Unappreciated Assistants?

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Fed up RDA in San Jose, California

72 months ago

I think after 5 years i'm trowing in the towel. I'm not really seeking advice, but more or less wondering if I am alone in my struggle. I started out head of my class back in 2003 when I was 22. I interned with a young DDS that became my BFF, I was excited and happy about helping people, and felt wanted. That did not last very long. When I went out in the field I was met with dissapointment after disapointment. I worked for egotistical, rude, and stingy doctors. Doctors that never said a simple thank you, doctors that blamed me when things went wrong(especially when it was their fualt) I worked for people more interested in going to play golf than adhere to a better standard of care. I worked for nut jobs who pushed their religious and philosphical views on their employees. I worked for doctors that played favorites with the assistants.(One doctor did a receptionists veneers for free and gave her a 3 dollar pay raise, when everyone else got nothing.) People who yelled at me, who wouldn't take me seriously, who were racist, and underpaid their employees. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think i'm a good assistant, i've taken numerous classes, i've always been interested in learning as much as I can, I can do ZOOM! and I even know how to design crowns with CEREC. I love the patients. I am very organized, I often introduce easy systems of organization and inventory control, I am very proactive. I've never taken a vacation day or sick day in five years. I'm unfortunatly very strong willed, and I confront doctors when I think something is unfair. I have been "let go of" as many times as the amount of years I have worked. I am over it. I am unemployed and in college again, starting from scratch on a BioChemistry degree at near 28 years old. I never want to work for another rude dentist ever again. I don't mean to complain, I know that there are people who love assisting, I just wonder if anyone else has gone through what I have.

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Jenny in Holiday, Florida

72 months ago

I have gone through this. My first 7 yrs. of assisting were great; worked for great docs who really appreciated me and we all worked as a team.

Then I moved...worked for a Dr. who was into Scientology and would try to push it on me. He went so far as to set up a "meeting" at the end of our scheduled workday and someone came in to talk to us...about Scientology. Wasn't my thing so I moved on.

Next Dr. I worked for, the assts. were only allowed to suction, take x-rays. That's pretty much it. He wouldn't allow his assistants to remove temps, take impressions (alginate). We didn't even have an air/water syringe on our side. BORING!!

Next. Dr...tried to give my co-worker a Vic. secret bra...NO KIDDING! Always trying to get his assts. to go out of town with him for "continuing ed"...

Then the last place I worked for...Dr. was AWFUL. Understaffed (just me and one front desk person, 2 hygienists) and the front desk person quit, out of frustration. He used to take us into his office (with patients present) and SCREAM, YELL...

After the front desk person quit it was just me and I was expected to answer the phone, schedule appts. assist, etc. It was too much for just me...I never left until 7 or 8 PM. He would come in screaming and yelling in the morning, and so my day started off bad, I would be shaking just from the stress! Then he started accusing me of "being on something". Very insulting. I explained to him when we start off the day in a bad way, the way he spoke to me made me a nervous wreck!

That was it for me. I loved my job, loved the patients, I just could not stand being treated like that anymore.

I really wish I could have found an office here without a crazy Dr. You are not alone. I loved assisting but could not handle the abuse.

I always got along well with staff; hygienists, front desk, other assistants; I am pretty easygoing. I think if you are unhappy you should get out and explore your options.

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Annette Corrado in Oviedo, Florida

72 months ago

I have been a Dental Assistant for 26 years and I did not think I would make it through the second year. I am still looking for that better job after all these years and it does not seem that I will ever find it.I would recommend working for the Military, State or Social Service Organization( slower pace and more professional treatment) These jobs often provide good benefits including paid Continuing ED allowance(college courses too). Unfortunately, it takes time effort and research to find these jobs and their future is uncertain.
This is what I did and I was able to get my degree in social work,volunteer and network in my spare time. I now have a very rewarding social work position and just temp or assist part-time for the enjoyment of of assisting and my patients. My experience with crazy Dentists combined with schooling on managing difficult people with problems and strong support systems(past co-workers and other professional friends from networking)have helped me tremendously, especially with repairing my damaged self-esteem that made me feel trapped forever in a dissappointing career.
Good Luck to you,
Annette

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amanda filipetto in Calgary, Alberta

72 months ago

I have been in dental assisting for about 6 years now and enjoy the work very much. However, the dentists are what make the profession one of the worst out there. From degrading to unappreciative they are by far the worst employers out there. Even when they are wrong they take it out on the assistants, and poor people skills seem to be a course offered in dentistry. One thing I have noticed is that there are less and less assistants staying in the fiels and it would seem like there is a major shortage of us out there, so I guess they have what is coming to them.

To summarize the moral of this story, I really have nothing nice to say about DDS as a whole and maybe the fact that they have the highest suicide rate explains a lot.

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Fed up RDA in San Jose, California

72 months ago

Seriously I am glad it's not just me. I was wondering if maybe I was just cursed or something. Thank you for sharing, it actually puts my mind at ease a bit. Still going to stay in school and get out though...

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Dr G in San Diego, California

72 months ago

Hope all is well. I am so sorry that you all feel this way. I do know what you all mean. I don't know what kind of boss I am. My staff does seem to like me or so I think. There problems are many. Many Dentists have very little training in communication and usually very little experience in managing people. To defend the profession, not all of us are money hungry. I always pick what is best for the patient over what is best my pocket book. In addition, We dentists have one of the most stressful jobs. If you already did not know, dentists have the number one suicide rate of all professions. I do think that some of it has to do with employee related stress. Some examples include staff being late, calling in sick when a child is sick, or how about not coming in because of drinking the night before. I have come across these before.
.
So, to put into prospective, I have 4 years of college dregree and 4 years of dental school. On top of that I worked 1 year at a residency program and earned $27,000. Six years after graduation, I invested everything I had in buying my first office. After workng 1 year in my office, I have broken even. That is right, I earned nothing. So do the math, 4+4+1+7=16 years. I have invested 16 years to get to were I am today. After sixteen years, my net worth is less that zero. This year I am projecting sallary. So, the right of passage has been long and hard. It has turned some of us into as*h**es. My recommendation to all of you is love what you do because in all professions you will find a*s*ol**.

