It’s Dental Assistants Recognition Week, held the first full week in March each year. Celebrated by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA), the Canadian Dental Assistants’ Association, the ADA, and the Canadian Dental Association, the event recognizes the talents and efforts of these members of the dental team. The 2018 theme, “Advancing the profession through collaboration and leadership,” acknowledges the growing importance of dentistry’s role in healthcare and the responsibilities of dental assistants.
Certified and registered dental assistants are educated in infection control protocols, exposing and processing radiographs, providing patient education, assisting the dentist during procedures, independently providing intraoral treatment, performing laboratory tasks, and more. According to the ADAA, dental assistants include clinical personnel and administrators such as receptionists, office managers, and practice managers. They also include those behind the scenes in sales, insurance, and education.
US News & World Report ranked dental assistant ninety-eighth in its 2018 list of the 100 Best Jobs as well as twenty-fifth in its list of the Best Health Care Support Jobs, with a $36,940 median salary, a 3.6% unemployment rate, and 64,600 anticipated openings by 2026. That equals 19.5% employment growth, which outpaces the average expected increase for all professions. Also, US News & World Report cited the profession’s positive work-life balance in its ranking.
Dental assistants who want to use the celebration to promote their efforts can take advantage of online resources available from the ADAA. These materials include social media strategies, copy and images to use in advertising, press release advice, scripts for radio and television advertising and appearances, and templates for local government proclamations. Merchandise including t-shirts, pens, tote bags, thermal cups, and other promotional gear is available as well.