I came to the conclusion that being an over the top, irreplaceable, rock star Dental Assistant stems from experience. Yes, chairside experience is a must, however the more you take in everyday lessons discussed by colleagues, the more your knowledge grows. My hope for this blog is to create a resourse for both educating Dental professionals and sharing experiences that create next level rockstar assistants.
I started my career in the dental industry after searching for a new career that was both intriguing and the education was not a long commitment. I attended a local technical college and was a high honors graduate of the Dental Assistant program after just one semester. I pretty much walked on the scene blinded. I felt like an idiot to be completely honest for the first year of my career. My first job was a practice with two doctors and a staff that had been there for years. I was fresh out of school, excited, but most of all nervous out of my mind. The doctor I primarily worked for was not patient enough to have hired such a green employee. His demeanor was rough and he was not interested in teaching me a thing. His assistants were flat out rude and offered almost zero help in “showing me the ropes”. I should have stuck it out, however I quit! I felt like such a failure, like I had spent the last 6 months as a broke single mom and full time student for nothing. I truly considered never working in this industry again.
For the next few months I slowly began job hunting and landed a job at a larger practice working for a newly graduated female doctor. She was very sweet and gentle. She was slow and so was I, it was great for awhile. However the other employees there were a little hard to get along with. Many of the girls had been there for years and I just didn’t fit in. I was young, inexperienced and I am sure I looked like a fool. In a later blog I will tell you about my biggest opps ever in my career, which happened while working for this practice.
After about a year I interviewed with a single male doctor closer to home. In this interview I had to have been obviously intimidated, however I got the job. This particular doctor is one of two that I have worked for over the years that I would NEVER work for again. He was a great dentist, there is no argument of that. However he was a horrifying employer. He had a very narsasistic attitude and had zero respect for anyone under him. I will say though that this was my first Dental job where I liked the girls that worked there. The assistant was nice, and helpful and everyone surprisingly put up with this guy’s b.s. I was eventually fired from this job, not a huge disappointment but no one wants to be jobless. And this was yet another fail to my so called career.
It took me more time to find my next adventure as a dental assistant. I interviewed with a very nice doctor at another single doctor practice. I was called back for a working interview and eventually offered the position as a single assistant. I had my reservation that this guy could also turn out to be an A-hole like the last one, however something about him seemed genuine. In less than a month there I finally realized his front desk helper/ hygienist who never saw patients, was his wife! So there was me, the barely experienced Assistant, the laid back doctor (whom I might add was a fantastic dentist) a font desk lady that was a bit off her rocker, and a hygienist who was a “friend” of the wife’s, and the princess wife. I had zero experience at this time with a wife in the office. Only a few months after starting here I caught on to bits and pieces of drama between the wife and the other girls and how a wife in the office a big no-no. This job was probably one of my favorites. I loved the patients, I felt like I was advocating for a skilled practitioner and I never dreaded going to work. I will admit that catching on to dental assisting was coming along slowly. However I could see progression in my skills and I felt like for once I had an employer who truly wanted to invest in educating me to become his right hand (wo) man. I gained more experience here there ever before. Our practice was involved in continuing education events often and I felt like I was building a true passion for this industry. I gained experience in everything Dental at this practice. I was the chairside assistant, I built and prioritized large treatment plans. I presented them to patients and after awhile caught onto the insurance end thanks to a very helpful new front desk person, whom turned out to become a very special person to me. I also gained experience in both internal and external marketing, which I will go into detail about in a future entry. I felt like an important piece of this practice. Unfortunately the wife in the office no-no began to come to light for me. There were a lot of issues with this person, which maybe I will discuss at a later time as well. I’m talking about some things that were unbelievable, such as her randomly deciding to not offer a bonus program after months of hard work and reaching goals, those checks stopped coming without explanation. She had this doctor by the you know whats and there was nothing the team could do about it so I eventually walked away.
I then worked for a short amount of time for the #2 Ahole doctor. This doctor, I am not kidding you, was the meanest and most disrespectful person I had ever encountered. He had no desire to show respect for his staff, even in front of patients. I had been wishy washy on sticking it out for a few weeks. I really hated going to work everyday and at the time my husband was a full time student so I pretty much didn’t have a choice until I could find another position. I was lucky enough to score a job with a single female doctor not far from my home. I had all intentions of giving a two week notice, however I will never forget my last day. The day began with our daily huddle, and as we are being dismissed (no seriously it was like boot camp) the doctor has something to discuss with me about a patient in the schedule. Instead of asking me to hold on or anything he stands up in front of me and vigorously pressed his finger tips into my collar bone. I know, it sounds over dramatic but it was the oddest encounter. I am not a big touchy, feely kind of person and I felt completely violated and offended. It was simply just odd, very very odd. I immediately went into the locker room and texted my husband. This day just so happened to be my husband’s birthday and he was off of school for the day. My husband suggested I just leave, I mean on the bright side I already accepted another job, I was going to give my notice today. The only downfall was that my car was in the shop getting new tires and if I was going to leave I would have to wait for my husband to pick me up. I had it set in my mind that that was my only option. This is going to sound bad, but it was my husband’s birthday and it was beautiful outside. Not a bone in my body wanted to be stuck with the devil doctor for one more minutes. I ended up leaving him a note about his scary demeanor and my hopes for this to open his eyes to his inappropriate behavior. As soon as my husband was outside I left the note on the doctors desk and I ran out the back door and never looked back. I felt guilty, but from the stories the other employees shared, this happened every few months around there.
After escaping from that nightmare I was able to start sooner at my new job as they were happy to have me early. I like that office alot, I liked the employees even more. I built life time relationships with these woman. The doctor was kind and soft hearted and easy to work for. After a few years my husband and I moved our family to a smaller town with a great school system. I then randomly saw an advertisement for a dental assistant, coincidentally in this town. I interviewed and was offered the job. I have been with this practice, which I will discuss in detail later, for almost s year.
My point to blabbing on about my crazy resume was to share a little bit about where I came from and how many different experiences I have had as a dental assistant. I plan to share blogs on everything related to assisting, from funny in office stories, to detailed tips on everything you need to know to be
a rockstar assistant, to product reviews and more! Stay tuned.