4 reasons dental assistants love their orthodontics career

Close up of colorful orthodontic bands on mouth model

There are many specialties for dental assistants to choose in their career, and orthodontics is one of the most popular. During National Orthodontic Health Month and beyond, it's important to celebrate dental assistants are their many contributions to the orthodontic field.

Carol, COA, has enjoyed more than 30 years in orthodontics. She believes assistants working in this specialty should be recognized all year long for the important, exciting and rewarding work they do.

“Orthodontics has been very good to me,” Carol acknowledges. “A toast to my 32nd year of doing what I love to do! This storybook career will not be ending anytime soon.”

There are many reasons that dental assistants say they love working with orthodontic patients. Below, we list four big ones.

1. Improving smiles

First and foremost, dental assistants say helping to evolve orthodontic patients’ smiles is a life-changing experience for all involved.

Carol notes that she and her amazing team members have seen some incredible transformations over the years. “I’ve had the privilege of watching how a person blossoms as their smile improves,” she elaborates. “Much like a monarch butterfly, patients’ smiles can become something beautiful!”

April, CDA, agrees: “I work in an orthodontic office, and I enjoy the day the patients’ braces come off and you see their excitement.”

2. Building confidence

Assistants positively impact not only orthodontic patients’ smiles, but also their overall self-image and outlook. “I enjoy restoring people’s confidence in their self by assisting in giving them their smile back,” shares Gena, CDA, who has worked with orthodontic patients. “I’ve worked with a dentist who gave a patient a full-mouth reconstruction for free! We all cried in the end. Such cases always put a smile on my face and melt my heart.”

April adds there’s so much to love about working with orthodontic patients, including that “we build people’s personal spirits.”

3. Elevating overall oral health

Plus, dental assistants working with orthodontic patients have an important role in elevating overall oral health. Sometimes these patients are young — so it’s even more critical that, through delivering exceptional patient care, their assistant motivates them to pursue lifelong oral health. This is a huge responsibility that dental assistants don’t take lightly.

“I love working with my orthodontic patients, especially the general younger age group,” shares Angelena, COA, who has enjoyed making a difference in this specialty for a decade. “I always go to work with a smile on my face.”

Tiffany, CDA, COA, agrees one of the best parts of her role is educating patients: “I love finishing orthodontic cases knowing not only do the patients have a great smile, but we’ve also had a positive impact on their overall health.”

4. Honing orthodontic expertise

DANB recognizes assistants’ important role in helping orthodontic patients — and offers resources to help them advance their careers. Earning DANB’s Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) certification can help orthodontic assistants stand out in their profession, elevate and demonstrate their knowledge base, and make greater contributions to their practice and patients.

Susan, COA, agrees it’s essential for all dental assistants to take their career to the next level and demonstrate their professional commitment. This is especially true for those who work in orthodontics, she believes.

In fact, Susan has long been dedicated to forging a career in the orthodontics specialty, and her hard work has paid off. Susan recently was named an outstanding dental team member at a national conference!

“It’s nice to get compliments about my effort,” Susan recognizes. “I have worked in orthodontics for more than 30 years and soon will be a COA certificant of 20 years. All this has brought me much satisfaction and allowed me to truly, fully love my career.”

Susan concludes: “My advice is to never stop learning or pushing yourself to achieve more!”

Looking to become COA certified? DANB and the DALE Foundation, DANB’s official affiliate, offer resources to help you prepare and succeed.

DANB’s COA exam outlines and exam reference materials can help you create a study plan. And the DALE Foundation has the following options:

To learn more, see the DALE Foundation product catalog.