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Jenny in Holiday, Florida

72 months ago

Dr. G,

You seem very nice. I have always been responsible, very rarely missed work, have excellent references. I understand the stress involved in dentistry. I understand the financial stress; I quit dental assisting and started my own business and have taken very little salary. There was absolutely no justification for the way I was treated the past couple of years. It was a very tough decision for me to quit the profession altogether. The last job I was at, I was under so much stress because of the situation that I lost 6 lbs. in three months. Not sleeping. So stressed out and shook up about the way I was being treated I could no longer perform my job to the best of my abilities. It's too bad. A lot of dentists moan and groan about the turnover and in my opinion it is because of the way they treat everyone in the office. The last Dr. was so viscious the patients were defending me. Very unprofessional behavior, in my opinion.

Like I said, I worked in a great office and was very happy for many years. I did not want to be seen as a job hopper, since I couldn't seem to find an office where I was treated decently the last few years I was assisting. So unfortunately I no longer assist.

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Annette in Oviedo, Florida

72 months ago

Dr G,
You seem very nice-- I wish I had worked for more Dentists like you in private practices. I did not mention in my letter that dental assistants over 30 are treated progressively worse and once an assistant turns 40 no one will hire her.I wish I could tell the woman on this forum that it gets better but I can not tell them a lie.I had a passion for my career in dentistry and loved the patients but could no longer make excuses, justify or cover up the Dentist's bad behavior. All I can say is hang in there ladies-- you are good and did not deserve to be treated badly. Continue to network and build support systems and continue your education in areas other than dentistry and your future will be brighter.

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Jane in Victoria, British Columbia

71 months ago

I have worked as an assistant for 7 years now. They have been the worst 7 years of my life. I was treated so poorly by most of the employers
I worked for. Some were ok, but the majority were awful. I was underpaid, overworked, and overstressed. I was expected to work a 10 hour day
with no break. As a result, I have developed a herniated disc in my back. I am off on medical leave right now, and in lots of pain.
In 3 months I am going back to school to be a nurse. It's the best decision I have ever made to leave this career. I just can't believe I didn't
leave sooner. Before I felt hopeless, with no self esteem or desire to live anymore, my job made me so depressed. Now there is a light at the
end of the tunnel, and I am so happy, for the first time in a long time. I just hope my back heals in time for school.

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RD in Toronto, Ontario

71 months ago

Working as a Dental Assistant was a nightmare. Most dentists not all, treated me poorly I felt like I was Molly Maid.

The course is a waste of time and money, I wish I never did it and did something worthwhile.

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anonymous in Toronto, Ontario

71 months ago

I stayed with my first dentist employer for 29 years until he retired. Now after 8 years with the dentist who bought his practice I am ready to quit. My new boss does not take any interest in the health or welfare of myself and my co-worker. He never says good morning or goodnight or please or thank-you. We get blamed for errors that he has made. He berates the assistant in front of patients while she is assisting and then the patients tell me how uncomfortable it made them feel during their appointments. We have not had a raise in the last 8 years, he expects us to work longer hours than what we were hired for without extra pay. We never get out on time for a proper lunch break. When things are going right, there is never any praise. My co-worker and I were both recently diagnosed with high blood pressure which my doctor said is hypertension due to stress as he cannot find a physical reason. I am now on two medications with no drug plan that are costing me $150 every month. If I wasn't already 57 years old, I would try a new career. I hope I last till my pension kicks in...My co -worker will be retiring imminently.

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Ekb in Barrie, Ontario

71 months ago

Wow! This makes me nervous! I am a new grad and have just started working 3 months ago. I am going through the exact same thing that everyone else is, my dentist has no respect for any of us and constantly belittles us, we have even had patients comment on it. I am also feeling stressed, I have lost weight and I feel like I am walking on egg-shells all the time....I have started to look for another job, but from what you are all saying, it seems they are all the same! I really hope not...I really like the aspect of my job, but I don't know if I can handle this...and I am new! Is there any hope???

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amanda filipetto in Calgary, Alberta

71 months ago

I hope that things start to look up for you... I am sure that if you search long enough you can always find a DDS that is at least decent to work for. However the list is short. I know that I have worked for at least 1 individual who i would want to work with again. All i can say about being a dental assistant is that you have to be confident in yourself and do the best that you can do. I know that my self esteem took a blow initially, when i first left school and then i finally saw the light. The light at the end of my tunnel will be to go back to school and do something else away from the dental field. Sad, due to the fact that i do like the work that I do and would like to continue.

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Fed up RDA in San Jose, California said: I think after 5 years i'm trowing in the towel. I'm not really seeking advice, but more or less wondering if I am alone in my struggle. I started out head of my class back in 2003 when I was 22. I interned with a young DDS that became my BFF, I was excited and happy about helping people, and felt wanted. That did not last very long. When I went out in the field I was met with dissapointment after disapointment. I worked for egotistical, rude, and stingy doctors. Doctors that never said a simple thank you, doctors that blamed me when things went wrong(especially when it was their fualt) I worked for people more interested in going to play golf than adhere to a better standard of care. I worked for nut jobs who pushed their religious and philosphical views on their employees. I worked for doctors that played favorites with the assistants.(One doctor did a receptionists veneers for free and gave her a 3 dollar pay raise, when everyone else got nothing.) People who yelled at me, who wouldn't take me seriously, who were racist, and underpaid their employees. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think i'm a good assistant, i've taken numerous classes, i've always been interested in learning as much as I can, I can do ZOOM! and I even know how to design crowns with CEREC. I love the patients. I am very organized, I often introduce easy systems of organization and inventory control, I am very proactive. I've never taken a vacation day or sick day in five years. I'm unfortunatly very strong willed, and I confront doctors when I think something is unfair. I have been "let go of" as many times as the amount of years I have worked. I am over it. I am unemployed and in college again, starting from scratch on a BioChemistry degree at near 28 years old. I never want to work for another rude dentist ever again. I don't mean to complain, I know that there are people who love assisting, I just wonder if anyone else has gone through '

