A day in the life of a dental assistant isn’t without its unique, amusing and sometimes even laugh-out-loud moments. When these things happen, it definitely can call to mind — you’re a dental assistant!
Below, we highlight some telltale signs you might be a dental assistant.
1. You get what patients are saying.
Providing patient care is a dental assistant’s main role, and this involves talking with patients every step of the way through their appointment. But this can get tricky sometimes. While patients are in the dental chair, they occasionally are unable to talk because a procedure is underway. Luckily, dental assistants seem to have a superpower for perceiving what patients need.
Says Emily: “When people trying to talk with stuff in their mouth, typically, no one can understand them — except me! I usually get every word!”
2. You walk a few miles a day without even trying.
Dental assistants are busy professionals — with many patient appointments to keep track of, and treatment rooms to set up and break down, among other tasks and duties. In fact, we often hear that assistants are always on their feet, making their way through a fast-paced day. Some might even say that working as a dental assistant is the ultimate exercise routine!
“I easily get in my 10,000 steps a day — and only around three operatories,” admits Kalie.
3. You are a pro at putting on gloves and other PPE.
These days, dental assistants are likely experts when it comes to putting on and taking off personal protective equipment (PPE). Even with so much accrued PPE experience, especially during the pandemic, there can be some slightly challenging moments that come along with this process.
“Putting on gloves with even the tiniest amount of water on your hands should be an Olympic sport,” believes Alexis.
4. You sometimes wish you had your dental tools outside of the office.
Dental assistants often agree: There are just some habits that are hard to break after the workday is done. Sometimes, a dental assistant might even find themselves wishing they had dental tools handy for those personal-life mishaps that pop up.
Ashley can relate: “I once spilled in my car cupholder and wished I had a suction to get all the liquid out!”
5. You hardly ever get queasy.
Dental assistants often are chairside for what some might deem stomach-churning moments during a dental procedure. But still, it’s all in day’s work for a dental assistant. And during these types of appointments, it’s not uncommon for assistants to be wondering what they’ll have for their upcoming meal.
As Belinda says, “I can look at the bloodiest extractions and still be thinking about what’s for lunch.”
6. You notice teeth in a way that others might not.
It’s true: Dental assistants spend A LOT of time looking at people’s teeth, a result of always being in the dental office! But this habit doesn’t stop after work. Even when they’re enjoying entertainment in the comfort of their living room, dental assistants can’t seem to look away from someone’s mouth.
Confesses Rachel: “I often watch a TV show and find myself thinking, ‘Those teeth aren’t real!’”
7. You bring dental terminology to everyday situations.
Teresa agrees that noticing people’s teeth is all too common when you’re a dental assistant. And it’s likely no secret among an assistant’s friends and family members that they’re well-versed in teeth.
“You know you’re a dental assistant when you tell your friend that she has spinach between Nos. 7 and 8,” Teresa says with a laugh.