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what do you like most / least about being a dental assistant?

I'm a 23 year old in job core training to be a dental assistant dental- assistant dental-hygienist

1)Everything you learn about the need to have good oral hygiene and take care of your teeth and gums 2)how easy it can be to get cavities and teach all the little kids. 3)how rewarding it feels to help people, change their lives and self esteem. If you can find a place that could an train you without any problems, then I would stay with them and make a good employee&employer relationship while getting the experience you’ll get! Good luck!👍🏻 Lorena Mendieta
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Chelsea’s Answer

Hi Baylea,

I was a Expanded Function Dental Assistant for an Endodontist for 3 years. Overall I would suggest being a DA as a stepping point to move on to something better. Being a DA doesn't pay badly, but it doesn't pay great. Use it as an initial step towards becoming a dentist or dental hygienist, or even pivot from dental to medical. I don't see being a DA as a lifelong career, as the pay doesn't usually keep up with inflation and the job isn't particularly fulfilling.

I loved studying the subject and enjoyed everything I learned. I was hired straight out of school by the company that I performed my externship at. But after a few months I got bored. There were patients here and there that were interesting cases, but the days were mostly monotonous.

Things I liked about my job:
1. I got to see some the effects of various dental diseases and participate in some very cool surgeries.
2. I got lucky and had an awesome doctor to work with. She was always willing to teach, and ego was never an issue.
3. The other assistant that I worked with had been a DA for 20+ years and was very supportive and helpful
4. My particular dental office was part of a large dental organization, so we were provided with healthcare, dental, vision and a pension plan (most small dental offices do not offer these perks, or they aren't quite as robust)

Things I disliked about the job:
1. Ergonomics weren't great. The doctor positions themselves so that they can view the working area, and as the DA, you have to contort yourself around what the doctor is doing to perform your job. You can especially see the damage with DA's who have been working in the field for decades.
2. I felt like my job was a glorified cleaner. Sure I assisted the doctor by setting up, and handing over instruments and supplies, but I also had to breakdown the room and clean and sterilize the instruments. I'd say 40% of the job is cleaning.
3. I got lucky and had an amazing doctor. But I had to work with other doctors on occasion and many were egotistical, rude, and unprofessional to me.
4. The money wasn't good
5. Unless you go back to school, there's no room for growth.

I stuck around with this job for 3 years because I had a great team and the company helped pay for my tuition to get another job. If I hadn't ended up on that team, I would have left being a DA 2-3 months after finishing school.
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Claudia’s Answer

What I like most is the diverse interactions with people on a daily basis. You get to be the second hand of the operator (dentist) and it's a crucial job. One of my favorite things is feeling the rush of adrenaline and being useful on your whole shift.
The "downside" depends on the type of person you are. If you're patient or get overwhelmed easily, if you get grossed out, or the long hours standing.