Dental assistants are responsible for many tasks — but there’s a lot more to being a dental assistant than what we see chairside. We asked dental assistants what lesser-known, behind-the-scenes things help make them the hard-working professionals they are!

Read the stories below and tell us your behind-the-scenes secrets in the comments!


I never stop learning.

Over and over, we hear dental assistants talk about how important professional development is to their careers — from when they’re first starting out in the field, and even decades later. Patients may not realize that the seasoned dental assistant they’ve been seeing for years might be taking a class to learn a new skill or working toward an additional certification, regardless of how long they’ve been working.

“I earned CDA certification after 25+ years of assisting, then earned CPFDA certification and have worked as an assistant for 33 years for the same dental practice — I’ll never stop learning!”

— Chris P., CDA, CPFDA


Patient education is a big part of my job.

Dental assistants know the value of oral health, and many say that educating patients is one of the most important parts of the job.

“It’s crucial to educate others about the importance of oral health. With every opportunity I get to educate others, I strive to make it as informative, motivational and fun as I can.”

Katrina K., CDA


I’m always adapting.

It may seem like business as usual to a patient, but dental assistants are constantly adapting throughout the day. Keeping things organized, calm, cool and collected is part of the job, and dental assistants handle it all with ease.

I work for a nonprofit organization that provides free dental care to uninsured children in our community, so I work with a different volunteer doctor every day. It can be very challenging to know every doctor’s needs, but I have been complimented on many occasions for my ability to work well with the doctors. And I’ve even been offered a few jobs because the doctor was impressed with my abilities!”

— Amanda J., CDA


I am juggling more than meets the eye.

There’s always a new challenge for dental assistants — both in and out of the office. We are constantly amazed by how much dental assistants can handle at one time!

 “I work full time, go to school full time, and I’m a single mom … all for the love of dentistry!”

— Gloria D.


What challenges are you proud of? Let us know in the comments!