Dislike Dental Assisting but loves Hygiene??

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sprkleyez08 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

86 months ago

I am a little lost and I am curious to know whether or not I am the only one. I read through the forum and have notice some People have been in Dental Assistant for as long as 10+ years. I couldn't stand it for one year. I've always been into teeth and decided in Highschool that I wanted to go into Dental Hygiene. To get a better feel of the dental field, I went to School for Dental Assistance, Graduated with Honors and started a job. I worked in a few diffrent offices and decided after one year; I didn't like Assisting. I worked full time and had no time to focus on my Hygiene Pre-reqs( most classes was offered during morning hours) And I felt like I was running around being everyone's work horse. I was under paid and most of all, underapprciated. I disliked anticipating what the doctors wanted all the time ( they know better than I) and being held responsible when things went wrong ( even though the Dr's were mainly at fault). I had so little patient interaction, at one point, a patient said " what are you, apart of the cleaning crew?". That was the last straw. I mean, even I would have thought that ( since I was always breaking down, and setting up operatories). My dental Assistant class mate asked me " If you don't like Assisting, what makes you think you will like Hygiene". And this is where I am at. Since I could college plan, I planned on going to school for Hygiene. Time has passed, here I am 22 years old and I am still trying to go for Hygiene. I graduated Highschool in 2004. Four years have passed and I am still chasing a dream... that seems so far away. Should I still chase it, should I go into something else? And above all.. if I hate Assisting what makes me think I'll love HYgiene?. Any advice would help, thanks.

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L.P. in Torrington, Connecticut

85 months ago

Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Go back to that dream you have; What was it about the dental field that attracted you to it-- was it the connection with people? Teeth? Is there another career that would fulfill that dream? Does it need to be a career or can it be a past-time?

If dental hygene is how you want to make a living(maybe you want to be a dentist?!), then being an assistant is a logical starting place for you. Don't fill your head with negative thoughts and doubts like how no one appreciates you (that may not be true); that's just a waste of time/energy for you and takes your focus away from your goal. Don't give up, if you have a dream.

I assure you, someone else (a dental hygenist, perhaps)has been in your shoes. Once you become a hygenist yourself, you'll remember what you went through and treat with kindness and understanding that young assistant who works with you.

You know already what you want/need to do. Listen to advice, but trust your own wisdom.

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sprkleyez08 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

85 months ago

L.P. in Torrington, Connecticut said: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Go back to that dream you have; What was it about the dental field that attracted you to it-- was it the connection with people? Teeth? Is there another career that would fulfill that dream? Does it need to be a career or can it be a past-time?

If dental hygene is how you want to make a living(maybe you want to be a dentist?!), then being an assistant is a logical starting place for you. Don't fill your head with negative thoughts and doubts like how no one appreciates you (that may not be true); that's just a waste of time/energy for you and takes your focus away from your goal. Don't give up, if you have a dream.

I assure you, someone else (a dental hygenist, perhaps)has been in your shoes. Once you become a hygenist yourself, you'll remember what you went through and treat with kindness and understanding that young assistant who works with you.

You know already what you want/need to do. Listen to advice, but trust your own wisdom.

Thanks for responding to the post. Yeah you are right I do know what I want. I guess the experience as an Assistant haven't been the best. I've gotten caught up in office politics and forgot for a moment why I am doing what I am doing ( helping people). Beside the office politics I also just dislike not being the operator. I work best when I am leading. As an assistant I was doing much of the following.

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Sarah in Chicago, Illinois

85 months ago

I am a dental hygienist and I absolutely HATE it. People don't respect you - most do not even know you have to go to school to do it and you get treated like [Edited by Host] <inappropriate language deleted>
by the dentists. Being a DDS or DMD isn't like being a brain surgeon but by God the dentists want to be treated like that!

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New rdh in Moorpark, California

85 months ago

I understand that u maybe having a bad experience but not all of us rdh's work with such [Edited by Host] <inappropriate language deleted>
dentists. I believe if u find the right working environent you can love it like I do!! ;)

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Sprkleyez08 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

85 months ago

Hello everyone. Thanks for your replies. I mean I hear both side of the spectrum. Most Hygienist I talk to actually like Hygiene. Many of which, never had to assist before they went for hygiene.They didnt have much to compare it to other than the diffrence in Pay. Assisting should be a good stepping stone, but I am not too fond of it. I think that who you work for is important. Most of my issues were with the office politics. I guess I always got the brunt of things since I was the Assistant. What I am trying to figure out is.. do you think Hygienist have more Authority than a Dental Assistant. And if so.. authority over whom?. I mean as an Assistant it seems like I was taking orders from the front desk, the Hygienist as well as the Doctor. I mean, whats the chain of command usually?.

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little nicky in Cleveland, Ohio

85 months ago

Hey, this is just my two cents....

I was really suprised last time I went to the dentist and saw firsthand how badly the assistant there was being treated. The others didn't hide it, they were very openly hostile. I felt SOOO bad for her. She really tried to be happy and upbeat, but every time I went in there she seemed a little more worn away till the last time I went, she was gone. And yes, the dentist would yell at her in front of me, blame her for just about everything, and expect her to know what she was thinking and needing that very second.