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Fed up RDA in San Jose, California said: I think after 5 years i'm trowing in the towel. I'm not really seeking advice, but more or less wondering if I am alone in my struggle. I started out head of my class back in 2003 when I was 22. I interned with a young DDS that became my BFF, I was excited and happy about helping people, and felt wanted. That did not last very long. When I went out in the field I was met with dissapointment after disapointment. I worked for egotistical, rude, and stingy doctors. Doctors that never said a simple thank you, doctors that blamed me when things went wrong(especially when it was their fualt) I worked for people more interested in going to play golf than adhere to a better standard of care. I worked for nut jobs who pushed their religious and philosphical views on their employees. I worked for doctors that played favorites with the assistants.(One doctor did a receptionists veneers for free and gave her a 3 dollar pay raise, when everyone else got nothing.) People who yelled at me, who wouldn't take me seriously, who were racist, and underpaid their employees. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think i'm a good assistant, i've taken numerous classes, i've always been interested in learning as much as I can, I can do ZOOM! and I even know how to design crowns with CEREC. I love the patients. I am very organized, I often introduce easy systems of organization and inventory control, I am very proactive. I've never taken a vacation day or sick day in five years. I'm unfortunatly very strong willed, and I confront doctors when I think something is unfair. I have been "let go of" as many times as the amount of years I have worked. I am over it. I am unemployed and in college again, starting from scratch on a BioChemistry degree at near 28 years old. I never want to work for another rude dentist ever again. I don't mean to complain, I know that there are people who love assisting, I just wonder if anyone else has gone through

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Hey,
Although I did not work for a DDS (General Practioner) I did work for a Oral Surgeon in Ridgewood, NJ for 16 years...The Original Oral Surgeon who started the practice in the 70's eventually sold his part to another Oral Surgeon...Believe me I am not predudice in any way, but this particular person did not know how to treat staff...His background is Muslim and while he tried to hide it he treated women disrespectfully in the office especially me...I now feel after being out of the practice now for a year and a half because he "fired" me becuase 'I stood up to him" that he was very, very, insecure person and did not want a "women" who was strong willed standing up to him...The women at the front desk had been there or in this field since "The Beginning of Time" and were so fearful and "but kissing of him" trying to "win" his approval it was N A U S E A T I N G!!! to say the least...
I now realize that it was not meant for me to continue to work/live ( because we spend half our life in an office!), in that "Unpleasant" environment...
I think it is great that you stood up for yourself while your still young,...I wish I had done that...Right now I am 43 years old and I am looking too try once and only once more with another oral surgeon...I know with confidence as so many other colleages have said my skills are much needed and appreciated..Unfortunutely the "Oral Surgeon" who replaced my previous boss was/is to put it plainly a real IDIOT..I actually got to the point of calling the Department of Labor because of all of the overtime that is due me since he took over the practice because he repeatedly "promised" a raise and I ended up working alone for over a year and a half with anesthesia patients etc...I have never had to do that or have been treated so "Badly" by an employer ever...but then He is not from this country he is from "Syria" he presents himself as being this charming individual but that sadly is not the person he truly is.

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Jane in Victoria, British Columbia

71 months ago

Dental assisting is just not a good career choice. There is nothing to protect you from being treated badly. The doctors can treat you however
they want without suffering any punishment for wrong doings. They just make all their millions anyway, no matter who they step on, or whose life they ruin.
It is really unfair, but thats the way it is. That is why I am leaving this career, life is too short, and it's not worth it. Please take my advice, find
something else, do not take crap from anybody, you work hard and you are worth it, they are scum and they don't deserve you.

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

anonymous in Toronto, Ontario said: I stayed with my first dentist employer for 29 years until he retired. Now after 8 years with the dentist who bought his practice I am ready to quit. My new boss does not take any interest in the health or welfare of myself and my co-worker. He never says good morning or goodnight or please or thank-you. We get blamed for errors that he has made. He berates the assistant in front of patients while she is assisting and then the patients tell me how uncomfortable it made them feel during their appointments. We have not had a raise in the last 8 years, he expects us to work longer hours than what we were hired for without extra pay. We never get out on time for a proper lunch break. When things are going right, there is never any praise. My co-worker and I were both recently diagnosed with high blood pressure which my doctor said is hypertension due to stress as he cannot find a physical reason. I am now on two medications with no drug plan that are costing me $150 every month. If I wasn't already 57 years old, I would try a new career. I hope I last till my pension kicks in...My co -worker will be retiring imminently.

Your story is strangely parallel to my previous job...the new boss is there eight years,,,the front desk person has been there 29 years as well...and this dr. worked people over and did not want to give out those raises even to keep up with the 4% increase of the cost of living...This is sooo weird...
Good Luck! It is amazing your sticking out still...I could not take it any longer...

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behavioral health in Phoenix, Arizona

71 months ago

I went through this years ago. Good GoD! I think you were telling my story! Get out!

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Dr G in San Diego, California said: Hope all is well. I am so sorry that you all feel this way. I do know what you all mean. I don't know what kind of boss I am. My staff does seem to like me or so I think. There problems are many. Many Dentists have very little training in communication and usually very little experience in managing people. To defend the profession, not all of us are money hungry. I always pick what is best for the patient over what is best my pocket book. In addition, We dentists have one of the most stressful jobs. If you already did not know, dentists have the number one suicide rate of all professions. I do think that some of it has to do with employee related stress. Some examples include staff being late, calling in sick when a child is sick, or how about not coming in because of drinking the night before. I have come across these before.
.
So, to put into prospective, I have 4 years of college dregree and 4 years of dental school. On top of that I worked 1 year at a residency program and earned $27,000. Six years after graduation, I invested everything I had in buying my first office. After workng 1 year in my office, I have broken even. That is right, I earned nothing. So do the math, 4+4+1+7=16 years. I have invested 16 years to get to were I am today. After sixteen years, my net worth is less that zero. This year I am projecting sallary. So, the right of passage has been long and hard. It has turned some of us into as*h**es. My recommendation to all of you is love what you do because in all professions you will find a*s*ol**.

