People like to think in threes—the Three Little Pigs, the Three Amigos, the Jonas Brothers. When we talk about work, we say we gave our blood, sweat, and tears. When we think of ourselves, we talk about our mind, body, and spirit. When we think of real estate, we say location, location, location. Well, maybe that one isn’t a great example. But I needed to list three.
It also has felt a lot like three strikes and you’re out with everything happening these days. But it’s quite the opposite if you’re looking into a career as a dental assistant (DA). Keeping with the theme of threes, here are three reasons why it’s a great time to become a dental assistant.
Serving Our Communities
One of my favorite quotes is from the legendary Dr. Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Now more than ever, we need individuals to serve others and, through that, serve their communities.
Every single day, dental assistants get to be the helpful, trusted, caring individuals that patients need. Dental assistants are the ones providing comfort when patients are scared, answers when patients are confused, and a listening ear and a smiling face that connects people. Dental assistants are the heart of dental offices in communities throughout the country.
Safety & Technology
Dentistry has always been a safe profession, and that safety doesn’t happen by accident. I mean that from a couple of different perspectives.
The first is that there’s always going to be a need for dental assistants. People will always have teeth and will always need someone to help them take care of them. So, there is the safety of job security.
Second, as frontline healthcare professionals, dental assistants are experts in safety guidelines and personal protection equipment. The dental practices supported by Pacific Dental Services, as well as dental practices throughout the country, have always taken precautions to ensure the safety of their patients.
Now, in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, additional safety measures have been adopted to protect patients from the virus. In fact, dentists in the United States launched a new #DentalSAFETY campaign to highlight the safety of dental practices and all the #DENTALHEROES out there.
Now this is one of the cool areas where both safety and technology overlap. When DAs go into dental assisting, they typically don’t expect to be a CAD designer. But that’s exactly what’s possible when working with CEREC technologies.
PDS-supported dental practices offer their patients modern dentistry with proven technology with the use of Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics (CEREC) computer-aided design (CAD) and onsite computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) dentistry.
CEREC CAD/CAM is less invasive, and it allows dentists to provide permanent, natural looking crowns for their patients in less than two hours. With this convenient technology, patients are able to reduce the time they’re in the dental practice and away from family and work.
Dental assistants also have the opportunity to work with cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), and you may as well be time traveling, this technology is so cool. CBCT is an innovative imaging technology that provides clinicians with 3-D views of their patients’ dental anatomy.
This monumental achievement allows dentists to use 3-D imaging with a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool and enables patients to be more engaged and see what their dentists see, which is a more comprehensive view of their teeth and oral and maxillofacial region. The extraordinary visibility of 3-D imaging will lead to a greater understanding of dental conditions and treatment plan options.
CEREC and CBCT are just the tip of the iceberg with all the latest, proven technology being introduced into dentistry. Who knows what’s next, but dental assistants are on the front lines to be able to learn all of it.
Another one of my last favorite quotes comes from legendary former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: “When you’re through learning, you are through.”
Constant learning and adaptability is so important for any personal journey. I’ve met so many incredible dental assistants in my 16 years of dentistry. Once a dental assistant, always a dental assistant.
I’ve met dental assistants who have become lead dental assistants. Dental assistants who have added extended functions. Dental assistants who have become hygienists. Dental assistants who have gone into patient relations, training, and education. Dental assistants who have opened offices across the country and become CAD/CAM trainers.
My current boss, who serves as the chief administrative officer and senior vice president of people, started as a dental assistant. One dental assistant even serves on the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Dental Board of California.
The opportunities are endless when industriousness (hard work) and enthusiasm are present. If you really love your job and invest in yourself, the sky’s the limit.
If all those things sound pretty good to you, here is the icing on the cake: The PDS Foundation has set up the Carolyn Ghazal Dental Assistant Scholarship to help overcome the financial barriers that may challenge you from your future career. To learn more, visit pdsfoundation.org/programs/scholarships/.
Apply today and join the dental industry. We’re excited to help you on your journey to success.
Mr. Guerin started his relationship with Pacific Dental Services as a vendor partner in 2004 and officially joined the team in July of 2009. He currently is the director of the PDS Foundation and of corporate social responsibility. He has led 20 international dental service trips visiting Ethiopia, Fiji, and Guatemala, built 14 playgrounds with KaBoom, and helped provide clean drinking water to more than 175,000 people with Charity Water. Since joining PDS, he has inspired PDS team members to provide more than $65 million in donated dental services and spend 250,000 volunteer hours serving others, but his real passion is making an impact on every life he meets.