Celebrate Dental Assistants Recognition Week in March

Food for thought: Students at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D., distributed 16 dozen plates of cookies to their affiliated dental offices to thank the dental assistants for sharing their time, knowledge and skills. Photos courtesy of ADAA 

Future assistants: Dental assisting students at Ivy Tech Community College in Anderson, Ind., sponsored a “Dental Day” for more than 300 underserved 5- and 6-year-old children. The students talked to the children about good and bad food for their teeth and the importance of brushing their teeth. The students gave the children toothbrushes they could keep at their school so they could brush their teeth after lunch. 

Dental assistants are a key part of the dental practice year-round, but they get a special week dedicated to them each year for all the great work they do.

Dental Assistants Recognition Week is scheduled for March 2-8 and dentists in the United States and Canada will celebrate by honoring their dental assistants for the variety of duties they perform and helping them provide patients with quality dental care. This year’s theme, “Dental Assisting: Embracing the Changes of the Profession,” acknowledges the growing importance of dentistry’s role in health care and the responsibilities of dental assistants.

“The role of the dental assistant has evolved over the years, contributing to quality dental care,” said Lori Paschal, president of the American Dental Assistants Association. “Whether working chairside, managing various aspects of the dental office or the laboratory, working in dental sales or educating future dental assistants, today’s dental assistants are role models of a professional and progressive force in the field of dentistry.”

The American Dental Association, American Dental Assistants Association, Canadian Dental Assistants Association and Canadian Dental Association jointly recognize the observance. Dental assistant associations, dental assisting schools, and U.S. Army and Air Force dental clinics join dental offices in honoring dental assistants during this designated week.

Winning accessory: Burkhart Dental Supply in Tacoma, Wash., celebrated by promoting a drawing for its dental assistant clients. PLA endodontics had the winning entry and its four dental assistants won Coach purses.

Sweet tooth: At Ross Medical Education Center in New Baltimore, Mich., students received flowers and a party, featuring a tooth-shaped cake.

“My wife Sue and I have been married for almost 32 years, and we started our dental practice 30 years ago. For most of that time, she has served as my dental assistant,” said Dr. Kevin Sessa, chair of the ADA Council on Dental Practice.

“Daily, she demonstrates her devotion to me, our staff, our practice and, most importantly, to the people we serve, our patients. Clearly, she is the glue that holds our practice together in good and difficult times. In observing her for all these years, I have come to realize that her spirit is the spirit of all the outstanding dental assistants who practice along with the rest of the dental team in great practices throughout America. It is fitting, therefore, that this week gives them the recognition that they so richly deserve.”

Many dental assistants will observe the week by participating in educational and charity events and other team activities. Dentists often show their gratitude for dental assistants’ diverse contributions to the practice and the public by providing perks such as luncheons, flowers or treats.

Each year, the ADAA urges dental assistants to recap their activities and successes throughout the week and submit them for possible publication in The Dental Assistant, the ADAA journal.

Dental team members can download a kit at online that includes ideas for a news release; an overview on using social media to promote DARW online; sample proclamations and public service announcements; and in-house promotions. It also includes examples of what last year’s participants did to recognize DARW.

For more information on the ADAA, visit

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