Dental assistants are passionate about their profession. From caring for patients to anticipating the needs of the dentist, dental assisting is a challenging and rewarding field that requires a unique skill set. But what if they hadn’t pursued dental assisting? What careers would have been a good fit for their skills and interests? We caught up with several assistants to find out what fields they would have pursued if they weren’t dental assistants.


The Draw of Dentistry

Many dental assistants would have followed careers in the dental field even if they had not become assistants. They enjoy helping patients improve their smiles and teaching them about proper oral healthcare. Some dental assistants are still considering careers as dental hygienists and dentists.

“I love the thought of patients smiling again when it has been years or even a lifetime since they last felt comfortable to do so. If I was not an assistant, I would have most definitely been a dentist.” — Jennifer W., CDA


Moving on to Medical

No surprise here. Many dental assistants would have worked in the medical field if they hadn’t become assistants. Like dental assisting, the medical profession offers them the opportunity to interact with patients and put their clinical skills to work. Most dental assistants say they would have pursued nursing. Others would have become doctors, paramedics, phlebotomists, massage therapists and physical therapists.

“I love my job as a dental assistant. But if I had chosen another career path, I would have become a midwife/doula. I enjoy patient care and find the birthing process beautiful.” — Melanie H., CDA


Creative Forces at Work

Creativity abounds in dental assistants. They enjoy dental assisting because it is a mix of art and science. If they weren’t dental assistants, they would have channeled their creative juices into artistic occupations: musician, artist, writer, interior designer, chef, baker and fashion stylist.

“I would have pursued my love of photography more and used it towards advertising. I was the yearbook editor and photographer throughout high school, and I loved playing with layouts and getting the best shot.” — Bryanne P.


Beauty Gurus

Dental assistants like helping patients improve their appearance through their smiles. That’s why many of them would have pursued careers that help people look and feel beautiful. Those occupations include becoming makeup artists, skincare specialists and hairdressers.

“I love dental assisting, but I would love being an esthetician. Face cleanliness has always fascinated me. I like making people feel pretty and beautiful in their own skin.” — Amelia C.


The Call of the Classroom

Many dental assistants say their favorite part of the job is patient education. From proper brushing techniques to post-treatment follow-up, assistants enjoy teaching patients about how to care for their teeth. If they weren’t assistants, many would have taken up teaching.

“I contemplated teaching as a career prior to becoming a dental assistant. I have since merged the two. For the last seven years, I have been in vocational college teaching dental assisting. It’s a wonderful thing when a passion and a career can become one.” — Yvette M.


What career path would you have taken if you weren’t a dental assistant? Tell us in the comments below.