Think of all the work that goes into chairside dental assisting — organizing instruments, calming an anxious patient, and even knowing what the dentist needs before he/she knows it.

Now imagine dropping from a helicopter into a remote part of Alaska, quickly setting up a temporary clinic, and working chairside for two weeks with a dentist you have never even met before.

As a member of the U.S. Navy Reserve, that’s the kind of work that Kate Noble does. Kate has spent nearly 20 years traveling the world providing dental assisting services, often in areas that wouldn’t otherwise have access.

We asked Kate to tell us about her most recent military service trip.


I always say, “Send me somewhere challenging!”

My work as a dental assistant in the military has taken me around the world, to places like Alaska, the Marianas Islands, and even Mozambique, as well as to places closer to home. Most recently, I worked on a team providing dental care to the people of Norwich, New York in Chenango County. The experience was happily exhausting. In the end, we provided $1.7 million of services at no charge in less than 14 days.


I often hear people say, “I had no idea this is what the military does.”

These projects don’t just have an impact on the community’s health — they also impact the community’s ideas about what the military actually does. The military is not just about fighting wars — we support our communities and families while we get the training we need and work together as a team.


I look around and think, “Wow. I can make a difference.”

Volunteering plays an important role in my career as a dental assistant and as an active military member. In addition to my military work, I am also on the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB)’s Board of Directors, which has been an amazing experience. I work with people that never fail to motivate me and encourage me to be the best I can be, no matter what.


Kate Noble, CDA, CRFDA, RDA, HMC (FMF), United States Navy lives in Vienna, Maine, and works at Evergreen Dental Associates in Augusta, Maine. She has been a dental assistant for 19 years and earned her national Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) certification and Registered Dental Assistant credential in New Jersey before moving to Maine in 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Natural Health. She has received numerous awards for her extensive service, such as the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, an honor that recognizes military members whose volunteer work in their communities goes above and beyond the required duties of the U.S. Armed Forces. She also recently received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.


Dental assistants often volunteer within their communities. How do you use your dental assisting skills to give back? Tell us in the comments!