Well dr.G it is nice to hear that some doctors are appreciative of not only their staff but their own profession as well and it is not just about the $$$.. Fortunutely for 15 years i had a great boss (Oral Surgeon in Bergen County who since has retired) I continued to work for his partner with some doubt,his attitude about "we made too much money" when he first observed the practice was a clue..

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Dr G in San Diego, California said: Hope all is well. I am so sorry that you all feel this way. I do know what you all mean. I don't know what kind of boss I am. My staff does seem to like me or so I think. There problems are many. Many Dentists have very little training in communication and usually very little experience in managing people. To defend the profession, not all of us are money hungry. I always pick what is best for the patient over what is best my pocket book. In addition, We dentists have one of the most stressful jobs. If you already did not know, dentists have the number one suicide rate of all professions. I do think that some of it has to do with employee related stress. Some examples include staff being late, calling in sick when a child is sick, or how about not coming in because of drinking the night before. I have come across these before.
.
So, to put into prospective, I have 4 years of college dregree and 4 years of dental school. On top of that I worked 1 year at a residency program and earned $27,000. Six years after graduation, I invested everything I had in buying my first office. After workng 1 year in my office, I have broken even. That is right, I earned nothing. So do the math, 4+4+1+7=16 years. I have invested 16 years to get to were I am today. After sixteen years, my net worth is less that zero. This year I am projecting sallary. So, the right of passage has been long and hard. It has turned some of us into as*h**es. My recommendation to all of you is love what you do because in all professions you will find a*s*ol**.

after a year i wanted to quit, he said; "not now" i didn't know if he was concerned or not after an argument about my raise that he kept promising after a year...he gave me a check and that he was "instituting a bonus system" after an argument? 6 months later after asking for a raise in my mind the 3rd and final time he "fired" me...I always put my job first and had a good reputation with my

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Dr G in San Diego, California said: Hope all is well. I am so sorry that you all feel this way. I do know what you all mean. I don't know what kind of boss I am. My staff does seem to like me or so I think. There problems are many. Many Dentists have very little training in communication and usually very little experience in managing people. To defend the profession, not all of us are money hungry. I always pick what is best for the patient over what is best my pocket book. In addition, We dentists have one of the most stressful jobs. If you already did not know, dentists have the number one suicide rate of all professions. I do think that some of it has to do with employee related stress. Some examples include staff being late, calling in sick when a child is sick, or how about not coming in because of drinking the night before. I have come across these before.
.
So, to put into prospective, I have 4 years of college dregree and 4 years of dental school. On top of that I worked 1 year at a residency program and earned $27,000. Six years after graduation, I invested everything I had in buying my first office. After workng 1 year in my office, I have broken even. That is right, I earned nothing. So do the math, 4+4+1+7=16 years. I have invested 16 years to get to were I am today. After sixteen years, my net worth is less that zero. This year I am projecting sallary. So, the right of passage has been long and hard. It has turned some of us into as*h**es. My recommendation to all of you is love what you do because in all professions you will find a*s*ol**.

former employer...not to be predudice but he is a muslim, from syria and referred to other women and i am sure me as well as a "B**ch etc...after being fired he tried to "block" my unemployment. I had no choice but to hire an employment attorney and contact the Department of Labor..I have never been treated so badly..I understand doctors are not taught in school to deal with staff but doctors

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Dr G in San Diego, California said: Hope all is well. I am so sorry that you all feel this way. I do know what you all mean. I don't know what kind of boss I am. My staff does seem to like me or so I think. There problems are many. Many Dentists have very little training in communication and usually very little experience in managing people. To defend the profession, not all of us are money hungry. I always pick what is best for the patient over what is best my pocket book. In addition, We dentists have one of the most stressful jobs. If you already did not know, dentists have the number one suicide rate of all professions. I do think that some of it has to do with employee related stress. Some examples include staff being late, calling in sick when a child is sick, or how about not coming in because of drinking the night before. I have come across these before.
.
So, to put into prospective, I have 4 years of college dregree and 4 years of dental school. On top of that I worked 1 year at a residency program and earned $27,000. Six years after graduation, I invested everything I had in buying my first office. After workng 1 year in my office, I have broken even. That is right, I earned nothing. So do the math, 4+4+1+7=16 years. I have invested 16 years to get to were I am today. After sixteen years, my net worth is less that zero. This year I am projecting sallary. So, the right of passage has been long and hard. It has turned some of us into as*h**es. My recommendation to all of you is love what you do because in all professions you will find a*s*ol**.

market themselves and show their "Best" side...and the same should be for their staff,,,just like referrals it is their bread and butter. If patients do not like the staff as well as the doctor they will not come back...i guess as you put it...there will be As*h**es out there..There just seems to be more and more lately...I hope your staff does appreciate you! you sound like a decent Doctor.. :)

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

71 months ago

Jenny in Holiday, Florida said: I have gone through this. My first 7 yrs. of assisting were great; worked for great docs who really appreciated me and we all worked as a team.

Then I moved...worked for a Dr. who was into Scientology and would try to push it on me. He went so far as to set up a "meeting" at the end of our scheduled workday and someone came in to talk to us...about Scientology. Wasn't my thing so I moved on.

Next Dr. I worked for, the assts. were only allowed to suction, take x-rays. That's pretty much it. He wouldn't allow his assistants to remove temps, take impressions (alginate). We didn't even have an air/water syringe on our side. BORING!!

Next. Dr...tried to give my co-worker a Vic. secret bra...NO KIDDING! Always trying to get his assts. to go out of town with him for "continuing ed"...

Then the last place I worked for...Dr. was AWFUL. Understaffed (just me and one front desk person, 2 hygienists) and the front desk person quit, out of frustration. He used to take us into his office (with patients present) and SCREAM, YELL...