The hygienist there was treated like some sort of Goddess or something. I found her very arrogant.
Not an isolated incident, I have seen this happen at alot of dental offices.

I never went back there again. I do wonder what ever happened to that young girl. Perhaps she is now a hygienist???

My advice would be to forget about assisting, aim for higher!

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Maryam in New Westminster, British Columbia

85 months ago

sprkleyez08 You're not alone.
I'm in the same boat as you. I became a dental assistant with intentions to get a feel for the dental environment and later go into hygiene. I have only been an assistant for 3 months and I absolutely hate it. I like the dental part of the job like polishing, OHI, things that you can do by yourself and not need the dentist around... but hate the assisting part. Esp when you first start as a new grad you don't just have one boss...the entire office becomes your boss
Last week one of the patients said to me "so what do you do? just clean after the dentist right?"...I made a joke about it and said "yea i'm a dental maid"

Here's why I have decided to go to hygiene...
I enjoy the work when is one on one (me and the patient)
You have your own room, nobody really bugs you for anything..
You can build a relationship with the patient because it's one on one again....
You're respected for what you do..more than assisting..
You're not bossed around...
It's more focused than assisting...less variety (endo,filling,crowns etc..so you get very good what you do..
More flexibility in your hours...
You dont have to work as much if you don’t want to....ie when you have children..
Much higher pay...

....bottom line...you're not alone hun :D

Good luck!

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Jaynie in Los Angeles, California

84 months ago

Don't give up your goal! I kept procrastinating about hygiene school for many years and finally did it at the age of 30. Do it now and just as that other person said it make you more of a team player.Plus you have accomplished something that no one can ever take from you. A degree.

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Jaynie in Los Angeles, California

84 months ago

In the office I work in as a hygienist it is still the same. The front office seems to have this hierarchy over everyone in the office. They think they can tell the hygienist what to do. Ie: pull charts or file. The assistants get mad at the hygienist for not doing instruments or not cleaning the room. It doesn't change. The only thing that will make it good for you is that; like me, you were and assistant first so you can apprieciate the assisants more. I think as long as you just go and be good at what you do and have a smile on your face then it will work out. You just have to find the right place.

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Annonymous in Kelowna, British Columbia

84 months ago

"The only thing that will make it good for you is that; like me, you were and assistant first so you can apprieciate the assisants more".

I resent this quote a little bit as I am a dental hygienist and never do I not appreciate the assistants. There is some very WRONG perception out there that just because we make more, we look down on assistants. This is simply not true. I never say their job is easy but they sure like to tell me how easy mine is and how overpaid we are. FYI hygiene is no picnic! It is a hard job doing the same exact task every hour for 8+ hours/day hunched over. Patients can be difficult especially if their hygiene hasn't been controlled. Smoker's are especially hard to work with as they typically have raging periodontal disease, don't like to come back for multiple appointments and don't want local anesthetic. It's incredibly distressing working on patients that you know you are hurting but won't let you work on them with freezing. Then they leave with a big scowl on their face and complain to the receptionist that you hurt them when all you were trying to do was to help them hang on to their teeth for as long as they can. Reception will commonly book you 30 minutes for teenagers that need 40-50 minute appointments so then you are behind all day and patients will complain when you are late.....yet we're never supposed to say anything when they're late. Often you will need 1.5 hour x2 appointments to do patients with anesthetic but reception will only book 1 hour, then you need to try to convince the patient to come 3 times! If they won't, then however infrequently they do come in, you will never see resolution in their gingival health......ie: there is often no rewarding experience in knowing you've done a job well. You can't get warm fuzzy feelings from a paycheque. I often go home from work sobbing. My advice.....stay away from hygiene.

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J in Valley Village, California

84 months ago

Then why did you do it? You complain about the assistants giving you a hard time. And the office you work in doesn't sound like you are having a good experience there. Find another job or get out of hygiene! It is very seldom that you have a patient that has gone from scaling and root planning to excellent OH. You need to communicate with them the importance of heathly gums. Which I am sure you do. You can go home feeling that you have tried to do your part and if the patient doesn't listen at least you have tried!! Don't cry about work, it is a hard job, but if you are so sad then find another office to work in. Good Luck!

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dj in Glen Allen, Virginia

80 months ago

Yeah, I've been a dental assistant for 12 years; At one time i thought i was going to go to hygiene school. I have finally came to a conclusion that i just hate the dental field. Working in a dentist office feels like such a dead end. You don't make nearly as much as you should and you are doing all the grunt work. The worse part is working for a lazy ass dentist that can't even throw their gloves in the trashcan and you have to go behind them to pick them up. It is the World's Most Annoying Job!!! You might as well be someones personal assistant 'cause that is what you are. I also love the fact that some dentist get stressed out. "It's not open heart surgery, it's just a tooth!" I think a brain surgeon should be more stressed.

