Dental Assisting – A Newbie’s Perspective

I have worked in retail for 5 years, and let me tell you when I started in training to be a dental assistant I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Being a DA is so exciting and different every day, I love it.


My first couple of weeks began in what we call ‘Steri’ where the processing and sterilising of all instruments and equipment occurs so they are safe to use on patients. In Steri we also carefully prepare trays for every patient as well, ensuring we have all we need for the day ahead. I also learnt how to change rooms over so they are safe and hygienic for the next patient. Definitely a lot to take in my first few weeks that for sure!


In my first week of assisting I was placed with our Oral Health Therapist, Kylie. Kylie provides active maintenance and therapy for children. I didn’t realise how different or even difficult kids can be to assist.

The following week after that I was scheduled to be assisting our dentist Dr Gina. I was so excited but really scared at the same time; because I really wanted to be good and learn more skills.

That week I observed Jennay (a Cert IV DA with 6 years experience), my mentor assisting Gina. She made it look so simple that I thought “I could do this”, boy was I wrong!

But day by day my skills and knowledge is improving and I know my future will be bright in this career choice.

We do more than just suck spit!

So when you think all we as Dental Assistants do is suction your saliva, let me tell you from personal experience that we do much more. I can honestly say that here we learn something new every day and already I know I love assisting and it is completely different compared to my previous work in retail.

By Addie Hegarty

‘Newbie’ Dental Assistant