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Continuing Education

Advancing excellence in dental assisting: Are you doing your part?

March 16, 2020
Natalie Kaweckyj says that continuing education is the best way for dental assistants to stay current in their profession, as well as to meet like-minded professionals who will encourage them along the way.

Are you keeping up with your continuing dental education? Whether you are required to maintain CE or not, you owe it to your team members and the patients you serve to be up to date on things.

Continuing education in dentistry is particularly important to keep all dental professionals in varying positions on top of the major changes in the industry. Health care undergoes big changes during short periods of time due to scientific innovations and technological advances in materials, techniques, and equipment, to name a few.

Dental professionals will find it difficult to stay up on the latest developments in the industry without effective CE, whether webinars, lectures, or hands-on courses. For those who are trained on the job, continuing dental education is vital to your growth both personally and professionally. Invest in yourself!

Here are just three of the many reasons you should keep up with your CE.

Renewing your credentials

The dental assisting profession is the most fractured profession in terms of titles, educational requirements, and allowable duties. Each state has different CE requirements, but most require dental professionals to complete CE that supplies them with advanced knowledge of dental practices. Some states require specific topics for a certain number of hours. Be sure to check with your state regulating body.

In addition to renewing state credentials, you may also be certified nationally through the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB), which requires annual renewal, basic life support certification, and a certain number of CE credits in specific areas and dependent upon the types and number of certifications held. Not certified? Check out DANB.org for more on becoming certified and joining thousands of your colleagues!

Keeping up with the Joneses

You’ve heard the old adage about trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Staying at your current level of knowledge without learning is simply not an option. If you fall behind on advanced technologies, new materials, and infection control protocols, you may actually fall behind in the quality of care you provide. Keeping up doesn’t always have to mean upgrades in technology. In fact, most often your efforts to keep pace with change and improve efficiency will come with increasing your knowledge. New clinical uses and best practices available, something is always changing! Put your learning to use and share your new knowledge with your team members. Tell your patients and employer about your commitment to CE. Hopefully your employer will support you in your efforts.


Dental assistants are a social breed; we love to interact! Enrolling in CE courses not only enhances your professional skills, but also allows you to meet other like-minded individuals. Building your own network of dental professionals is an invaluable benefit of CE, whether at a state dental convention, professional association meeting, webinar, or online.  Networking is a great way to expand your knowledge based on the experiences of others, and by meeting people in the industry.

The type of CE you seek should reflect your professional and personal goals. Whatever your goals are, CE will play a big part in your success. A great way to start is to commit to attend at least one major conference each year. Conferences provide the widest scope of opportunities within one setting to increase your personal growth.

Keeping up with change and learning new practice methods leads to personal and professional growth. A commitment to continuing education is your best opportunity to not just keep pace, but to grow. There will always be something bigger and better, so why not be the first to know what that is? The more you know, the better you can perform. The better you can perform, the happier you and your patients will be! Happy continued learning to all!

Natalie Kaweckyj, BA, LDA, CDA, RF, CDPMA, COA, COMSA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA, is a senior moderator of the Dental Peeps Network and a past president of the ADAA.