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mpjp in Bristow, Virginia

80 months ago

sprkleyez08 in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: I am a little lost and I am curious to know whether or not I am the only one. I read through the forum and have notice some People have been in Dental Assistant for as long as 10+ years. I couldn't stand it for one year. I've always been into teeth and decided in Highschool that I wanted to go into Dental Hygiene. To get a better feel of the dental field, I went to School for Dental Assistance, Graduated with Honors and started a job. I worked in a few diffrent offices and decided after one year; I didn't like Assisting. I worked full time and had no time to focus on my Hygiene Pre-reqs( most classes was offered during morning hours) And I felt like I was running around being everyone's work horse. I was under paid and most of all, underapprciated. I disliked anticipating what the doctors wanted all the time ( they know better than I) and being held responsible when things went wrong ( even though the Dr's were mainly at fault). I had so little patient interaction, at one point, a patient said " what are you, apart of the cleaning crew?". That was the last straw. I mean, even I would have thought that ( since I was always breaking down, and setting up operatories). My dental Assistant class mate asked me " If you don't like Assisting, what makes you think you will like Hygiene". And this is where I am at. Since I could college plan, I planned on going to school for Hygiene. Time has passed, here I am 22 years old and I am still trying to go for Hygiene. I graduated Highschool in 2004. Four years have passed and I am still chasing a dream... that seems so far away. Should I still chase it, should I go into something else? And above all.. if I hate Assisting what makes me think I'll love HYgiene?. Any advice would help, thanks.

I was a dental assistant for 7 years before getting into hygiene and I love it you dont get the slave feeling

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J in Los Angeles, California

80 months ago

You do not get the slave feeling!! As long as you find the right office to work in it will be great! You are sort of your owm boss but you still have to go by the office rules, but other than that you are more respected as a hygienist!! Don't chase... do it!

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D in Brooklyn, New York

80 months ago

Hi,
My advice to you is go on to become a dental hygienist!!!!! I'm also 22, currently working part time as a dental assistant, and I'm a full time dental hygiene student. Although I'm not a hygienist quite yet, I can surely tell you that assistanting and being a hygienist are two totaly different things! The dental assistant is more like the cleaning lady.. You don't interact with patients, nor do you learn much about the field since you're too busy cleaning and thinking of what you're gonna clean next. When you're a hygienist on the other hand.. interacting with patients is one of the most important things since you're acctually teaching them home care and explaining to them what's going on in their mouth. I too really dislike being an assistant, although I am really happy learning and performing dental hygiene! I can't wait to become a dental hygienist and start working, I think that I'm really going to enjoy it, it's really interesting. If hygiene interests you, then you should go for it because like I said before it's too totally different things. Don't waste anymore time, apply to a program, it's only two years.. before you know it you'll be a hygienist. Once you're in the program you can figure out if this career is really for you.
P.S. In some up-scale dental offices the hygienist gets her own assistant! :)
Good Luck :)

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Debbi in Aurora, Colorado

80 months ago

This has been really interesting for me to read because it has been my life too. I began dental assisting in high school to get out of class for a half day. I became obsessed with teeth and wanted to learn WHY I was doing things like setting up tofflemeier bands. I went to assisting school and graduated with an associate degree. I worked as an assistant for over 10 years, never more than 2 years in any office. I resented the lack of control I had over anything. Took time off to have kids then went back because a DA job is very portable and I had the experience. Finally at age 31 I began hygiene school to double my salary. I always thought hygiene looked boring. The same procedure 8-10 times a day, no variety, and I thought as an assistant I had to know more than the tooth cleaner. Little did I know. In hygiene school I was challenged to grow from where I was. I've never been bored because each patient is different. I've worked in the same office for over 10 years now and I still don't dread going to work each morning. The trick is to find an office where you fit and that's not easy. I would totally encourage you to pursue your dream. A very wise man told me "never delay your education" and that gave me the kick in the pants I needed to get going. Good luck.

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karen king in Powder Springs, Georgia

80 months ago

I find it intresting when reading these comments. I have been a dental hygientist for 20 years. I worked as a dental assistant while finishing my Bs degree. I have also worked in every position within a dental office short of being the dentist. We always think the grass in greener on the other side, but truth is, no career in dentistry is better then another. I have found that most dentists have a "I'm a "doctor" phobia! They are so insecure with themselves, they are afraid and unwilling to delegate any authority to anyone else. because the dentist does not respect an employee the patients in turn have no respect for them. If I had it to do over-again, I would not have majored in dental hygiene and would get a degree in business. your opportunities are limitless then. I have been a practicing dental hygienist for 20 years, 5 years in college, and a dental assitant before and thru college. I love dental hygiene but all practices in dentistry are the same. You will never be respected and/or appreciated. If I were 22years old I would start again with no hesitation! I am 43 years old, and even now considering going back to school.

