Dental assistants: Are tattoos and piercings ever OK?

woman with dyed hair and nose ring

Tattoos, body and facial piercings, and nontraditional hair color have become more mainstream. These accessories are no longer as taboo, but are they acceptable for a dental assistant who interacts with patients?

We talked to dental assistants and heard both sides of the story.

Having fun with it

Some dental assistants work in offices that either don’t have a strict appearance policy or don’t enforce it. These assistants feel comfortable to express themselves — and it can even bring some levity to what could be a stressful dental visit.

“I have purple hair! Well, it tends to be a multitude of different colors. It makes people smile and makes kids feel less anxious, and that's the goal, right?” — Krystal P., CDA

Out of sight

Other dental assistants take a less obvious approach to self-expression. They may have a piercing or tattoo, but not in a place that is easily visible.

“I have a tattoo on the back of my neck. So far, no complaints.” — Ana T.

Express yourself … outside

Other dental assistants work in offices with strict rules about appearance, and they follow those rules to the T. They express themselves outside of work hours, in their free time.

“Our office has a rule about no jewelry allowed, including wedding bands. No piercings, long sleeves. or  'outside' lab coats. We've got a very strict infection control officer.” — Audra M.

“At our office, hair must be a natural color. I have to take out my piercings. I cannot show any of my tattoos.” — Nikki S.

Let us know what you think. Are tattoos, piercings and unusual hair colors allowed at your dental office? Does your office have a formal policy on professional appearance and dress code