Dental assistants are passionate about their careers, and they take their work seriously. As with any job, it can be hard to switch into “off” mode once your workday is done.
After you go home, the dental office might be out of sight — but dental assisting may never be far from your mind.
These are some of the dental assisting habits you’ve told us you continue to do, even outside the office.
You pass utensils like instruments
For some dental assistants, it’s typical to keep going through the motions of assisting — even long after the last patient of the day has gone home. This sometimes extends to dinnertime activities, for example. “When I’m at home and someone asks me to hand them something, I ‘pass’ it like I would an instrument,” says Virginia.
“This is so true and funny,” adds Brenda. “This happened once when my husband asked me to hand him a fork.”
You answer your phone like it’s the office phone
Professionalism is paramount to dental assistants. And after a long day or workweek, it can be hard to reset. Have you ever answered your personal phone as if you were still at the office, and started talking on script? Sandi has!
“I answer the home phone sometimes by saying, ‘Dr. Jones’s office. This is Sandi. How can I help you?’” she says.
You flush sink and water fountain lines
Dental office protocol is so ingrained in the minds of dental assistants, it can be tough to remember that the same processes don’t necessarily need to be followed out of the office. Some assistants have told us that they’ve extended the habit of flushing water lines to playground water fountains or their kitchen sink.
Joenell can relate. “If I need to use tap water for cooking or any other kind of consumption, I let the faucet run, as if I was flushing the lines, a bit before using,” she says.
You notice everyone’s teeth
Dental assistants are in the business of teeth, so it’s no wonder that many say teeth are the first thing they notice about a person. That’s because many dental assistants say they find teeth fascinating!
Tammy says, “You know you’re a dental assistant when you are constantly checking out your family members’ teeth — and sometimes even the dog’s!”