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Brandy Cheek in Georgetown, South Carolina

80 months ago

Hi
I am a dental hygienist and have been for 9 years. I absolutely hated it after the first 2 years. I loved the patients and I even loved the office and dentist where I worked, but the monotony of it just wore me down. I never thought I would dislike it due to the great hours and great pay, but I was wrong. When I was in school I was told by my instructors that the burnout rate for hygienists was 5 years. I hit my burnout way before that. I would just try to figure out what it is that you think you will love about hygiene and go from there. Maybe visit your local school and ask lots of questions of the staff and students. I am no longer practicing, I actually became a preschool teacher at my daughters school and love it. I really do miss the money, but I am much happier now.
Good luck

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meka in Victorville, California

79 months ago

yea i want to be a dental hygienist i graduate in 2010 but like i want to go strait to it u think i should do that or whats another carrer

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TashaDawn24 in Grande Prairie, Alberta

79 months ago

Hi. I am a student taking an independant study program in Dental assisting level 1 through NAIT in Edmonton Alberta. I live in Grande Prairie Alberta and I'm working Monday-Thursay in a dental office as a dental assistant having my Fridays and weekends off for studying. At first I lucked out! There was another girl at the office early 20s just as I am and we happened to be taking the same course! Well that worked out well and ever since then we've helped eachother out not only in schooling but with the day to day tasks of being a dental assistant.
There is also another dental assistant except that she happens to be a RDA level 2. She's awesome, helps us out and very patient with the both of us. The 3 hygienists, well they are very educated and haughty but also factual and appreciative. The dentist, our boss is quite the character..expects every employee to work her hardest and her fastest with out any whining, no whining just results! He has his favourites and he also likes to stir up his crew in the back and make us all competitive with one another. He enjoys gossiping about other employees while youre assisting him, quite the gong show actually lol.
So along comes our new addition to the office...another RDA level 2. She is very bossy, extremely meticulous and finicky about everything. Which I figured in some ways was just the way we have to be also in order to be up to par with the cleaning standards. I try to get along with everyone but this girl seemed to have it out for me. I kept telling myself not to think that way, that she's only doing her job and trying to help. Yet she makes random comments out loud like.."I love pushing people around its fun, people say Im demanding and I am, I just like things to be a certain way." She'd say to the other student and I, "I TOLD YOU TO GET ON YOUR HANDS AND KNEES AND RE-DO IT NOW!" Oh and one of the hygienists thanks me to no end and then jokes by saying,"You're like my little b****! "Honestly I feel like one:

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TashaDawn24 in Grande Prairie, Alberta

79 months ago

I heard of office politics from other dental assistants before I even decided to be one... I guess Im just a very sensitive person, though I can joke back when Im not having one of those days if you know what I mean. I know what it feels like to be the assistant now..the entire office is your boss and everybody wants you to know it! It's really stressful. I guess no matter where you go there's a pecking order but I don't want it to drive me mad! When people demand me to do things without discretion or tact whatsoever it can wear me down. When co-workers make jokes like.."youre like my little b****", how am I supposed to respond? Smile and joke back by saying..."Be careful or Ill b**** slap you," or what? Sometimes I just laugh, brush it off, do what Im supposed to cause that's what I'm being paid for right?..But I don't want the lack of respect and belittling thats going on or sooner or later I'm going to just end up hating my job. I don't want to boss others around to make up for how I'm feeling, thats just not in my nature. Welcome to the hierarchy of the dental office, I sure hope I figure out how to hold on to my self-respect and that of others when I get pushed to my limit. I guess thats when prayer comes in to play..good luck to all of you:)

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sjstokke in La Crosse, Wisconsin

79 months ago

I have been in the dental field for 8 years. I'm 27 years old. I worked as a dental assistant first and then got my hygiene license in 2007. In my area the dental hygiene field is swamped. No hygiene openings for miles around. I do not want to move. I finally got a hygiene job after working as an assistant with a hygiene license. I would numb patients and still receive dental assisting wages. Well now i work for a periodontist. I really do not like dental hygiene. It is always hurry up and get done, with every patient. If one patient shows up 15mins late then your whole day is off and the next patient if mad they have to wait. Dr.s want to hire you for three days a week to avoid giving health benefits. Let's face it people do not like going to the dentist. I don't like how my neck is sore every night. I didn't like working when I was pregnant. I had to lean over my big belly. Not being able to stop to rest. I was over worked and underpaid.
I still work for the same periodontist but I'm taking night school at a private college. I will get my Ba in health information. I will continue at it until I graduate or snap and quit. My advice would be if you don't need benefits and you have a strong personality an can stand up to egotistical men, then go for it. If you want good benifits and a less stressed job pick something else. The money is not worth the pain.
Dont forget the risks of working on people with diseases. I feel like I have to shower after work every night to decontaminate.
Good luck to all and remember to stand up and speak up! We only live once!

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j in Los Angeles, California

79 months ago

It is very true what you are saying, but should you shower every night anyways before you go to bed? And if you take ifection control courses then you would know how to take precautions.

