Dental Assistant Recognition Week 2021
Show Your Appreciation to Dental Assistants
The ADA Council on Dental Practice is encouraging dentists and their teams to acknowledge the dedication and contributions of their dental assistants during Dental Assistants Recognition Week, March 7-13.
This year’s Dental Assistants Recognition Week has a special theme, too – Our Heart Goes into Every Smile. The theme is fitting as dental assistants play a critical role in patient health and happiness. They’re an integral part of a strong dental team and their assistance is indispensable around the office.
Dental Assistants Contribute to Practice Productivity
According to research, most dentists and dental office managers agree that dental assistants contribute to a practice’s overall productivity. Dentists can move between patients more quickly when dental assistants are there to help. When dental assistants can perform background or administrative tasks to help minimize the office’s workload, they do dental teams a huge favor.
Below, we’ve included just a few more ways that dental assistants positively impact the offices they work in. Whether it’s helping out with a procedure or running to check a patient in, a dental assistant performs lots of tasks within a practice to keep it running smoothly.
Dental Assistants Perform a Variety of Work
Dental assistants don’t just do one or two jobs while they’re on-duty. In fact, they complete a wide variety of work throughout the course of a day:
- Sterilizing equipment
- Conducting X-rays
- Organizing dental records
- Educating patients on oral health
Dental assistants also help with certain tasks like:
- Taking dental impressions
- Cleaning patients’ teeth
- Administering fluoride rinse
- Applying dental sealants
Infection Control Duties are Especially Important
There are state and federal regulations that dictate how a dentist’s office should approach infection prevention. Most dental offices see upwards of thousands of patients each year. For this reason, it’s very important for everything to be sanitized and disinfected between patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are responsible for upholding these standards and making sure offices are safe.
Dental Assistants Make Smooth Operation Possible
Dental assistants help smooth out operations and ensure everything runs as it’s supposed to in practices. They can help check-in patients, speed along thorough cleaning, and even prepare X-rays while other staff members see other patients.
Think of a dental assistant as the air-traffic controller of an office. They need to maintain the practice’s schedule, talk to patients, and help with day-to-day work.
Dental Assistants Impact Patient Retention
Patient retention has a lot more to do with dental assistants than you might think. Consider that most patients spend more time with dental assistants than they ever do with a practice’s dentist. Dental assistants are many times the ones who educate patients about their oral health.
This is, without a doubt, a patient-facing job. Lots of patients base their decision to return to practice on their experience with the office’s dental assistants. The right assistant can help an office hold onto old patients and bring in new ones.
Easy Ways to Make Dental Assistants Feel Appreciated This Week
If you work with a dental assistant or know someone training to become one, there are some simple ways you can help them feel appreciated this National Dental Assistant Recognition Week:
- Make your appreciation visible: Try throwing a little party or setting up banners and balloons to show assistants they’re valued. If you already do work in a dental office, even patients will get excited about the celebration
- Make the appreciation personal: Nobody likes a forced “thank you,” so don’t be the ones to give one! Make sure your appreciation for assistants is totally personal to what they individually bring to your team or office.
- Celebrate: Get excited! Dental assistants deserve to be celebrated. They help with everything and never turn down an opportunity to get work done. Try to make the time for a little party to show how much you care.
- Make your appreciation tangible: Measurable appreciation is the best appreciation.
Thank a Dental Assistant
Even though this week is specifically devoted to recognizing dental assistants, they play a central role in dental practices throughout the year. Everyone should be grateful to their dental assistants for the contributions they make to keeping patients healthy.