It’s finally here: Dental Assistants Recognition Week (DARW)! This week, we encourage each and every one of you to celebrate yourselves and all your dental assisting achievements.

There’s so much for dental assistants to celebrate. We often hear that you’re the backbone of the dental office, and it’s no wonder this is the case. You’re organized and uplifting. You’re also dedicated to your patients, your team and your profession. In short, you’re amazing, and you should treat yourself! Here are some ideas to help you make the most of DARW.

1. Celebrate Your Teammates

DARW is a great time to show your team spirit. Some dental assistants celebrate DARW by planning in-office lunches or team outings after work. Others take the time to tell their teammates they’re the best! Expressing gratitude is easy: Some dental assistants draft and tag their fellow teammates in social media posts (selfie time!), bring baked goods or candy into the office to share, distribute small thank-you cards to all their team members, or exchange gift cards. How will you celebrate your teammates?

“I plan on purchasing gifts and making breakfast for the dental assistants I supervise.” — Blair R., CDA

2. Enjoy Some ‘Me’ Time

Dental assistants have many hobbies and talents. DARW is a great time to carve out time for some of your passions other than dental assisting. You’ve told us that you unwind in a variety of ways — by spending time with friends, family members and pets; with exercise or some spa time; or by curling up with a page-turner or bingeworthy TV show. Or, maybe you enjoy cooking and plan to unwind by preparing — and then of course eating — the perfect meal. Whatever the activity, we hope you make the most of your downtime this DARW!

“I plan on treating myself to some tacos!” — Allison K., CDA

3. Thank Your Mentors

Dental assistants often tell us they’ve had some extraordinary mentors. They credit these outstanding role models with helping to shape their careers. Do you recall your favorite mentor — a dentist who has taught you so much, or a dental assisting instructor who has encouraged you? This DARW, we encourage you to send this person a brief email or small thank-you card, letting them know they made a difference in your life.

“DARW is a great designated time for our program to recognize all the dental assistants who mentor our students during clinical rotations.” — Trudy C., CDA

4. Remember Your ‘Why’

As much as dental assistants love what they do, we understand that sometimes workdays can start to feel like a grind. This is true of any profession. If you’ve been feeling this way, DARW is the perfect time to reflect on why you became a dental assistant.

We encourage you to think back to when your dental assisting career was only just an idea and an aspiration. Ask yourself: Why did you choose the dental assisting profession? To help patients? Because you were interested in the dental field? To start and grow a career that you could be proud of? Probably all the above, and more! Take notice of how far you’ve come and where you’d like your career path to take you.

This week, you may even want to consider renewing your passion for the profession by exploring how to become DANB certified or expanding your knowledge with the DALE Foundation’s courses and study aids. In fact, in honor of DARW, the DALE Foundation has a special offer for dental assistants the entire month of March!

“DARW is a time to reflect on the bigger picture and remember why I chose this profession.” — Nicole C., CDA

Whichever stage of your career you’re in, your professional journey should be celebrated — this week and every week. After all, you’re a dental assistant!

How did you treat yourself during DARW?