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dentalslave in Temple, Texas

79 months ago

dj in Glen Allen, Virginia said: Yeah, I've been a dental assistant for 12 years; At one time i thought i was going to go to hygiene school. I have finally came to a conclusion that i just hate the dental field. Working in a dentist office feels like such a dead end. You don't make nearly as much as you should and you are doing all the grunt work. The worse part is working for a lazy ass dentist that can't even throw their gloves in the trashcan and you have to go behind them to pick them up. It is the World's Most Annoying Job!!! You might as well be someones personal assistant 'cause that is what you are. I also love the fact that some dentist get stressed out. "It's not open heart surgery, it's just a tooth!" I think a brain surgeon should be more stressed.

Hey, I also am a underappreciated dental assistant, for 5 yrs. I have tolerated being treated like a second class citizen next to front office people who are total idiots, and hygienists who are total premadonnas. I actually like my dentist OK, but there is no doubt he is greedy like all the rest of them. If he isn't producing $10,000 a day, he is in a tizzy. I am so tired of this crap. And what's so special about cleaning crap off people's teeth, again? They couldn't do my job for one day! And how about front office people who whine all day about how hard they are working, while sitting on their behinds in a cushy chair all day? I know that I chose the wrong profession, but what can I do? I have to feed my family, and I can't afford, nor do I want to go to school to learn a bunch of crap you don't need to know to clean food off people's teeth all day?

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maggie in Erie, Pennsylvania

79 months ago

dentalslave in Temple, Texas said: Hey, I also am a underappreciated dental assistant, for 5 yrs. I have tolerated being treated like a second class citizen next to front office people who are total idiots, and hygienists who are total premadonnas. I actually like my dentist OK, but there is no doubt he is greedy like all the rest of them. If he isn't producing $10,000 a day, he is in a tizzy. I am so tired of this crap. And what's so special about cleaning crap off people's teeth, again? They couldn't do my job for one day! And how about front office people who whine all day about how hard they are working, while sitting on their behinds in a cushy chair all day? I know that I chose the wrong profession, but what can I do? I have to feed my family, and I can't afford, nor do I want to go to school to learn a bunch of crap you don't need to know to clean food off people's teeth all day?

when i went to hgyiene school I had a family and drove 2 hrs from where I live to go to hygiene school and still worked 30 hrs a week to make it. working in a private practice with is bull____ no mater if your working front desk, as an assistant or a hygienist. And yes, I've done your job all day. and it's not cleaning crap off of people's teeth all day. hygiene curriculum is just as difficult as dental school, and not everyone can do my job. i have met assistants that could not get through the first semester of hygiene school. again, working in a private office is all about making money for one person, and we all know who that is. don't disregsrd what you don't have any knowledge of first hand. Personnally, after all i did to become a hygienist, its not worth it. I am going to work for 2years as ahygienist on a military base and continue my bachelors degree online that i'm working on. and after that, i'm going for pharmacy. i was going to go for dental, but there is no way i want people veiwing me the way i and most people view dentist.

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j in Los Angeles, California

79 months ago

I agree with Maggie! And you dentalslave, sounds like the one who is doing the whining all day!! Get over it and just get along already!!! Go to hygiene school and see what is so special about cleaning food off of someones teeth! There is way more to it than that. The dentist trusts you to make the right decisions with the patients health, diagnosis, treatment, and so on. So family or not you can go to school. If you don't go to school that is the path you chose in life! I was pregnant in my first year in hygiene school. Then I took a year off, then I went back to school with a one year old! Trust me, it can be done. Deal with it or do something!!!

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MELYNDA in San Diego, California

78 months ago

I LOVE BEING A DENTAL ASSISTANT.....EVERY DAY NO EVERY HOUR IS A NEW CASE........A NEW PERSON AND A NEW CHALLENGE......I HAVE NEVER FELT SECOND CLASS TO ANYONE IN THE OFFICE.....IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHO YOU WORK FOR AND WITH......I LOVE GETTING TO SEE AND DO MOST EVERYTHING THE DENTIST DOES......WITHOUT ANY OF THE LIABILITIES HE OR SHE MAY HAVE......I DO MY JOB GET A PRETTY REASONABLE SALARY AND ENJOY LIFE......I COULD BE WORKING AT SOME OFFICE ANSWERING PHONES OR TRYING TO SELL CRAP....SO IT COULD BE WORSE YOU KNOW.....SO TRY TO FIND A NEW OFFICE ONE WITH A DENTIST WHOM IS ENJOYABLE AND FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH THE PATH YOU HAVE CHOSEN.......DONT LET ARROGANT OR INCONSIDERATE IGNORANT PEOPLE MAKE YOU FEEL INSIGNIFICANT WITH OUT THE ASSISTANT THE DENTIST WOULD BE RENDERED PRETTY HELPLESS CAUSE PRODUCTIVITY WOULD DROP AND HE OR SHE COULD NOT PUSH PATIENTS THROUGH AS FAST AS THEY CAN WITH AN ASSISTANT SO TAKE PRIDE IN THE FACT THAT YOU ARE A MAJOR PART OF THE DENTAL TEAM!!!!!!!!!

