Carrington College Dental Assisting Instructor Finds Passion in Career

Carrington College Dental Assisting Instructor Finds Passion in CareerSasha Czyzewski (CDA, RDA, DMRT), Dental Assisting Instructor at Carrington College in Tucson, Arizona, began her career path 14 years ago—a bit by accident.

“I was studying to be an ultrasound tech at the time, and my friend’s stepdad was a dentist,” Sasha explains. “I did paperwork for him, helped with filing charts, and answered the phone. One day the dental assistant didn’t show up, so they asked me to help.”

Though she was initially hesitant, she decided to jump in and assist.   “The first procedure I helped with was a root canal,” she says. “I thought it was amazing.”   That experience inspired Sasha to go to school to earn a certificate in Dental Assisting. Soon after, she worked for a dentist who was a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard.  One day, he called her from the Army base and asked if she could help the company who was subcontracted. This began a career as a traveling dental assistant for seven years; she was subcontracted by the military to provide dental care for military personnel in NJ, MD, and DE. She traveled on to American Samoa, St. Croix, and Germany to care for military patients.

“Army personnel need this type of dental care to be classified as deployable—including checkups and x-rays—at different bases,” she says. “When state side, I would see groups of 500 infantry soldiers to be reclassified. In Germany and American Samoa, our soldiers didn’t have dental care. I would be there for a week, leading events to help give routine exams and treatment to the infantry soldiers.”

As the lead on these events, Sasha would appoint ten dental assistants, four doctors, four or five admins, a treatment coordinator, and another contract for the dental treatment vans. Her responsibilities included unpacking and assembling the x-ray unit, sterilization equipment, and van; assigning roles to employees; and being the liaison between military and dental professionals. After the event she would then disassemble equipment to pack and ship, and then upload soldiers’ records.   Sasha’s experience in the dental field has been wide—throughout the years, she has worked in Prosthodontics assisting with full-mouth rehabilitation, dental implants, facial reconstruction, and prosthodontics. While working with a dentist focused on TMJ issues, she learned to be a Dental Mandibular Rehabilitation Therapist (DMRT)—a therapist trained to help those who clench or grind their teeth.   Sasha moved to Arizona about six years ago and initially began working in a dental office. There, she heard of a position she was interested in pursuing—traveling to train new dental assistants and teach them better hand skills. But before she could apply, the position was removed due to company restructuring.   “I had been really excited to do this because it was something I was already doing,” she remembers. “At that time, I needed more of a challenge, I knew everything—and was even teaching the doctors how to do things—so felt called to teach.”   Soon after, Sasha saw that Carrington College had a job opening to teach dental assisting. With an Associate degree in Science—and fourteen years in the field—Sasha was qualified and ready. She applied for the job in 2017 and has been a dental assisting instructor since.   One of her favorite things about teaching dental assisting is knowing the opportunities the program affords its graduates.

“There are tons of opportunities in dental assisting and you have so many chances to travel and see life from a different perspective,” she says. “I came from a small town without a lot of money; I didn’t do much or travel anywhere exciting, but when I got into dentistry, I experienced different cultures and countries, I had the opportunity for self-growth—and—I got to give someone a smile. A person’s whole perspective and demeanor completely changes when you change their smile. I like that I get to share that passion I have with students, but also to offer them a steppingstone toward a career where you can learn a lot, and can economically and socially change their families’ lives.

Sasha also looks back on a defining moment in her career and life, when she was awash with gratitude.   “When I was in American Samoa, the people there don’t have access to dentistry—the only place they can get dental care is the dental school in the Philippines (but they aren’t trained to the caliber that American dental students are), so people only go to dentist they absolutely have to. When the people saw us there, they were so excited. They got dressed up in their Sunday best. One woman came to us and she got six root canals—she thanked us before and after—she was just so grateful for the opportunity, and to not be in pain anymore. We are so blessed to have dental care at our fingertips—and it was a privilege to be able to help her.”

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