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Dental Assisting Graduate Works Now as a Lead Dental Assistant

March 9, 2021

Dental Assisting Graduate Works Now as a Lead Dental Assistant1When Carrie Rivington was exploring a new career path, she decided to look into Medical Assisting programs. During her tour of Carrington College in Portland, the advisor asked if she had ever considered a career in dental assisting.

“I had never thought about it,” she says, “But he told me a little about the program and said I could always try it and transfer to something different if it wasn’t for me.”

Carrie enrolled and loved it.

“I really loved it because of the teacher—she made it so fun,” she says. “And it was something different for me; I hadn’t realized how important dental assistants are and how much they do.”

Carrie did her externship at Progress Ridge Gentle Dental clinic. Soon after graduating in 2018, she was hired at Advantage Dental, where she still works today as Lead Dental Assistant.

“I love the one-on-one time with the patient; you really feel like you are helping others,” she explains. “The people are so nice there, and I like that I have a Monday-Friday job with regular hours, holidays off, and the flexibility to teach at night at Carrington.”

Carrie began teaching at Carrington College as a part-time Dental Assisting Instructor in December of 2020. Her former instructors had invited her to campus to share her experience with students; her story shows how dedication, compassion, and hard work can lead to success. After her visit, one of her former instructors, Anna Marie Lopez (who is now Campus Director), contacted her.

“Carrie’s positive attitude and strong work ethic stood out as a student,” Anna Marie says. “She is upbeat, friendly, and approachable. She would always help other students, and she was reliable; students doing group work with her knew they could count on her. So, when we had the opening come up for a part-time instructor, we reached out to her.”

Carrie currently teaches lab and lecture in person, assigns work online, and holds office hours via Zoom for special help with such subjects as x-rays or state testing.

“It’s interesting to look at the material from a completely different perspective now—as an instructor,” Carrie says. “I really enjoy it, and I would love to teach full-time.”

Carrie’s manager at Carrington College, Rochelle Mascarenhas (now Program Director), was also her teacher.

“I knew Carrie to be a great student, diligent, and always willing to do what was needed,” Rochelle says. “She always had a plan in place for her education, her career, and her success.”

Rochelle remembers that Carrie pursued her x-ray licensure immediately after completing her program—something many students tend to put off.

“A lot about dentistry is communicating well with the provider, paying attention to what the patient needs, and being organized,” Rochelle explains. “Carrie has those skills, and doctors enjoy working with her.”

Carrie had the instincts of a teacher even when she was a student; Rochelle remembers how quickly Carrie picked things up in class and how helpful she was to other students.

“If she saw another student struggling, she never hesitated to help,” Rochelle remembers. “And she would guide them to the right resources rather than just give them the answer.”

Because Carrie has been a student where she now teaches, her students relate easily to her.

“She has been such a success story to them, and they are motivated because of it,” Rochelle says. “When they see her, they know they can do it, too.”

Learn More About A Career In Dental Assisting

Learn more about dental assisting and find out if a Dental Assisting program is right for you.

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