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Quoria2005

77 months ago

Hello, everyone. First I would like to say that I am currently about to go to school for Dental Assisting. After reading some of these comments, I was kind of sad and shocked about how the DA's are treated and viewed. There were good comments here and there, but the bad far outweiged the good. However, I do have a friend who graduated from the same school that i will be attending in Feb. and she is now working at a prestigous dental firm, and she loves it. I am 22 yrs old. I am not going to give up....heck I haven't even started yet, lol!!!! Maybe.... just maybe when i graduate, I will find a dentist that appreciates my work, and pays me fairly. Everyone keep smiling, keep your heads up, and always do your best. Eventually IT WILL PAY OFF! Oh by the way, what about Dental Office Management, I hear they get paid good. And also, do anyone work for like a clinic....not a private dental office? I would assume the pay would be higher and the service and interaction with the employees better.

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MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota

77 months ago

@ Quoria2005:

I agree with you. It's nice to see positive comments but this board is bombarded with negative comments. I'm 24yrs old and now returning to school, going for Dental Assisting. I was in school for over 3yrs going for Registered Nursing and I changed my mind later :-(
I plan to go for Dental Hygiene once I'm working as a Dental Assistant.

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MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota

77 months ago

Quoria2005 said: Hello, everyone. First I would like to say that I am currently about to go to school for Dental Assisting. After reading some of these comments, I was kind of sad and shocked about how the DA's are treated and viewed. There were good comments here and there, but the bad far outweiged the good. However, I do have a friend who graduated from the same school that i will be attending in Feb. and she is now working at a prestigous dental firm, and she loves it. I am 22 yrs old. I am not going to give up....heck I haven't even started yet, lol!!!! Maybe.... just maybe when i graduate, I will find a dentist that appreciates my work, and pays me fairly. Everyone keep smiling, keep your heads up, and always do your best. Eventually IT WILL PAY OFF! Oh by the way, what about Dental Office Management, I hear they get paid good. And also, do anyone work for like a clinic....not a private dental office? I would assume the pay would be higher and the service and interaction with the employees better.

Just out of curiousity, how much does your friend make as a Dental Assistant?

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j in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

Don't go to dental assisting school, get your prerequisites out of the way and go straight to hygiene!!! You make more money, and you are respected more because you have an education!!

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j in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

little nicky in Cleveland, Ohio said: Hey, this is just my two cents....

I was really suprised last time I went to the dentist and saw firsthand how badly the assistant there was being treated. The others didn't hide it, they were very openly hostile. I felt SOOO bad for her. She really tried to be happy and upbeat, but every time I went in there she seemed a little more worn away till the last time I went, she was gone. And yes, the dentist would yell at her in front of me, blame her for just about everything, and expect her to know what she was thinking and needing that very second.

The hygienist there was treated like some sort of Goddess or something. I found her very arrogant.
Not an isolated incident, I have seen this happen at alot of dental offices.

I never went back there again. I do wonder what ever happened to that young girl. Perhaps she is now a hygienist???

My advice would be to forget about assisting, aim for higher!

Yes that doctor should have never spoken to her in such a way in front of you! However, hygienist make money for the doctors, therefore should get a little more respect!

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j in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

meka in Victorville, California said: yea i want to be a dental hygienist i graduate in 2010 but like i want to go strait to it u think i should do that or whats another carrer

I would think about english 101 classes! Its a good start!

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Quoria2005

77 months ago

MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: Just out of curiousity, how much does your friend make as a Dental Assistant?

I'm not sure, if I find out i'll let you know. But the point is that she's happy....something that many on this board say that is lacking being a dental assistant.

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Quoria2005

77 months ago

MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: @ Quoria2005:

I agree with you. It's nice to see positive comments but this board is bombarded with negative comments. I'm 24yrs old and now returning to school, going for Dental Assisting. I was in school for over 3yrs going for Registered Nursing and I changed my mind later :-(
I plan to go for Dental Hygiene once I'm working as a Dental Assistant.

Yes, I just didn't like all the negativaty...so I decided to sweeten it up a bit, lol. But I wish you the best in all your endeavors, and I am so ready to start my classes!! When I finish my classes and get the Diploma for DA, I am going back later to get my A.S. degree in Dental Office Management. It's 9 extra months, but I think it will be well worth it!!!!

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j in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

Quoria2005 said: Yes, I just didn't like all the negativaty...so I decided to sweeten it up a bit, lol. But I wish you the best in all your endeavors, and I am so ready to start my classes!! When I finish my classes and get the Diploma for DA, I am going back later to get my A.S. degree in Dental Office Management. It's 9 extra months, but I think it will be well worth it!!!!

Just go to hygiene school! Spend that time going to a community college and get your prerequisites done for hygiene! Get a degree in dental hygiene!! Don't waste your time with anything else!! It is a great career!

