With Valentine’s Day on the calendar this month, February can be a lovely time to consider what is important in our lives.

Dental assistants often say they adore their careers and all the rewards that come with it. Many have heartwarming stories to share. These involve times when they’ve helped patients overcome challenges, or made strides in their own lives and careers. Below are some memorable moments dental assistants have shared with us. We like hearing stories such as these!

Making a Difference in Patients’ Lives

We often hear dental assistants say that helping patients is one of their favorite things about dental assisting. Each day, assistants look forward to seeing smiles from patients who appreciate the work they do. Dental assistants routinely go above and beyond to deliver the best patient care. For most patients, this extra effort doesn’t go unnoticed.

Consider the story from Janet L., CDA, who took steps to help a patient feel more comfortable during an office visit. “This patient would never really talk much to me,” Janet recalls. “Once, when she came in for treatment, I decided this was a great second chance to have a chat. As I went to the front reception area, I greeted her with a special orchid. She said, ‘Are those real?’ I said, ‘Yes, they are – and I would love you to have them.’ Then we had a lovely conversation about the orchid. That was so rewarding for me, and I hope for her as well.”

Ann W. shares a similar story of a time a patient was so pleased with her treatment results, everyone became emotional.

“My best day was when a female patient started to cry after receiving upper dentures. She had had extractions due to decay and had never smiled before because she had been embarrassed about how her teeth looked,” Ann remembers. “She said, ‘This is the first time in a long time that I have smiled.’ Then she gave me and the dentist the biggest hug. It made me cry, too.”

Helping Dental Assisting Students Thrive

Dental assistant educators often tell us about how rewarding it can be to help shape the careers of up-and-coming dental assistants. Many speak of those “light bulb” moments – when students begin to understand the material and become excited to put their newfound knowledge into practice.

Denise R., CDA, COA, an award-winning dental assistant educator, enjoys equipping her students with the tools and motivation they need to succeed in the classroom. Beyond this, Denise recalls once giving a student who lacked permanent housing more than just knowledge and confidence. She also put food in her locker. Denise eventually met this student’s grateful and teary-eyed father at graduation. For this student, graduation was the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of hard work and of overcoming adversity.

“It’s just really rewarding to know you’re not only impacting the life of a student, but the family’s as well,” Denise says.

Celebrating DANB Certification

For many dental assistants who choose to pursue DANB certification, earning DANB certification can be the result of putting much time and heart into exam preparation. That special moment when certificants realize they’ve passed can be an emotional one, with cause for celebration with loved ones and supporters.

Michelle D., CDA, remembers learning she had officially become a DANB certificant. “Decades ago, I was waiting to hear if I passed my certification exams,” she recalls.

After days of checking the mailbox with no success, Michelle found a surprise waiting for her at her family’s dinner table. Everyone was ready and hoping to see the positive results inside. “The envelope was sitting under my plate,” she shares. “My family members were all just sitting there, waiting for me and my reaction. I don’t think I let them down – that was my most memorable day as a dental assistant.”

Do you have a memorable dental assisting story to share? Contact us!