful future in dental assisting, is admirable.

To dental assistants who continue to pursue and maintain DANB certification despite hardships, we see you. We thank you for allowing us to continue supporting your careers, especially during this unique time of uncertainty. Demonstrating your dental assisting knowledge and skill sets — especially in the critical area of dental infection prevention and control — to your employer, teammates and patients has perhaps never been more important. We applaud those who continue to cherish certification and what it represents: dental assisting excellence.

To those who have purchased e-learning materials through the DALE Foundation, we see you. We recognize your commitment to growing your knowledge base from home by using the DALE Foundation’s online review courses, practice tests, and other e-learning resources — to be fully prepared to return to work in the dental office, to continue teaching or studying dental assisting, or to take DANB exams.

Thank you, all, for rising to the occasion.
Dental assistants, your dedication to your career and those whom you work with and help to treat remained unshakable — even during these uncertain times.

There’s a reason we so often hear, and say, that dental assistants are valuable members of the dental team: because you never hesitate to stay positive in times of stress and do what is needed for your practice and patients. And especially lately, we’ve certainly seen you rise to the occasion.

From DANB and the DALE Foundation, thank you.