After the front desk person quit it was just me and I was expected to answer the phone, schedule appts. assist, etc. It was too much for just me...I never left until 7 or 8 PM. He would come in screaming and yelling in the morning, and so my day started off bad, I would be shaking just from the stress! Then he started accusing me of "being on something". Very insulting. I explained to him when we start off the day in a bad way, the way he spoke to me made me a nervous wreck!

That was it for me. I loved my job, loved the patients, I just could not stand being treated like that anymore.

I really wish I could have found an office here without a crazy Dr. You are not alone. I loved assisting but could not handle the abuse.

I always got along well with staff; hygienists, front desk, other assistants; I am pretty easygoing. I think if you are unhappy you should get out and explore your options.[/Q

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grays in San Antonio, Texas

70 months ago

anonymous in Toronto, Ontario said: I stayed with my first dentist employer for 29 years until he retired. Now after 8 years with the dentist who bought his practice I am ready to quit. My new boss does not take any interest in the health or welfare of myself and my co-worker. He never says good morning or goodnight or please or thank-you. We get blamed for errors that he has made. He berates the assistant in front of patients while she is assisting and then the patients tell me how uncomfortable it made them feel during their appointments. We have not had a raise in the last 8 years, he expects us to work longer hours than what we were hired for without extra pay. We never get out on time for a proper lunch break. When things are going right, there is never any praise. My co-worker and I were both recently diagnosed with high blood pressure which my doctor said is hypertension due to stress as he cannot find a physical reason. I am now on two medications with no drug plan that are costing me $150 every month. If I wasn't already 57 years old, I would try a new career. I hope I last till my pension kicks in...My co -worker will be retiring imminently.

Hi,

I have been assisting off and on in the biz for about 12yrs, i'm 47 yrs and must say i never thought i would still be part of the profession yet i'm trying my damist to get out of it in a hurry. I'm currently taking classes and working toward a degree in health science, it really depends on the doctor that you work with my doc is great and so is the staff however, no matter where we go we are always the least paid and over worked, why should we do hygiene instruments someone need to do my instruments. It's nuts i tell you and i feel it's not going to get any better. Don't waste your time on assisting school i know that someone has to do the job but honestly it just not worth the pay and the stress not to mention the racist attitudes from some of the doctors and patients esp. if you are black.

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Jenny in New Port Richey, Florida

70 months ago

di in Wyckoff, New Jersey said:

I started my own business and have never been happier!

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Fed up RDA in San Jose, California

70 months ago

I am so glad people are still talking about this. When I originally posted this topic, I had searched and searched the internet for dialogue from other dental assistants who had gone through what I have been going through, and found nothing. I felt alone. But now, thanks to you all, I am resolved in the choice I am making to leave. School is very hard, and I am much older than everyone in my classes, but I know I am making the healthy, happy choice. Please continue this discussion. I think dental assistants deserve a place to vent the abuses they have been suffering in this career. I want to also re instate that I am not for trashing Dentists, my best friend is a dentist and is a super nice and fair to her employees, but most are not. She even supports my decision to leave, knowing that I can do much better in another field. Again, thank you everyone, you've been a tremendous help.
-Fed up in California

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grays in San Antonio, Texas

70 months ago

Good for you, i too am 47yrs and have been into the field for about 12 yrs off and on however, i have not allowed myself to get into an uncomfortable working situation. For me it starts the moment i walk into the door for an interview i'm the one who's actually doing the interview you must observe the staff interactions, the doctor's persona around the staff and if there is no laughter, staff speaking in low wispering voices to one another than there is something not right. Also do a woking interview for a couple of hrs this may help as well before you get into these comprimising situations. I'm currently in university but working full time as a dental assistant for a great and respectful DDS once again it all starts and ends at the interview i know we all must work but honestly, it's not worth the anguish and stress that you guys are allowing yourself to get into. Dental assisting is ok for some and someone has to do the job so if your going to get into the field be professional and above all one with integrity this in turn will help you in making the proper decision as to which DDS to get involved with, the moment he trips and pull a fast one on you, your out of there, no second chances if he's full of #&*#.

GOOD LUCK AND GOD SPEED!!!!!!!!!!!

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

yes, we are still out there and trying to keep up our position..I for one did really work hard and was appreciated by my former employer...I still would like to work in the field maybe shorter hours, it does get physically demanding as you get older. i noticed a big difference between 25 and 43 years of age...i miss the interaction with certain staff and of course my former employer..
Sadly, there are few dentists/surgeons who appreciate staff..and yes there are those who say they appreciate you but are unwilling to pay more...sorry but as you get older you need to feel you are worth the extra $$$$ which is why i basically gave up after a year and a half of working with someone who just could not understand...i know he has been sufferring going through multiple assistants since he let me go over a year ago...some people just need to learn the hard way...I am fortunute to be able to get out of their and start somewhere else after 16 plus years...you do start to feel that you are "institutionalized" after so many years anyway...hopefully i will find something in this field part time and do something else i really enjoy part time as well..
It is nice to have these forums to reach out to others and feel you are not alone or having the feeling you are the only one who feels you are worth more...
Thanks for everyone's input and hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a prosperous and Happy New Year!!!

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Jane in Victoria, British Columbia

70 months ago

I know my last post was a bit harsh, but I still have alot of anger inside me about how my career turned out. I know there are dentists out there
who are decent, and really enjoy their job, not for the money but for helping people. I was just not lucky enough to work for one of them.
I am so happy I found this forum. It makes me feel less alone, and that I am not the only one going through this. I know this career can be
great if you find a nice doctor to work for. But I am giving up, after 7 years. I hope my new career choice will work out for me.
Good luck to you all, and thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Dumbledorf in Oakland, California

