Name: Kristen Nguyen
State or Country: Florida/United States of America
School: Palm Beach State College
Occupation: Certified Dental Assistant, Expanded Functions Dental Assistant
What is your educational background?
- University of Florida: Bachelor’s of Science
- Palm Beach State College: Dental Assistant
Why did you choose this career?
A smile is a powerful and universal non-verbal expression of happiness. It is more than a physical feature– it is the key to one’s confidence. It is also a signature to your personality and the imprint you leave others feeling after conversating with you.
As a Dental Assistant, one of the most important responsibilities is to be sure the patient feels relaxed and self-assured throughout the entire procedure. I learned when a patient feels self-assured enough to expose their unique smile, it is happiness in the depths of his/her soul.
What do you like the most about your career and the least?
What I love most about my career would be communicating with patients. I have the privilege of coming across patients with incredible careers, backgrounds and/or hobbies- whether it is conversating about being a U.S. Ambassador of a foreign country to underwater free-diving shark photography–every patient has a unique life experience.
The least thing about this career is how exhausting being a Dental Assistant could be after a long, busy day. Some days I come home with aching feet and feeling defeated. I always remind myself of why you I chose this career and how many lives I can impact.
What advice do you wish someone would have shared with you before entering your career?
Although my dental assistant program was only eleven months, it was one of the most challenging eleven months of my life. It tests you physically and mentally. The workload is stressful but always focus on your goals, find passion, accept constructive criticism, and always remain positive. It is such a rewarding career!
Do you have any tips or advice for people considering this field for their profession?
Being a Dental Assistant requires passion. It is your passion for excellence, making a difference, and to see your occupation as a chance to inspire others.
How did you manage your stress and workload during school?
The workload is quite stressful however; I always tried to stay focus and conscious of my goals and priorities. Never let anyone suppress you from your education, career, and passion. Oh and also lots and lots of coffee for those sleepless nights!
Name one of your favorite experiences during your time studying or working?
During my time studying, I found a great small group of friends who shared the same work ethics as myself. The ladies and I supported each other and worked extremely hard together. To this day, we still have a text message group where we share about our work experiences and personal life.
One of my favorite experiences of working in a periodontal office are the surgical procedures. As a Biology major, I find fascination in how osseointegration and regeneration works. I enjoy the critical thinking aspect of dentistry when working.
What are some helpful materials/resources you used to study and prepare for your board or license exams?
Discuss one challenge you faced during your studies or work and how did you overcome it?
With only one year experience of being a Dental Assistant, I find the one challenge I face is being unable to have the knowledge and skills as others around me. To overcome this challenge, I take each day of work as a learning experience and trust with time I will become more knowledgeable. A dentist once told me, “skills comes with time, work ethics cannot be taught.”
What do you use for your everyday oral hygiene routine?
Toothbrush: Philips Sonicare, Diamond Clean Smart 9300
Toothpaste: Colgate Optic White
Mouth Rinse: Listerine Antiseptic-Cool Mint
What makes you SMILE?
Love and support makes me smile. As a member of the dental community, I find happiness when I see the dental community supporting one another. Over the years, I have made numerous of connections through social media: Dental Assistants from my city, a Harvard periodontal professor, and even Dental Hygienists from Canada. This world may seem enormous but with the same passion in our hearts-we are family.
Photos in this post are credited to Kristen N.
Thank you, Kristen , for contributing to smilesofpeople.com!