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MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota

77 months ago

Quoria2005 said: Yes, I just didn't like all the negativaty...so I decided to sweeten it up a bit, lol. But I wish you the best in all your endeavors, and I am so ready to start my classes!! When I finish my classes and get the Diploma for DA, I am going back later to get my A.S. degree in Dental Office Management. It's 9 extra months, but I think it will be well worth it!!!!

Aww thanks for your well wishes! I wish you the best too!

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MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota

77 months ago

I'm going to Dental Assisting school until summer 2010 (the program starts in fall 2009 so that's less than a year). After that, I'll go to a community college for an Associate in Dental Hygiene (18 months). After that, I'll transfer to a bachelors program in Dental Hygiene (18 months).
I thought it would be best for me to get my foot in the door first by working as a Dental Assistant while I attend Dental Hygiene school.

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j in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

Make sure you do it! You will get comfortable making decent money as an assistant and then procrastinate about hygiene!

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Keri in Cortland, New York

77 months ago

j in LA, I am glad that you enjoy your job so much. I went to hygiene school 14 yrs ago, it's not for everybody. I have let my license laps and am now licensed in assisting. You are right about some offices; dentists and hygientists respectfully, not treating the assistants as they should. But in most states doctors will hire staff off the street, and get what they pay for. Many assistants do not have proper education and skills to earn their respect and salary. Many of my closest friends still practice hygiene and are happy with their career choice. But it also doesn't mean that someone like myself would be better off in your position. I work with a great team in a small office with one doctor, and have been there for 10yrs. I have no intention of regaining my license or ever practicing hygiene again. My patients and co-workers are very happy with me, and I of them. Just wondering if you ever ask your LPN to go get her/his RN?

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MistyBee in Minneapolis, Minnesota

77 months ago

j in Los Angeles, California said: Make sure you do it! You will get comfortable making decent money as an assistant and then procrastinate about hygiene!

I take my education seriously, so it is my goal to go to Hygiene school. Dental Assistants dont even make close to what Hygienists make, so that would be another motivation lol. Thanks for the encouragement :-)

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changeofheart

77 months ago

Sprkleyez08 in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: Hello everyone. Thanks for your replies. I mean I hear both side of the spectrum. Most Hygienist I talk to actually like Hygiene. Many of which, never had to assist before they went for hygiene.They didnt have much to compare it to other than the diffrence in Pay. Assisting should be a good stepping stone, but I am not too fond of it. I think that who you work for is important. Most of my issues were with the office politics. I guess I always got the brunt of things since I was the Assistant. What I am trying to figure out is.. do you think Hygienist have more Authority than a Dental Assistant. And if so.. authority over whom?. I mean as an Assistant it seems like I was taking orders from the front desk, the Hygienist as well as the Doctor. I mean, whats the chain of command usually?.

I am a 1st yr rad tech student in eau claire. i am thinking about coming to MN for dental assisting and then go for a DH degree instead. i dislike the routine of rad techs but love the patient aspect. plus pay is much better for a DH. so in a way i know how you are thinking. dont worry about age, you can aim for any goal as long as you have the drive for it. plus you can ask your employer to assit you in your schooling pursuit of a DH degree. may i ask which school you attended and/or plan to attend for your DH degree?

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RDH Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

77 months ago

sprkleyez08 in Minneapolis, Minnesota said: I am a little lost and I am curious to know whether or not I am the only one. I read through the forum and have notice some People have been in Dental Assistant for as long as 10+ years. I couldn't stand it for one year. I've always been into teeth and decided in Highschool that I wanted to go into Dental Hygiene. To get a better feel of the dental field, I went to School for Dental Assistance, Graduated with Honors and started a job. I worked in a few diffrent offices and decided after one year; I didn't like Assisting. I worked full time and had no time to focus on my Hygiene Pre-reqs( most classes was offered during morning hours) And I felt like I was running around being everyone's work horse. I was under paid and most of all, underapprciated. I disliked anticipating what the doctors wanted all the time ( they know better than I) and being held responsible when things went wrong ( even though the Dr's were mainly at fault). I had so little patient interaction, at one point, a patient said " what are you, apart of the cleaning crew?". That was the last straw. I mean, even I would have thought that ( since I was always breaking down, and setting up operatories). My dental Assistant class mate asked me " If you don't like Assisting, what makes you think you will like Hygiene". And this is where I am at. Since I could college plan, I planned on going to school for Hygiene. Time has passed, here I am 22 years old and I am still trying to go for Hygiene. I graduated Highschool in 2004. Four years have passed and I am still chasing a dream... that seems so far away. Should I still chase it, should I go into something else? And above all.. if I hate Assisting what makes me think I'll love HYgiene?. Any advice would help, thanks.

Hi, I have been practicing in hygiene for 14 yrs. It is my opinion that dental hygiene is one of the most abusive jobs I've ever been in. Plus there are no jobs right now.

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RDH Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

77 months ago

Sarah in Chicago, Illinois said: I am a dental hygienist and I absolutely HATE it. People don't respect you - most do not even know you have to go to school to do it and you get treated like [Edited by Host] <inappropriate language deleted>
by the dentists. Being a DDS or DMD isn't like being a brain surgeon but by God the dentists want to be treated like that!