70 months ago

Fed up RDA in San Jose, California said: I think after 5 years i'm trowing in the towel. I'm not really seeking advice, but more or less wondering if I am alone in my struggle. I started out head of my class back in 2003 when I was 22. I interned with a young DDS that became my BFF, I was excited and happy about helping people, and felt wanted. That did not last very long. When I went out in the field I was met with dissapointment after disapointment. I worked for egotistical, rude, and stingy doctors. Doctors that never said a simple thank you, doctors that blamed me when things went wrong(especially when it was their fualt) I worked for people more interested in going to play golf than adhere to a better standard of care. I worked for nut jobs who pushed their religious and philosphical views on their employees. I worked for doctors that played favorites with the assistants.(One doctor did a receptionists veneers for free and gave her a 3 dollar pay raise, when everyone else got nothing.) People who yelled at me, who wouldn't take me seriously, who were racist, and underpaid their employees. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think i'm a good assistant, i've taken numerous classes, i've always been interested in learning as much as I can, I can do ZOOM! and I even know how to design crowns with CEREC. I love the patients. I am very organized, I often introduce easy systems of organization and inventory control, I am very proactive. I've never taken a vacation day or sick day in five years. I'm unfortunatly very strong willed, and I confront doctors when I think something is unfair. I have been "let go of" as many times as the amount of years I have worked. I am over it. I am unemployed and in college again, starting from scratch on a BioChemistry degree at near 28 years old. I never want to work for another rude dentist ever again. I don't mean to complain, I know that there are people who love assisting, I just wonder if anyone else has gone through

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Dumbledorf in Oakland, California

70 months ago

These D.D.S or Doctors who don't know you know what are deplorable to their staff. The bottom line is their pocket books. Not only don't they care about their staff, but patients as well. It starts with the staff and then they mistreat the patients. They don't care about the patients and overdiagnose to pad their golf carts!. 28+ years been, there done that!. Do not go into this profession.

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Tamara in Lynnwood, Washington

70 months ago

OMG!!!. I just spent some time reading all of your comments. Gee, I need to figure out what I want to do!. I am 43 years old and have been employed p/t, 10 years in a school district as a para-ed (teacher's aide). The benefits are killing me, so that is why i'm considering on finding full time work. The past 2 months, I've been doing my homework and research on going back to school to become a dental front office receptionist or a dental assitant. I was considering in enrolling into a program soon for the end of March/ beginning of April to start a 6-8 week program ($3,000- 2 full days per week). Other accredited colleges would be 6-9 months and cost anywhere from $8k - 12k, f/t school! But now, I am seriously reconsidering it. Is it much harder for women over 40 to find these kinds of jobs? Do DDS tend on hiring much younger recepitionist/ assistants? Any comments would be great!

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grays in San Antonio, Texas

70 months ago

Hello,

I would say first and foremost any quarlity pratice will be looking at your experience with dental insurance, dental software, patient presentation for treatment planning regarding dental procedures and the like. So you are going to need to be knowledgable in your dental termnilogy ( pls forgive, my spelling is the pitts tonight). I feel a dentist or doctor will hire a professional that is in her 40's or slighty older just make certain that you are quite polished in your apperance, articulate and if you don't know what you're talking about...for goodness sakes pretend like you do. Persoanlly i don't feel that dental assisting or reception school for the profession is worth the money i think if your going to spend so much on a certificate just go for 2 yr dental hygiene degree or an AAS at your local community collge in a health related field. If you have any further questions pls feel free to contact me on my personal email of;

lynngrays@yahoo.com

Hope i can be of any help

I would also like to add that in my opinion dental assistants are the most highly disrespected, over worked, grossly underpaid working class in the health care profession, grossing from $9 to $13.00 an hour to include those who perform expanded duties and CDA certified.

Think about this profession with your eye wide open!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

Yes, i have to agree with the previous individual that spending all that money on education for dental assisting/receptionist would be a real waste of money and time. I am 43 years old and have worked for a Oral Surgeon for 14 years. He was great.Then he retired and ending up working with some hesitation for his new partner for a year and a half. That was the worst year and a half I ever had in the field! He would not give raises, wanted to take away whatever bonus we may have been getting,cut our health insurance etc....To put it plainly he was a real jerk!
Anyway, unless you hear of an excellent GP,Oral Surgeon, etc...don't bother unless you want to "fill in" for someone..Those people seem to be more appreciated than anyone..at least from my experience...Good Employers are far and few...I'm actually giving another oral surgeon one more try (part time only) and do something I really enjoy...Sadly all you need is one "bad" employer to ruin it for the others...I lucked out in the beginning of my career.
Good Luck if you wish to pursue the field,but have other options open unless you want to start your own practice. ;)

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Mrs. V in Holliston, Massachusetts

70 months ago

I thought this would be my big chance to better myself and contribute to the family. I have not even finished paying my loan yet but I want to change careers so badly. Had I known how degraded I would be and what it would do for my self esteem I would never have chosen this field. At fifty and graduating top of my class I thought this is a great start but dentists can be the worst to work for. It is true you get blamed or have to deal with their tempers and work along side them even when the mistake is theirs, you work on your nerves and become afraid to come to work. The first dentist I worked for never and I mean never complimented me once no matter how much progress I made it was never good enough only corrections or critisisms crossed his lips. I left and thought try again our teachers said each dentist office is very different so try till you find one you like. Next dentist seemed to take a shine to me I caught on and did front and chairside but I saw her scream at other workers and fire people for stupidness and I knew my days were numbered it is just her way of handeling everything the rules always changed and you could never be perfect enough when I began to have mornings of yelling just to let us know how she wanted things it would set the tone for the whole day.I began to fear coming in to work dream about my sets up for the next day and work on my nerves. I think too highly of myself to let people yell scream and demean me for nothing, well for any reason. So I did not even give notice I called and quit, foolish you say I am now unemployed and I am looking for a job and no I do not put the last one on my resume but I am scared to go and work anywhere else to suffer more of the same and waste my time I will soon be supporting myself and not have this flexability to change jobs easily. I want a job that I can go and do be faithful to and feel like a person not a dog. DO NOT BECOME A DENTAL ASSISTANT!!!

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ANONYMOUS in Toronto, Ontario

70 months ago

I hear you but now I feel lucky to have a job at all. There are so many dental staff graduating that I will hang on longer with no gratitude while exploring options before I quit. Our office now has a new employee fresh out of assisting course who "loves" her posting with us after only a week. So far she is keeping my boss in line and making all kinds of recommendations that he is looking into for the future of our office.

