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Personal Care Dentistry Has the Most Amazing Dental Assistants!

Dental Assistants Recognition Week, held annually during the first full week in March, is a special time to appreciate those amazing professionals who have helped you maintain healthy teeth. Can you believe that the dental assistant profession was born when Dr. C. Edmund Kells began using his wife as an assistant in his dental practice?


Dental assistants are integral members of a dental team that support dentists and patients during procedures and perform administrative duties. Their responsibilities include helping patients improve their oral hygiene skills, preparing patients for dental procedures, taking dental impressions, exposing dental radiographs, infection control, recording patient notes, and scheduling appointments.


History of Dental Assistants Recognition Week


While the dental assistant profession only started in 1885, its history can be traced as far back as 7000 B.C. when the history of dentistry began. Archaeological evidence revealed that dentistry was a profession practiced during the Stone Age in the Indus valley. This form of dentistry included curing tooth-related disorders with bow drills. In 5000 B.C., an ancient Sumerian text showed that dentists believed that tooth worms cause dental caries.


That belief was perpetuated across ancient India, Egypt, Japan, and China, and it was even included in the Homeric Hymns. No one debunked that theory until the 1700s. By the 19th century, dentistry was a fully established profession, with the founding of the world’s first dental school in 1840, the formation of the American Dental Association in 1859, and the invention of various dental tools and equipment.


In 1885, Dr. Edmund Kells, a New Orleans dentist, pioneered the dental assistant profession by asking his wife to assist him in his practice. As his dental clinic grew, Kells hired another woman, Malvina Cueria, as a full-time assistant. The introduction of these assistants to his practice helped Kells attract more female customers. Before the end of the century, other practices were already advertising, like “Ladies in Attendance”, to get more female clients.


In 1917, the first dental assistant society was founded in Nebraska, and another one was established in New York in 1921. After the first national convention of dental assistants in 1924, the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) was founded in 1925. Dental Assistants Recognition Week was later created by the ADAA to recognize the contributions of dental assistants to the dental profession and public dental health.


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