Ways to Acclimate to the New Normal in Dentistry

a female dental assistant wearing a face mask while at work

While a global pandemic was not on the radar for 2020, it has thrown every dental professional throughout the United States a curveball. Many dentists, hygienists, and assistants have either continued to work or faced the reality of being laid off or furloughed. If you’ve been working at a local practice, you were likely unprepared for the changes that occurred as a result of COVID-19; however, as you continue on your path to a new career, it’s time to discover how your dental assisting courses can help you acclimate to this “new normal” in dentistry.

Physical Self-Care

While enrolled in a dental assisting program, you learn about the importance of communicating with patients and listening to their needs. You want to ensure they feel cared for and treated kindly, but this can be difficult to do if stress is keeping you from taking care of your physical health.

Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are all vital aspects to feeling good and working at an optimal level. If you arrive at work feeling tired, rundown, or lacking the energy necessary to assist the dentist during a procedure, the effects will trickle down to the patient, resulting in a negative experience. 

Don’t let the stress of a pandemic or this “new normal” keep you from excelling in your position.

Mental and Psychological Self-Care

As a dental assistant, it is your responsibility to keep your mind sharp and be ready to take care of a situation when one arises at the office. Whether it is knowing which instruments to provide to the dentist or how to help a patient de-stress from the anxiety they’re filling over an upcoming procedure, you need to know how to mentally handle the day-to-day tasks. Fortunately, the courses you’re taking to receive your certification will help you navigate through stressful situations.

Of course, when dealing with a pandemic, it is even more important that you are taking care of your mental health as much as possible. Playing games, doing puzzles, learning a new specialty or topic, or even talking to a professional can help you refocus your brain onto things that will help to improve its ability to retain and function at a normal level.

Mental self-care is important because your brain can control all other aspects of your body. By recognizing your thoughts and feelings, you have the ability to make cognizant decisions that will benefit your overall health as well as how you interact with patients daily.

Emotional Self-Care

One thing you will need to grasp and fully understand as a dental assistant is to not let your emotions get the best of you. When working with patients, you must maintain a professional demeanor and not let the emotions you feel toward the situation cause you to recommend or suggest something that is not in the best interest of the individual.

During this time, if you are struggling to find the balance in dealing with your emotions, find people you can talk to. Whether it is a professional counselor, a friend, parent, sibling, or partner, discuss your feelings and determine which strategies are best to help you process these emotions and engage in positive, emotional self-care. This can include anything from meditation to religious engagement to prayer.

Social Self-Care

If you’ve been working through the pandemic and are finding yourself glued to your work, take some time to look at your social life. Is your job important? Yes. Is your pursuit of becoming a dental assistant worth the time and effort? Absolutely. Is it necessary to forgo other relationships during this time? Definitely not.

Reaching out to family and friends right now is crucial, especially if you are feeling lonely and isolated from others during this time. Whether it is through Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, or an in-person visit, these social interactions will help to re-energize you and give you what you need to do your job to the best of your ability.

About Dental Assistant Pro
For more than 25 years, Dental Assistant Pro has been providing aspiring dental assistants with essential knowledge and hands-on skills learning. Our philosophy is the best dental assisting training should be taught in a dental office at an affordable cost, so why not take a chance and enroll in our 10-week course schedule? It’s now more affordable than ever to become a dental assistant! To learn more about us, visit our website or call (513) 515-6611.

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