When I became a DA life was complicated, I was young, single mom, two beautiful baby girls and only had a one goal “Support my children,” and doing everything I could to keep us together. I went for an interview at an office for a secretary position and as I pulled into the parking lot, the newspaper ad never stated it was a dental office.

Oh No! A dental office, I’m not fan of the dental office, I had a bad experience as a child. “I said to myself I can do this, it’s for my girls!” I was hired as a secretary for the dentist. After three months working I became very interested and curious to what is a Dental Assistant. The office lost our sterilization technician and I was offered the position. My curiosity, yes I want the job, after a month learning what the instruments were, I became more curious to what they were used for.

The Dentist was an Oral Surgeon and his patients were sedated so I would ask to come and watch. Absolutely he said, as a matter of fact put some gloves on, mask and protective gown and protective eye wear and sit beside me. “I can do this”, I said to myself. The assistant that worked with the doctor decided she was going back to school to become a hygienist. The doctor called me into his office and explained how he was so impressed that I wanted to learn and how I was so eager to help. “If I offered you a job as a DA and sent you to school would you be interested” he said, that day changed the rest of my life. Every opportunity I was given by the dentist to take a class for radiology, OSHA, expanded function assistant and the laws of a DA I took it. 

I am so thankful for who I am and what I do and can never thank the dentist for taking his time to teach and educate me. Every day is a new one! Patients come in scared because of past experience, lost their self-esteem, embarrassed for the way their teeth look. I show compassion and tell them everything is going to be ok and “WE” will get through their dental treatment together.

Seeing a patient actually smile for the first time when the dental treatment is done, turn to you and say thank you for staying beside them, it’s priceless! I love to teach, educate, and be compassionate to everyone. Everyone has a path in life to walk in and they have a different story to tell. I never judge a book by its cover; I have been in some of those shoes. Life has been amazing as a DA, one Doctor changed my life and I continue to pay it forward. Every day is exciting “I have the ability to help change one person’s life today as a Dental Assistant. Just one smile can change so many lives, “A smile is more than 1000 words.”  Become a Dental Assistant. I bet I can open your eyes to see what I see!

Did you know that bleaching your teeth by a professional License Dentist can take 10-15 years off your life?                                                                       

Michelle Howerton
DA Instructor, CHCP Austin campus