Smiles in the Making: Briana Poston’s Inspiring Career Shift to Dental Assisting

Career Shift to Dental AssistingBriana Poston first thought about attending school to become a dental assistant during a visit to an oral surgeon in 2020. At the time she had been working as a grocery store manager and was looking for a change. A year later, in 2021, she graduated from the Dental Assisting program at Carrington College in San Leandro. She is now enjoying a career as a Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) at a nearby growing dental practice.  

How did you decide to pursue a career in the dental field?

I had gone into San Leandro Oral Surgery for an exam because I was having wisdom teeth pain, and I wondered what it would be like to have a career in dental field. When I did a search, Carrington College popped up; I had also heard about the school from other people. I applied, they called me right away, and I signed up.

How did you know that?

It was the closest school, which made it convenient. They reached out when I applied, they got me signed up, and they just helped make it happen. I was at a good time in my life to focus on it, so I went for it.

What was your favorite part of the program, and what was the most challenging part?

I think the two instructors, Ms. Melocini and Ms. Jenkins, did a very good job of thoroughly going through each term. My favorite part was learning something new and being able to do it well. Because of Covid, we were only in the clinic/classroom two days a week (before Covid, all five days were spent in the classroom). So, the program was a little bit different for me because of that, and more of a challenge because I felt we missed out on that part of it.

Where do you work now, and what is your title?

I work at Castro Valley Smiles as a registered dental assistant and lead, so I run the back office. Been there for two years and I was hired from my externship while still a student at Carrington College, I applied and got in touch with them, then chose my externship location. It was great, and I really wanted to jumpstart that process and start working.

What does a typical day look like for you at your job? What do you like most about your job?

I’m in a period of transition as my doctor has two practices (one is new), so for the last three months or so, I’ve been going to the new practice and overseeing the training of new assistants, equipment, etc.. Usually though, I open at 7:30 a.m., run the sterilizer, vacuum, and set up the office and rooms. I take on our externs, training them and getting them up to speed so they are ready to be hired. Then I do inventory as well, and order for specialists, general, and support my doctor in assisting. I am also chairside all day long and make sure the front office is running smoothly, and that scheduling is being done properly for certain procedures.

Do you have any words of advice for someone who is considering a career in Dental Assisting?

I think that the dental assisting program at Carrington College gives you the basics of what dental assisting is going to look like. When you are in a dental office, though, it’s different, because working in the field is where you learn everything else. This is a career, so be ready to take this seriously. Because it’s the medical field, and you are dealing with people’s health, it also deals with their confidence, outlook, finances, and more. It’s an important responsibility you have to be ready for.

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