Your funniest moments in dental assisting

dental assistant and patient share a laugh

When you work in a dental office, you never know what the day will bring. When you work with different patients every day, you’ll see your fair share of unusual and even gross things! Some of the most memorable moments, though, are the ones that leave you laughing as you tell the story years later.

“We laugh a lot in our office,” says Jess. “I’ve had patients tease us, saying, ‘It doesn’t sound like it’s any fun working here!’”

Here are some of the humorous moments that can happen as a dental assistant.

Wiggles and wigs

Some patients with anxiety or special healthcare needs may require sedation via nitrous oxide to get through an appointment. Sometimes, patients can feel disoriented, which can lead to them saying or doing something funny — or sharing their dreams!

“My most memorable moment was having a patient on nitrous oxide who was constantly wiggling,” shares Janaya. “When we were finally finished and she was off the nitrous oxide, I asked her why she was so wiggly — she said it was because she was dreaming she was dancing!”

Jill remembers a patient who needed nitrous oxide for a tooth extraction. The patient kept moving her head, so the oral surgeon put his hand on her forehead to stabilize her. But his hand slipped and pushed the patient’s wig on the floor.

“The doctor and I nearly lost it — good thing she was under nitrous oxide!” she says.

Napping in the dental chair

Sometimes, no nitrous oxide is necessary to calm a patient. Patients might get so comfortable in the dental chair that they fall asleep — usually a sign the dental team is doing a good job keeping the patient relaxed!

Sandra recalls a time when she was assisting during a crown prep and fillings and a patient fell asleep.

“After about 15 minutes, he woke up, startled, and jerked his foot,” she says. “His shoe flew off and hit the wall! We all laughed so hard. He had been anxious about the appointment when he scheduled it and couldn’t believe he fell asleep.”

Brother doesn’t brush

One of the joys of being a pediatric dental assistant is the funny things kids say and do. They might be eager to show off their tooth-brushing technique or talk about their latest visit from the tooth fairy. Sometimes, they’re just excited to tell you about their favorite TV show or share a random story from school!

“The kids are hilarious. You never know what they are going to say,” shares Bethany.

Sometimes, dental assistants even hear funny stories from kids when they aren’t in the office!

Sandra shares a time when she volunteered at a Give Kids A Smile event and a child tattled on her sibling for poor oral hygiene.

“A little girl raised her hand during our presentation to tell me that her brother always has stinky breath because he never brushes,” she recalls.

Biting by mistake

At times, patients may not understand your directions — especially if they’ve never undergone the particular procedure you’re helping to perform. This can lead to mix-ups that you can laugh about with the patient for years to come. Patients may not open their mouths wide enough or might try to talk with a dental instrument in their mouth.

Or, as Susan shares, patients may accidentally bite the dental assistant when asked to close their mouth.

“I asked a patient to open slightly while making a provisional crown and he closed tighter,” says Susan. “I asked another time with the same response, and finally, I had to ask louder, as he was hurting me. The patient realized what he had done and apologized profusely. We laughed so much, and every time I saw him afterward, he would make a ‘chomping’ face toward me.”

Do you have a funny dental assisting story? Join the DANB Facebook Community to share!