4 things that can make dental assistants smile

smiling face in coffee foam with coffee cup and coffee beans

Dental assistants often express they’re thankful to be working in the dental assisting profession. But there are definitely moments in the dental office when assistants feel more grateful — because they truly have a reason to smile.

Here, we highlight 4 things that always brighten a dental assistant’s day.

1. Hearing patient appreciation

Often, when dental assistants are asked about the rewards of their role, being able to provide patient care is the first thing they talk about. It’s clear that dental assistants love helping patients! For many assistants, making a difference in people’s lives — by helping to improve their smiles, confidence, and overall oral health — is what brought them to dental assisting in the first place. And it’s what motivates them to stay in the profession.

Dental assistants agree there’s no greater moment than when they hear “thank you” from a grateful patient. Says Desera, CDA: “The one and only thing that makes me truly happy is helping my patients!”

2. Earning DANB certification

Dental assistants are extremely dedicated to their careers, with many taking that extra step to complete continuing education and earn DANB certification. Achieving this goal can be the result of putting much time and heart into exam preparation. That special moment when certificants realize they’ve passed DANB exams can be an emotional one, with cause for celebration!

“It was really exciting to find out I passed my DANB exams!” shares Griselda, CDA. “Honestly, I couldn’t believe it! Earning certification means a lot. It really makes a big difference in my career and has given me confidence, plus my team and my patients confidence, that I’m performing at the top of my game.”

3. Earning fair compensation

For dental assistants, earning a good salary also can impact their overall career satisfaction. In fact, those who say they feel most valued as a dental assisting professional, and most loyal to their employer, report feeling paid fairly for their effort and contributions. This is especially true for dental assistants who have gone the extra mile to complete additional education or earn credentials such as DANB certification. Often, dental assistants report receiving raises because they became certified — all the more reason to smile!

For example, Amanda, CDA, was happy when her employer recognized her DANB certification accomplishment with a raise: “My employer paid for me to take the DANB exams and gave me a $2 raise once I passed them!” she elaborates. “She saw the value of dental assistants going above and beyond to earn credentials. I appreciate dentists who see and appreciate my value!”

4. Feeling valued by the team

For dental assistants, feeling like they’re part of a team is another huge factor in whether they have a great day in the dental office, and an overall positive work experience. Working alongside supportive colleagues can be so uplifting, with everyone cheering one another on and ultimately succeeding together as a team. Some dental assistants even consider their teammates to be like family!

“I am so thankful for my fellow dental assistants,” shares Leidy. “I miss them when we’re not working in the office together!”

Agrees Michelle: “My practice feels more like a family than just a workplace. I love it!”