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Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA, is an expanded functions dental assistant/office manager in O'Fallon, Mo. She is the director of the Dental Careers Institute, member of the American Dental Assistants Association, where she holds a Master, an independent consultant specializing in team building, assistant training, and office organization. She can be reached at email@example.com.
With CAD/CAM growing more and more each day, there is a shortage of trained dental assistants that can image, design, stain, glaze and take care of this very expensive machinery.
Who says dental assisting is a highly skilled profession?
Frankly, I do! Not very long ago something called the cell phone changed our lives forever! First, it was a car phone; this thing was huge! It came in a leather bag and was as big as a regular home phone, including a twisted cord. Then they got a little smaller, although they were still huge and bulky, then smaller yet. Cell phones got to be so small that they could hide in the palm of your hand. Now our cell phones are getting bigger. The reason? They are little computers that have made our lives easier? More confusing? Busier? Maybe a little of all three!
Now is one of the most exciting times to be in dentistry, and, as a dental assistant, you have so many opportunities to seize this moment! The technology in dentistry evolves every day. There are so many amazing gadgets and toys on the dental market. CAD/CAM in dentistry came along 30 years ago, but, due to price and ease of use, it’s taken awhile for this phenomenon to catch on. With the technology getting easier and faster, our understanding and better familiarity of computers growing, this CAD/CAM market is bursting at the seams and not slowing down! 3D cone beam and guided implant surgery are becoming more prominent in the general dental setting, along with so much more.
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Enter the dental assistant! What better way to make yourself more valuable than to learn this amazing technology? Oh, wait, your doctor doesn’t have this technology? You’re still processing films on an automatic processor? You won’t be for long! This industry and technology aren'’t going backwards; they're moving forward at an alarming rate. Dental schools all over the nation are now training their students on new technology. Soon, just like those cell phones, every office will be equipped with some brand of 3D imagery and digital impression capabilities.
I hear dental assistants are a dime a dozen, but not the good ones! CAD/CAM dental assistants are few and far between. They are highly skilled and needed in the dental office. So what better way to make yourself more valuable than to learn this technology? I have always said, “I want to make myself so valuable that the doctor can’t do without me.” That’s a lofty goal, but if you have mad skills that others don’t have yet, you are valuable to any office seeking a highly skilled trained professional.
With CAD/CAM growing more and more each day, there is a shortage of trained dental assistants that can image, design, stain, glaze and take care of this very expensive machinery. Be one of the best by learning all you can now! In years to come, CAD/CAM and 3D in the dental office will be commonplace so seize the opportunity now by learning all you can.
Become a highly skilled trained professional and rock dentistry better than anyone out there!