Paging Dr. Grey

Saturday, August 10

Well I've done it! I completed my first week as a dental assistant intern in a dental clinic! Just call me Dr. Meredith Grey up in here. Alright, well maybe the procedures I've been assisting with and observing aren't as pressing as surgical cases but they feel pretty intense when you are inexperienced and interning.

It was a great week all in all. It's gonna take some time getting used to working adult people hours, though. I've worked at retail jobs over the years full of night shifts and weekends and now I'm a real working class hero working 9 hour days 40 hours a week. As hard as the adjustment is, I'm pretty excited to be moving up in the world, away from retail and all that jazz. And I loved feeling like I earned my weekend.

The hardest part of the whole experience thus far is being new at everything. It's always hard to start new jobs and new careers and I hate feeling unprepared and inexperienced. I'm used to being good at what I do and being on top of my game. But this is an entirely new animal for me and I'm having a hard time not knowing what I'm doing. I know that I'm new and I am learning fast and it will come with time. I just have the nasty habit of discouraging myself while I'm learning. I want to skip the training part and just be GOOD at my job. But practice makes perfect and I did get to assist a few times this week, and certainly more this coming week. I am picking things up pretty quickly, which is nice. But I tell you what, dental assistants have so much to remember.

Assistants have to know each step of every procedure so we can anticipate the needs of our dentist. He shouldn't have to ask for an instrument; we should just put the instrument he needs in his hand. I watched an extraction this week (WHICH WAS AWESOME!) and the entire room stayed silent through the 45 minute procedure. The assistant and oral surgeon didn't speak to each other, they just seamlessly passed their instruments back and forth. You could have heard a pin drop in that room. (Or teeth being pulled, which was AWESOME.)

At least dental assistants don't have to be used as chairs anymore.
Via Oral Answers
The best part about being an assistant is patient care, though. That's what I've picked up on the most in my first week. People get nervous and people LOVE to talk and feel supported and I love that part of my job is to be there for them to support them and answer their questions. I've been lucky enough to avoid any difficult patients and I have met some of the sweetest people. A deaf woman came in and I was able to speak a little sign language with her as she smiled up at me as we prepared to get her a crown. The sweetest little girl had her first cavity filled and reached up to gently take my hand throughout the procedure. I made my first temporary crown on an older gentleman and he was so sweet to sort of bear with me while I took my sweet time to make sure I wasn't making any mistakes. He even thanked me for being so sweet and pretty and said that he'd bring me homemade cookies next week when he comes in for a filling.

Working with people is what I love to do. I love being the person they can rely on for support and kind eyes peeking up over a dental mask. Everyone craves to be heard and comforted and to me that's the most important part of my job. So even if it takes me a hot second to remember the steps of a root canal, I can be the best support the patient can ask for. I don't know how long I'll be working as a dental assistant. It's hard to find a clinic that can work with a college school schedule but I am loving the time I do get to work as one. Lots of learning is happening and so many wonderful people are stepping in to my life. I am so happy.


  1. Congrats on finishing up your first week! Sounds like you did a great job, and it's so sweet that you're so in tune with what people need emotionally at the dentist. I really think that that sort of attitude can get you so far. And as for the feelings of being new, it will be routine before you know it! I'm sure that you know that, but never hurts to hear it again :)

  2. it sounds like you have had so many chances to touch people's hearts, even if just for a little bit. i know i don't enjoy going to the dentist but somebody like you there would definitely make the appointment more bearable

  3. Way to go! I got my dental assisting diploma about a year ago, and did some interning. It's all very interesting! I ended up just staying at my same job haha so who knows what the point of that was.

    But I'm impressed. I was terrified to assist. The dentists all seemed so intimidating and I didn't want to mess them up! I'm sure you'll learn and do great!


Thank you for your words; they light a fire in my heart. You are lovely.