Dental assistants are all too familiar with how stressful dental offices can get. From figuring out scheduling conflicts to preparing operatories in a timely manner, dental assistants work in demanding, fast-paced environments that can take a toll on them. But there are ways to ease the stress and create a positive place to work.



Many dental assistants stress the importance of cross-training the staff. It allows members of the team to step in and cover for employees who are sick or on vacation. That keeps the office running smoothly. But more importantly, it helps everyone appreciate the essential roles their colleagues play at the practice.

“Cross-training is really an important way for everybody to understand each other. It not only helps you understand each other’s jobs and perspectives, but you can help someone when they’re overwhelmed.” — Laura R., CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA


Regular Communication

Keeping the lines of communication open is key to a well-run, harmonious dental practice. Dental assistants enjoy kicking the day off with the morning huddle. By discussing the day’s schedule and patients, the morning huddles create a road map for a successful day. Dental assistants also value regular staff meetings. They offer staff the opportunity to get involved in improving the practice’s profitability, morale and patient care. Such collaboration creates a cohesive, high-performing team.

“Open, honest communication keeps everyone on the same page and establishes trust with the staff.” — Claudia C.


Celebrate Each Other

Because dental assistants often work long hours, building relationships with their colleagues is important to making the workplace enjoyable. They appreciate it when their employers coordinate activities that allow staff to get to know each other outside the office. Some dentists have surprised their staff with impromptu lunches and pedicures. Others take their staff on outings like bowling or miniature golf. Many dentists throw annual parties that celebrate their teams’ successes. These types of group activities help create camaraderie and strong, trusting relationships among the team members.

“Just remember that you spend more time with your co-workers than your family some days! Laughter and kindness go a lot further than anything else!” — Sherry W.


How do you go about creating a positive place to work?