Being a Dental Assistant/Dental Hygienist

“At the end of the day the biggest lesson I`ve learned so far is this: we humans are a lot sturdier then I thought primarily, we can take a lot more than we lead on, and I mean that in every sense. It doesn’t matter how old or how young- we can take it. The energy that goes into extracting a tooth or dealing with jaw-bone infections, root canal operations, every single time when they come for their so-called “post-OP” they end up being okay, they bounce back. And although I might be holding my breath every time a patient whence, or makes a sound of distress, I realize once I exhale that the discomfort, the pain is something they can handle because in the end we helped them and they walked out healed.”

I know it makes no sense at all… how did I even get this job? I mean considering my Diploma is in Global Stewardship, a study on the integral issues of the third world countries and sustainable change, which again has nothing to do with teeth – I repeat nothing. But for some darn reason I have gotten away with working in a dental clinic for the past three months, and when I say “gotten away” I mean I`ve worked my ass off to understand the ins and outs of everything I need to know in order to do my job- and because I am ME, a try-hard at heart, I have to do my job to my VERY best ability AND let me tell you its not been easy.

I got hired spontaneously – I assume – and I thought hey why not because I believe that everything we experience outside of our comfort zone is a “teachable moment” as Phil from Modern Family calls it, its where we grow and where we morph into the next version of ourselves. LET me tell you – the first day – the first thing I did was assist with, not just one but the extraction of two teeth… the blood, the horror, the pain of the patient, the ruthlessness of my superior (aka the dentist – sometimes I can`t tell if she is a superhero or a supervillain, which if your asking me is what keeps things interesting, keeps people on their toes) and I wouldn’t call myself someone who is very comfortable with seeing a lot of blood but hey I knew in that moment “this is a test”, and I should “remove the emotion” – because we aren’t pulling out two teeth out of someone for no apparent reason, logically I know, we are aiding them, relieving them from pain in the present and the future so deep breaths Sara you got this…

Once we were finished the Dr. commented on how a lot of young women can`t handle extractions, they – as she put it in German – “fall over”.

See – I told you a test. The days that followed where a composition of tests, and it still feels like every day is a test, but the point is that this challenge, daily might I add, is one of the most interesting experiences I have ever made. My positivity as a person is tested as I feel negativity and drama sneak in when I`m not looking, my empathy as a person is questioned as I see many people in the 10 to 11 hours that I work come in and receive sometimes more pain then they came in with. I should also add that I have an amazing experience with the dentist (in Canada they are a little more advanced – surprisingly) so I come from a glorified view of dentistry work, which made working in a dental clinic in Germany all the more shocking. That being said I`ve learned a lot over the course of the last two months, about myself and about humans. See within in those 10-11 hours I see A LOT of people, and if I`m being honest that`s kind of what makes this job the job that I want right now, because as my diploma might indicate I care about people, I love humans and I want to always help them when I have the means to (emotionally, spiritually, physically, even financially). The amount of information I get out of people on the walk from the waiting room is frankly unbelievable. I can ask a single question and there`s no stopping them, others I follow up with questions and they open up slowly like a flower blooming, everyone has something to say – I guess that’s my point, and I get to listen, and listening as (some of you may know) is one of the best ways to learn, which is why this job is a pretty great gig. Many aspects of this job are entirely outside of my comfort zone, the blood, watching patients in pain, digging round inside the jaw of a human, masses of saliva, A LOT of polite German, there are so many things that I never would have guess I would ever ever have to deal with, but as most of you know seizing the opportunity to live outside of your comfort zone (for a while at least) will bring out sides of yourself that you never thought were there before, sides that add on to your personality and your jar of life experience – which is another really big reason why I took this job. And everything that I just said is true, in the last 3 months I have learned over and over again to just QUIT taking things to f*cking PERSONAL, to realize:

  1. Not everything is about me
  2. See through the BS and really see the reason why (someone might say something)

I have had to see how resilient my positivity is in a negative environment and in negative interaction or comments (because yes the stereotypes are true Germans are harsh af a lot of the time), to make sure that I still get a smile and a laugh in when I can – and I really have my fantastic coworkers to thank for that, Lays, who has got this kinder spirit that makes it easy to let the negative roll down my back and keep moving forward – while occasionally laughing (sometimes even a lot). I think it is a common reoccurring fact that people find themselves in jobs where they know they aren’t happy – now this isn’t exactly me right now – but what I have learned to do is this:

What I control is within me and whatever is outside is not in my control, therefore when things on the outside get kind of shitty, kind of a pain, kind of a wreck, I – myself- am still okay sometimes even better than okay because the only person that controls my happiness if ME. And why would I let anyone else control that feeling… so even when those negative moments occur its okay because the garden on the inside is still A-OK.

Anyways I guess what I`m saying is that with a lot of hard work, the trust of your superior in your abilities, your own confidence in your own abilities and skills, there is a pretty good chance you can do a lot of jobs if the opportunity presents itself. I`m lucky enough to have this job which is opening my horizons further than I even thought possible as human’s teeth are put in hands – pun intended.




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