Your hourly wages, yoga for your teeth, and looking back at Midwinter

Feb. 21, 2011
Editor Kevin Henry shares information about dental assistants’ salaries from the latest Dental Assisting Digest™ survey, applauds a dental assistant in Colorado who uses a form of yoga to calm apprehensive patients, and recaps what he saw at the Chicago Midwinter Dental Meeting.

By Kevin Henry, Editor

Sweet home Alabama? I don’t think so, folks.

After taking a look at your feedback in our recent Dental Assisting Digest™ salary survey, the fine folks in the Deep South hold a dubious position ... dental assistants there are paid the lowest of any state in the nation. And, sadly, it’s not even close. Alabama dental assistants who answered our survey make, on average, $9.50 per hour. The next-lowest answers came from South Dakota at $12.50 per hour.

And the award for highest hourly salary goes to ... Delaware at $25 per hour. Granted, the cost of living is much different in Delaware vs. Alabama, but it’s hard for me to imagine the disparity in the salary ranges.

If you want to see where your state ranked compared to the other 49, click here to see the entire list. Again, these salaries came straight from the responses submitted to our recent salary survey.

As you open today’s e-newsletter, I’m just getting back from the Chicago Midwinter Meeting. It’s always great to be able to visit the Windy City. Of all the places I’ve traveled, I think Chicago is one of my favorites. There’s just something about walking down Michigan Avenue (yes, even in February) that I enjoy. Chicago has a certain “feel” to it that I just can’t describe, and it always draws me back there.

Of course, I always love attending the Chicago Midwinter. It’s truly one of the best dental meetings in the country, and every year it’s a time when manufacturers launch new products and get feedback from dental professionals ... including dental assistants. I sat in on part of the ADAA’s roundtables where manufacturers focus their efforts on what dental assistants think about their products. There are several companies who value your opinions, so don’t ever hesitate to give open, honest feedback about what works and what doesn’t work in your practice. Remember, you’re the backbone of the practice and you know what helps your practice succeed ... or makes your day even harder.

Want to see some of the new products I saw in Chicago? Click here.

Finally, a dental assistant in suburban Denver recently grabbed the attention of the Denver Post. I’ve reprinted a portion of the article below. You can read the entire article by clicking here.

The article asks if a visit to the dentist freaks you out ...

Dental assistant Maxine Wagoner at Johnson Dental in Wheat Ridge, Colo., practices yoga for your teeth. That's right. Time to limber up your choppers.

Wagoner learned the ropes at Dahn Yoga, with a focus on Brain Wave Vibration. She gets her clients to place their hands on their stomach, close their eyes, and shake their head from side to side while breathing deeply. Sounds like me in a bar.

"Patients are quickly able to relax their whole body and stop obsessing about the dental treatment," she says in a ‘Yoga For Your Teeth’ release. "It's much easier to treat someone who's relaxed than someone who's glued to the ceiling."

Sure, the reporter had a little fun at Wagoner’s expense, but my hat goes off to her for trying something that could help her patients. I’ve never practiced yoga, but I’ve certainly been apprehensive sitting in the dental chair, as have many of my friends. As you well know, sometimes it’s the dental assistant who can calm patients and connect best with them. Keep up the good work, Maxine!

Do you have any tips on how you calm nervous patients? Drop me a line at [email protected] with your tips or anything else you’d like to share with Dental Assisting Digest™.

Read on, this is your e-newsletter ...