4 Ways to Combat Dental Assistant Job Dissatisfaction that You Can Implement Today

Thomas Monahan CDOCS Staff
5 months ago

According to the Dental Assisting National Board, dental assistant job satisfaction has declined every year since 2016, and currently only 50% feel valued by their employer. Within the last year, feeling under appreciated is now the second highest reason dental assistants are leaving the dental field.

Even with the boosted team member benefits and increased hourly compensation, staff exodus and rising dissatisfaction are near the top of practice owners’ headaches.

There are opportunities for relief. Here are the four things you NEED to be doing to boost your assistants’ morale and job satisfaction.

  1. ​Offer Ongoing Training and Development: Investing in continuous education and training programs demonstrates a commitment to the professional growth of dental assistants. Providing opportunities to learn new skills and advance their careers not only enhances job satisfaction but also improves the patient experience.
  2. Be Intentional with Your Retention: These efforts are crucial for maintaining practice stability and continuity of care. Don’t be passive. Be direct. Set scheduled time every month with each of your assistants to solicit feedback and then act. Listening to their thoughts and concerns on various aspects of your practice and implementing positive changes based on their input demonstrates a commitment to their well-being and can help cultivate a loyal and motivated team.
  3. Foster a Sense of Ownership and Engagement: Dental assistants may feel frustrated if they perceive their roles as being strictly the dentist’s helper, with limited autonomy and decision-making authority. Now is the time to change that! Dental assistants trained in specialized procedures can enable the practice to expand its service offerings. Whether it's through assisting in advanced treatments like dental implants or expanding their clinical functions, a broader range of services can attract more patients and increase revenue streams. Create opportunities to let them better highlight their worth.
  4. Recognize and Appreciate Contributions: Dentists should acknowledge the hard work and dedication of dental assistants regularly. Every minute of the day is important, but this time will pay off for you, your team and your patients in the long run. Whether through verbal praise, written commendations, or small tokens of appreciation, recognizing their contributions boosts morale and reinforces a sense of value within the team.


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One action you can take to address all four of these steps is gaining access to CDOCS GO and its Assistant training pathways through CDOCS’ Mentor+ membership. Never before has such high-level assistant training been so easily accessible.

CDOCS GO is a guided online learning platform that offers advanced training for dentists and comprehensive peer-to-peer assistant training on CEREC, Clear Aligners, 3D Printing, Implants, Endodontics and Cone Beam all at no travel cost. These assistant courses are often taught by the assistants of CDOCS’ expert-level faculty, meaning dentists can feel confident knowing the clinical education their assistants are receiving matches what they’re learning in hands-on CDOCS workshops.

Plus, assistants will have the chance to become ‘CDOCS Certified’ in each of the assistant pathway topics and receive a certification for their achievement that can be promoted and hung in the office.

Check out CDOCS GO now to view available dentist courses and assistant training pathways.

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