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Saying thanks to dental assistants

February 06, 2012

By Kelly Soderlund, ADA News Staff

It's that time of year to thank the assistants who help your practice succeed.

Dental offices throughout the world will celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week March 4-10. The theme for this year’s event is “Key to Productivity: The Professional Dental Assistant.”

Activity central: Dental assistant students at Seattle Central Community College in 2011 made display tables with information on nutrition, oral hygiene and the negative effects of tobacco on oral health.

Each year, dentists take a week to honor dental assistants for their role on the dental team, recognizing their broad spectrum of duties and highlighting their often unheralded contribution to quality dental care. The American Dental Assistants Association, American Dental Association, Canadian Dental Assistants Association and Canadian Dental Association jointly recognize the observance. Dental assistant associations, dental assisting schools, and U.S. Army and Air Force dental clinics all join dental offices in honoring dental assistants during this designated week.

“Dental assistants are valued members of the dental team. The role of assistants has become even more important in recent years with the advent of expanded functions,” said Dr. Mark Zust, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice. “More than ever, assistants achieve professional growth by studying and receiving advanced training. Dentists delegate more procedures and assistants take pride in their accomplishments.”

Dental assistants will celebrate their contributions to the profession by participating in educational and charity events and other team activities. Dentists typically show their respect for dental assistants' diverse contributions to the dental profession and the public by providing perks such as luncheons, flowers or treats.

“Dental assistants show their value by providing everything from supportive procedures to direct patient care through expanded functions, which boosts productivity. The assistant provides a valuable connection with the patient; it is often the assistant that the patient turns to when they have questions, the assistant who explains the finances and the assistant who keeps the patient calm during treatment,” said Claudia Pohl, president of the American Dental Assistants Association.

Each year, the ADA urges dental assistants and offices to describe their activities and successes throughout the week and submit them for publication in The Dental Assistant, the ADAA journal.

To obtain article entry forms and ready-to-use ad slicks for your state publications and promotional kits, email or visit the Dental Practice Management page at Go to Professional Resources and click on Oral Health Topics to get there. A downloadable anniversary certificate that can be personalized, printed and framed for display is also available on this page. A complete list of personalized products is available at

ADA CE Online offers courses for dental assistants and special pricing for dental team members. For more information, visit