I wish her luck since she turned down a job offering more money because she liked our staff and friendliness towards her. I liked my boss at first too until things get on his nerves.

Hopefully this ray of sunshine is what we need for calmness for a while.....

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ANONYMOUS in Toronto, Ontario

70 months ago

Tamara in Lynnwood, Washington said: OMG!!!. I just spent some time reading all of your comments. Gee, I need to figure out what I want to do!. I am 43 years old and have been employed p/t, 10 years in a school district as a para-ed (teacher's aide). The benefits are killing me, so that is why i'm considering on finding full time work. The past 2 months, I've been doing my homework and research on going back to school to become a dental front office receptionist or a dental assitant. I was considering in enrolling into a program soon for the end of March/ beginning of April to start a 6-8 week program ($3,000- 2 full days per week). Other accredited colleges would be 6-9 months and cost anywhere from $8k - 12k, f/t school! But now, I am seriously reconsidering it. Is it much harder for women over 40 to find these kinds of jobs? Do DDS tend on hiring much younger recepitionist/ assistants? Any comments would be great!

I learned everything I know about front desk and assisting from the two dentists I worked for and I don't believe the salary would be any better after taking a formal course. The only thing I do not do is take x-rays. Everything else is common sense and the dentist's preferred way of doing things. (I do scheduling, billing. accounts receivable, purchasing, all aspects of insurance claims and trouble shooting, sterilization, set up, suctioning, bookkeeping,patient liason, treatment explanations etc.all provided with a smile). Anybody willing to appreciate these attributes with 30 years experience may contact me at sumtoy@symaptico.ca (Toronto)

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

the ray of sunshine will last until she makes suggestions and the doctor, staff start to boo,hoo then she will become a regular on the show...it is always nice to have someone "new" in the office for everyone...no matter what area they work in....when they become "routine" that is when things start to get on everyone's nerves..unfoutunutely, that is something i have seen in my previous job over and over again...at least you will have some continuity for a while and harmony..enjoy it ; ) meanwhile..i'm still looking or other work... : )

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Old Ass't in Barrie, Ontario

70 months ago

Through bad experiences like everyone elses, I learned some 'safe job hunting' techniques. Please if anyone else knows of any more, please add to the list. It will help keep our sisters safe.

1) See if they have a website, look at the staff pictures. If everyone looks alike, ie: blond or young or a certain body type. STAY AWAY FROM THAT OFFICE.
The dentist is hiring based on sexual preference not ability.

Same advice for if the dentists wife is present at the interview but doesn't work in the office. It means he has a prior history and she doesn't trust him.
Consider wearing an engagement ring if not married.

The quality of the website will also give you a feel for how much the DDS cares about their office.

2)Check the newspapers/job banks regularly to see who is constantly looking for new employees.

3) Talk with other DA's in your town if you can. If in a mall, and the desk is out front stand back unnoticed, watch and evaluate the employees i

4)Check with the dentists governing body to see if THEY have had any complaints about them regarding the quality of their work. You don't want to be put into an uncomfortable situation where you see the DDS is incompetent or neglectful.

5) Check out the cleanliness of the office. Is the fish tank filled with algae? Is the carpet dirty and worn? Are there used trays spread around the sterilization room? How many? Find out why. Does the light in the treatment room have spit bits on it? Is the chair dirty?

These tell you how much time the assistant is given to perform her job correctly and how much the dentist cares.

6) Do the assistants look happy? Do they smile?

7) Ask if a specific time is given during the week/day strickly for cleaning - even if the office is spotless.

8) Is the dentist washed himself/herself?

9) Are dental benefits free? Shows attitude if not.

Thanks for everyones input.

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

Hey, I like your list and yes another issue to look into is if the Dentist has had complaints from employees to the Department of Labor. That is a sure sign he does not run the practice efficiently and staff previous/or current is not happy. Also,check with the State Board Of Dentistry.They will also check into the Doc's history if you have any questions.

As far as staff, in my previous office the Receptionist(S) one in particular is always in his office and seems to need his attention all the time, jealously is also a problem with this person when "new" staff are hired. Sounds silly, but some women are like the "wives" or "think" they are and try to create a wedge between the Doctor and new staff..I've seen it and I now know I will never work in that environment again...typically these women have "no life" and make the office it! Sad...but true...very unhealthy way to work and get ahead...
also, you are right regarding the Website issue, my previous boss still has the website up that is misleading saying, he has a RN on staff, (he never did) all assistants are Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Assistants, another lie there was only ONE and she is gone, which would be me..and he has a Anesthesiologist on staff, another lie...the website still has the "Retired" Doctor listed. long gone at least 2 years,,and most of the website except ironically the patient area to fill out the forms on line is functional..nothing is able to be looked at except the current Doc's credentials...staff,any other info is not up and running...
Unfortunutely, there are all kinds out there and you do have to interview the office if you want to work there not if they accept you...

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

Jenny in New Port Richey, Florida said: I started my own business and have never been happier!

Yeah, it is nice to find something you really love and start your own business, never done it. What do you do and how did you get started? :)

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

Ekb in Barrie, Ontario said: Wow! This makes me nervous! I am a new grad and have just started working 3 months ago. I am going through the exact same thing that everyone else is, my dentist has no respect for any of us and constantly belittles us, we have even had patients comment on it. I am also feeling stressed, I have lost weight and I feel like I am walking on egg-shells all the time....I have started to look for another job, but from what you are all saying, it seems they are all the same! I really hope not...I really like the aspect of my job, but I don't know if I can handle this...and I am new! Is there any hope???

Once they really start to rely on you..and you show more confidence..things start to get better...I worked for 16 years as a Certified Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Assistant and then....he Retired and hired this "Kid" out of school one year or so and knew nothing about staff, running an office and he turned out to be a real jerk..sad for me because I truly loved my job but not enough to be "unappreciated". I did last 16 years in one place so i am proud of that and I was a good assistant/according to my previous boss and patients..
I am now looking to start school as a Medical Assistant.I need a change of pace anyway...there are only so many teeth one can look at in a lifetime...so it was probably best i left...i am actually excited about starting a new career. Also, with the influx of the "Babyboomers" growing old I feel i will be more needed in that field.
Good Luck! with your job, give it a shot,,find a DDS who really appreciates staff,just remember your young it sounds like and you still have a whole future in the field ahead of you.
My advise, MOVE ON if the office/DDS is not working for you..once you are there more than a year you start to get comfortable and will tend not to leave even under the worst of conditions..