YEP! I agree with you 100% Doctors look down on hygienists, eventhough we are as smart as they are, and we are more ethical than some dentists I've worked for. Ex. an HMO practice who told patients they needed a scale and root plane when the patients did not need it. Or, offices where the assistants disinfect, never having microbiology, and they get "huffy" when a hygienist recommends the right way. I've seen it where chair, handle, instruments covers have been left on all day. Assistants boss the hygienist around, and if we ask for help they blow us off, and aren't held accountable. The front desk is a joke, many examples I've read in the dental hygiene forum are true.

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Jas in Winnipeg, Manitoba

77 months ago

You comment gave me a good laugh. I have just recently graduated from Dental Assisting as well, and am not even excited about it at all!! Throughout the whole course I kept saying to myself, why am I even doing this? I don;t love teeth or the dental industry. I did it because of my parents...and now I regret it sooo much. I have a job interview tomorrow that I'm dreading to go to...i'm nervrous and just not excited about it at all.

I think I need to tell my parents, its my life and I should pick a career that makes me happy and career that will actually make we want to get out of bed and go to work!!! I'm 24 so i'm worried maybe I'm to old for school again, or im wastin my time though?

yeah so If you donn't like assisting my dear, I dont't think hygiene will be any different...think long and hard before you go into it!!

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sarah in Mesa, Arizona

77 months ago

I have been a dental hygienist for four years and I hate it. I already have hand problems, as well as neck and back issues. I can't stand dealing with office politics. I am so sick of dirty teeth, the same small confined area...saying the same thing over and over. I despise the rush all day. I wish I had done something else!!!!!

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TashaDawn24 in Grande Prairie, Alberta

77 months ago

Feb 3rd/09

I'm a drifter, concious of my every day of going through the motions
Nothing changes, everything although differing in ways, tends to have nothing more than simple similarities.
I am not pouting, nor am i whining...I've just come to realize the obvious.
I'm floating down a river, not sure where it goes...I'm just enjoyinging the view..going where It needs to go.
Living and breathing and at the same time fullfilling my daily responsibilies..
All for a cheque at the end of the month, a cheque that seems to dwindle fairly quickly..
Most of it goes to groceries and rent...survival isnt cheap and I believe thats all we're doing..
That's the extent of it..

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mercy in Los Angeles, California

77 months ago

TashaDawn24 in Grande Prairie, Alberta said: Feb 3rd/09

I'm a drifter, concious of my every day of going through the motions
Nothing changes, everything although differing in ways, tends to have nothing more than simple similarities.
I am not pouting, nor am i whining...I've just come to realize the obvious.
I'm floating down a river, not sure where it goes...I'm just enjoyinging the view..going where It needs to go.
Living and breathing and at the same time fullfilling my daily responsibilies..
All for a cheque at the end of the month, a cheque that seems to dwindle fairly quickly..
Most of it goes to groceries and rent...survival isnt cheap and I believe thats all we're doing..
That's the extent of it..

I am about to set sail on the uncharted territory of dental assisting class next week. I feel like I missed the boat years ago, and I'm finally boarding. Making a living is a burden, and a bore... is working in the dental field a tolerable occupation in life's turbulent journey?

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Katei in Lethbridge, Alberta

77 months ago

TashaDawn24 in Grande Prairie, Alberta said: I heard of office politics from other dental assistants before I even decided to be one... I guess Im just a very sensitive person, though I can joke back when Im not having one of those days if you know what I mean. I know what it feels like to be the assistant now..the entire office is your boss and everybody wants you to know it! It's really stressful. I guess no matter where you go there's a pecking order but I don't want it to drive me mad! When people demand me to do things without discretion or tact whatsoever it can wear me down. When co-workers make jokes like.."youre like my little b****", how am I supposed to respond? Smile and joke back by saying..."Be careful or Ill b**** slap you," or what? Sometimes I just laugh, brush it off, do what Im supposed to cause that's what I'm being paid for right?..But I don't want the lack of respect and belittling thats going on or sooner or later I'm going to just end up hating my job. I don't want to boss others around to make up for how I'm feeling, thats just not in my nature. Welcome to the hierarchy of the dental office, I sure hope I figure out how to hold on to my self-respect and that of others when I get pushed to my limit. I guess thats when prayer comes in to play..good luck to all of you:)

As Dental Assistants we don't have to take any abuse. It is time DA started to want more for themselves. We don't have to take anyone putting us down especially The Dentist. I have worked in a few offices with Temper Tantrum Dentist...It is not worth it to stay. Move on and find one that appreciates and treats you for what you are WORTH...WHICH IS I MIGHT SAY IS MORE THAT THEY ARE PAYING US.
Unfortunately we think we have to put up with some whinny dentist and his temper tantrums. We don't! Anyone we doesn't understand stand why someone is upset about being treated at jobs like this is probably the ones that are reaping the rewards of being a favorite

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