I am a Certified Dental Assistant (CDA), a profession that I love, and one that I am proud and passionate about. I have been ‘practicing’ for many years in general dentistry, and most recently, in an oral surgery specialty office. I like that the word ‘practice’ implies that my chosen career is a work in progress, an exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill and proficiency!
Perhaps I should begin by explaining what being a Certified Dental Assistant involves, specifically in the Province of British Columbia. Upon completion of a ten month accredited certificate program (I attended Okanagan College), a CDA must register with the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC) to become licensed to practice. The license is renewable annually. Requirements for renewal include: mandatory proof of consecutive practice, and a minimum of thirty-six hours of continuing education every three years. I love that the CDSBC fosters lifelong learning! A CDA is licensed to practice under the direction of a dentist or dental specialist in many different capacities, which primarily include: assisting the doctor during treatment (surgical or otherwise), providing limited dental hygiene care (polishing clinical crowns, applying fluoride and desensitizers, and giving oral hygiene instruction), obtaining patient’s records (medical history, x-rays, study models, CT scans, digital impressions, etc.), and maintaining a chain of asepsis in the dental office. A CDA can work in general dentistry, and in the dental specialties by receiving further certification modules in Orthodontics, Prosthodontics, and Sedation. They also obtain National Certification by examination (NDAEB).
My intention is to give insight into what it means to be a Certified Dental Assistant as I continue to learn and grow with excellence in my profession, and to archive my transition from being a CDA to becoming a formal educator. My journey began in the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma Program (PIDP) at Vancouver Community College (VCC). At the onset of the first of eight required courses entitled Foundations of Adult Education, my instructor asked me to read some material on the different types of established learning methods, and to take a few days to consider my own learning style, and also to think about which kind of teaching methods I would use. I told him that I’m essentially at ‘square one’ in that I had never considered teaching methods before; I felt unprepared for his question. Is this something that people think about, or was this a cleverly disguised teaching method to get me to look inwards, as opposed to studying and memorizing the quantified information and skills that I’ve been held accountable for in the past? Fine then. I must confess that it is hard to look at myself, and to question the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys.’ So far, I have learned that there are many ways to learn and to teach.
My transformation continues: I remain a CDA in my community, I hold a clinical instructor position in the Certified Dental Assisting program at Okanagan College, AND, I’ve been accepted into the MEd program at Simon Fraser University!! My goal is to develop continuing education workshops for CDA’s in advanced skills (implantology, sterile technique, etc.), and refresher courses in foundational intra-oral skills.
I will continue to archive my evolution from CDA to educator. And, I will genuinely digress along the way, that is go off on a tangent once in a while, and rant about topics outside of, but still connected to dentistry and education. My Blog Posts are my tangent.
About the artwork: The art on my posts and pages are originals produced by my daughter Isabel Truant.
About the photographs: The photographs on my posts and pages are originals produced by myself, unless otherwise stated.