In school, we are taught there are nine dental specialists; Pediatric Dentists, Orthodontists, Endodontists, Periodontists, Prosthodontists, Oral Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral Maxillofacial Radiology and Oral Maxillofacial Surgery. During our externship, we were encouraged to visit as many of the specialty offices we could as well as the general dentist. In doing this, we as students, could determine where we felt most comfortable and provide the best support to the dental team. Some dental assistants are great with children and will work well in a pediatric dental office. Others may have a passion for surgery and will choose Oral Surgery.
Dental Assisting Schools provide an educational foundation, the basics for your profession. However, learning does not end on graduation day, it should be the beginning. Dentistry is constantly changing and we must keep up. It is up to the dental assistant graduate to become a member of the American Dental Assistants Association, an organization which will always be there for guidance and support. Yes, we are entering a career to better ourselves economically but we are also caregivers and team players.
As an active member of your national organization, there are a number of benefits you will receive that will help you immediately. There are many discounts, liability insurance, free online continuing education courses and membership in your state and local dental assisting society.
Dental Assisting School instructors are our first rung on the ladder to promoting professionalism, creating value beyond the small paragraph offered in most dental assisting textbooks. It would be great if all dental assisting instructors would become members of our national association, the ADAA. Instructors should become familiar with the benefits of the organization and contribute articles on the 24/7 and attend at least one of the meetings throughout the year.
As an instructor, attendance at national, state and local meetings are important two-fold; you have the opportunity to witness the business side of your organization and you are able to network with dental assistants from all over the country and form life-long friendships. By doing so, you will be better informed on what the organization’s benefits are and pass it on to the students. If your school doesn’t have a SADAA (Student ADAA chapter) on campus …start one. Get on the website: www.dentalassistant.org and promote the American Dental Assistants Association in your curriculum. The objective is to expose the student to benefits of their professional national organization BEFORE graduation. Creating value by belonging to your organization and becoming an active member will ensure increased membership and a more professional dental assistant.