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Ask an assistant: Why can't I find the right office?

April 22, 2021
Three strikes and she's out? Not necessarily. Tija Hunter encourages this assistant to keep looking for her perfect dental home. It's out there!

Have a concern in your dental office? Send it to "Ask an assistant" at [email protected]. Tija Hunter will help you with your issue. All questions will remain anonymous.

QUESTION: Unfortunately, I was recently fired from the third dental office where I’ve worked. I was still in training and trying my best to be passionate about the job. But throughout my training I felt like I was being left by myself to perform duties even though I was not confident or comfortable with them. As a result, I made a horrible mistake that left me in tears. I used permanent cement on a patient’s bridge that was supposed to be delivered, and everything just fell to pieces. My experience with this office has made me feel like I'm really dumb, and that I chose the wrong career path. I’m about to give up hope about being a dental assistant. What can I do?

ANSWER FROM TIJA HUNTER, CDA, EFDA, editor of Dental Assisting Digest:
It sounds to me like you were simply in the wrong place! Dental offices are like best friends; not everyone is cut out to be your best friend. There are fast-paced offices and slow-paced offices, supportive offices and offices that just don't care. When you work in an environment where you always feel on edge and like you're walking on eggshells, you're bound to mess up. You're so worried about messing up, that you do just that. 

Don't beat yourself up about this. You just haven't found your dental home yet. Focus on what you're good at and what you love about working in a dental office and play up to those strengths. Get out your résumé and dust it off and get ready to find that perfect dental office. I'd be happy to look at your résumé and cover letter. Right now, dental assistants are very in demand. Offices need assistants and they’re searching hard for them. I'm sure you'll have no trouble at all finding a new position. Don't let a negative environment ruin your career. That office just wasn't the right fit for you!

When you send me your résumé and cover letter, tell me what you love about dentistry and what you're good at, then let’s talk. You got this!

We welcome any question or concern. The important thing to remember is that you're not alone. Send it to [email protected]. To read past columns, visit dentistryiq.com and search for "ask a dental assistant" or “ask an assistant.”