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Old Ass't in Barrie, Ontario

70 months ago

Hi, I was once is an interview with a dentist and his wife (she did not work in the office) and they wanted to administer a psychological evaluation. They told me they were doing it for all their employees. I was a part-time Psych major at the time so I asked them about it. The wife wrote it up based on questions she felt were appropriate for the office, questions she got from MAGAZINE articles....like magazines like Cosmopolitan, and such. ???!!!

I knew I wouldn't take the job at that point because they were both obvious Wack-jobs so I asked them to give me a few of the questions for evaluation seeing as I was a Psych major....guess how it went? *Cough Cough* I told them that taking questions from a magazine was simply ridiculous at best, that they were not qualified evaluators, and the chosen questions violated labor laws. They both knew and looked sheepish. I told them that the fact that they knew the questions violated labor laws but still asked them spoke volumes. ie: 'Do I plan to have children?' When?

I also told them that evaluation works both ways and that they certainly must realize that DA's evaluate their prospective bosses. At that they were shocked. They were both so arrogant that they actually said 'I'm the boss I decide who works for me'. I explained they had failed MY evaluation and that even though I am an excellent DA I would not work for them/him based on the interview and that they need to re-think their relationship with their employees because the cream of the crop like myself probably would not work for them.

I asked them how many DA's wanted to come back for their second interview? What was the turn over of ass'ts? They said 'Frequent, but we thought it was because of them, that's why the psychological test'. I told them they needed a business mentor.

Yes the overall tone was controled confrontational, but I just had to do it for the sake of the next asst who would be working in that house of horrors.

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

Unbelievable isn't it? How do employers expect to keep or even hire someone on that basis..and not for nothing but i would run fast if i met the dr. and his wife at an interview.That speaks volumes right there.
It sounds like you did the smart thing...I'm currently waiting on my february 11th Dept. of labor meeting..I actually can not wait,..not only do I want this issue out of my life with my former employer...i want him to see he can not take advantage of people.
Funny thing, when i worked for him he would always say how he liked having me there because I did my job and did not cause him any grief. the women at the desk were always annoying him about something, in the office, cell phone calls when he left (the women at the desk did not get along, so you can imagine how much harrassment he received.)
Now that I am gone over 1 1/2 years I believe through attorneys, dept of labor, etc. I have given him more grief than he had the entire time I worked for him...I think it is pretty funny how things work out...
di : )

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Old Ass't in Barrie, Ontario

70 months ago

It's funny, everyone talks about the poor dentist and their high rate of suicide, but no one seems to correlate it to how they handle their overall practice. It's not strictly because they have to deal with sour patients and nasty mouths, it's also because they treat their staff like slaves then get misery back from them for it.

Having 2-5 pissed-off women in one office is surely enough to make anyone
'Off' themselves, yet dental colleges seem to repeatedly pump out DDS's who are arrogant and impossible to work for. You would think this issue would be addressed. Surely these men and women were not like that prior to entering university? So where did they learn to be a boss like that? Unpaid overtime, no benefits, no job security, low pay, high expectations, sexual exploitation.

But as much as I complain, our profession needs to help itself in a meaningful way. There needs to be chapters in each city - this would be a place where DA's could meet and support each other - also it would be a place where DDS's who were impossible to work for would become obvious. eg: 7 girls out of a 10 person chaper all having worked for the same dentist for short periods of time....no one needs to say anything....it's obvious there is a problem with the office.

Personally I think DA's need to be unionized, for their own protection but until that comes all we can do is vent here - then maybe some dentist will read it and try to be a little better employer.

Old Asst

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Jade in Toronto, Ontario

70 months ago

I have never responded to one of these blogs but alos have never seen a blog that has to do with assistants but I have a lot to say baout being a dental assistant. I have been a dental assistant for 6+ years now and have come to find that most dentists are condescending, patronizing, arrogant and self-centred. The most recent doctor I work with is such a pleasure to be honest.... After all these years I actually found a dentist that is appreciative, thoughtful, patient, fun etc. Seriously I have worked with so many a-holes.... It is like winning the lottery or tryin to find a needle in a haystack. I recently work with a dentist that came from Europe and he would bark at me and that was the way he was but I would always be on edge when I came to work and as the years pass it has traumatized me to a point where I am nervous all the time worryin about when they are gonna snap at me... I never talk back cuz they are my boss and I don't wanna get fired but most dentists are a-holes I have to say... The dentist now tells me I have to be more relaxed but after 6 years of abuse from dentists treating me like crap it is hard to relax... The funny thing is most patients think their dentists are sweet and great but think about it y would they be rude to the patients...they want their money....Dah!!! I wanted to be a hygienist when I was in grade 11 and after completing the dental assisting course in George Brown and working for many dentists I really do not have the passion anymore to do the dental hygiene course... Dentists behavior towards me over the years have made me lose passion for my job/career which is really a shame cuz I know I am a wonderful assistant... All I have to say is if U are someones assistant, anyoe, U should be appreciated and treated with respect especially in front of patients... it is very rude, humiliating, degrading and disrespectful to put down or yell at someone that works for u in front of other people... How does that make the dentist????

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Old Ass't in Barrie, Ontario

70 months ago

Hi Jade,

I'm so happy for you that you've found a dentist who is kind. It will take a while to decompress - don't give up hope for a future in Hygiene yet. Or perhaps the front desk?

Maybe this website will help you vent. We understand and have also been through it.

Old Ass't

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di in Wyckoff, New Jersey

70 months ago

Exactly..... ; )

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Ann in Victoria, British Columbia

70 months ago

I'm so happy I can now say "Take This Job and Shove It!"
I am leaving and never coming back.

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