Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2017 08 Eclipse 1

The solar eclipse and . . . dental assisting?

Aug. 14, 2017
There are some similarities between dental assisting and next week's solar eclipse. Take the science behind the eclipse and apply it to your dental assisting career, and you'll be surprised at the results!
Kevin Henry, Cofounder,

There are some similarities between dental assisting and next week's solar eclipse. Take the science behind the eclipse and apply it to your dental assisting career, and you'll be surprised at the results!

MONDAY, AUGUST 21, IS GOING TO BE A BIG DAY in the United States as people across the country catch “eclipse fever.” The US will experience a solar eclipse that is viewable exclusively in our great nation for the first time since its founding in 1776.(1) Wow. Just think about that for a moment.

I know August 21 will be a big day at our house in northern Colorado. If you look at the eclipse map, we’re not too far from Wyoming and the band where 100% eclipse totality will be reached. Supposedly, if you’re standing in this “band,” the eclipse is going to change the middle of the day so that it feels like twilight for a few brief moments. It’s something my wife doesn’t want to miss so we’re packing up the car and leaving early that morning to join plenty of other folks in the trek to Wyoming.

I liken it to waiting in line for hours for a roller coaster that takes two minutes to ride. We will see if it lives up to the hype.

Whether you’re close to the “band” or far from it, the next couple of weeks will be filled with talk about the eclipse and everything from what glasses to buy to constant reminders saying not to stare at the sun. However, as we get closer to the big day, the thing that keeps coming to my mind is how this eclipse will happen, and how that science can be applied to a dental assistant’s day.

You see, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun, blocking the light and casting its shadow on the US. For those few brief moments, we won’t be able to see the sun, even though we know it’s something that’s there. The sun didn’t go away … it just had its light blocked by another object. Sure, the sun will be visible before and after the eclipse, but it will be blocked for a few awe-inspiring seconds.

How does all this apply to dental assisting?

Dental assistants, you know that the light of your day and career path can be blocked any day. I’ve had so many of you share your frustrations with me when I speak around the country. You have a target in your mind of where you want to go and how you want your day to be, but things (people or circumstances) often block that goal or cast a shadow of doubt on you, where you want to go, or who you want to be.

These personal eclipses happen almost every day, and it’s up to you to endure those moments when the shadow is present and wait for the sun to come back out. How do you do that? Here is some quick advice.

If you’re having a problem with someone in the practice, tackle it head on. Get to the root of the problem to solve it. Talk with the other person and move forward past the shadow.

If you’re not happy in your career, figure out what’s blocking the sun (and your happiness) for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. If it’s someone else causing you issues, talk to them. If there’s something going on in the practice that’s keeping you from succeeding, figure out how to solve the problem. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Take ownership of your happiness and career. Open the lines of communication. Come up with solutions on your own so you can show your leadership abilities. Don’t just stare into the sun and wait for the shadow to pass. Take action!

If you dread going to work, figure out why that is and put your energy into driving that shadow out of your life.

There are always ways to improve your day and your career, but it requires action on your part. You can’t just stare into the sky. Do something to move the shadow away from your goals.

The eclipse is going to be magical day. Let this phenomenon of nature be a signal to you that it’s time to chase the shadows of doubt and sadness away from your day and career.


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An advocate of today’s dental assistant, Kevin Henryspeaks to dental audiences across the nation on topics that empower dental assistants, helping them recognize the leadership role they hold in the dental practice. He is the cofounder of, a community designed to enlighten, empower, and educate dental assistants.