Showing Gratitude: The Value of Support Staff in Dentistry

Whether in clinical practice or research and education, every great dentist is held up by great support staff. While not often in the spotlight, these individuals represent the oil that keeps the gears of the dental industry turning smoothly. Quintessence Publishing recognizes the value these men and women bring to our industry, so we’re giving our authors the opportunity to share what value their support staff contributes—and to imagine what dentistry would look like without them.

Brooke Blicher, DMD
Coauthor of Endodontics Review: A Study Guide (Quintessence, 2016)

“Our team is incredibly valuable. As the face of our practice, they have much more direct interaction with our patients than the doctors. Their enthusiasm and positive attitudes are what make our patients feel comfortable and assured that they will be well taken care of every step of the way. Without them, my practice could not offer the exceptional care that we do. Just today, my staff spent countless hours behind the scenes getting our malfunctioning software back up and running. Without that, I would not have been able to treat any patients at all! Because of their efforts, I barely knew there was an issue, and my patients were clueless. My team is constantly doing things like this to keep the practice running smoothly. The absence of my team and the incredible support they provide to their colleagues and our patients would result in a clunky system of bumbling doctors trying to make sense of too many areas that are not our expertise!

“I am so grateful to get to work every day with such an incredible group of smart, talented, and passionate colleagues who share my vision of providing exceptional endodontic care. Their engagement in our office and with the patients that we treat makes coming to work a joy and takes (almost!) all the stress out of treating patients in pain. Without my team I’d be toast!”

Practice info:
Upper Valley Endodontics
205 Billings Farm Road, Suite 6A
White River Junction, Vermont 05001


Robert E. Marx, DDS
Author of Oral Pathology in Clinical Dental Practice (Quintessence, 2017) and Oral and Intravenous Bisphosphonate–Induced Osteonecrosis of the Jaws: History, Etiology, Prevention, and Treatment, Second Edition (Quintessence, 2011); coauthor of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: A Rationale for Diagnosis and Treatment, Second Edition (Quintessence, 2012) and Atlas of Oral and Extraoral Bone Harvesting (Quintessence, 2009)

“My support staff consists of a nurse coordinator, four dental assistants, and my secretary, Maria. Their value is so great I cannot even express it completely. Some of it is referral letters, calling and talking to patients, taking radiographs and CBCT scans, putting up with over-bureaucracy in both the medical and dental industries, and more—not to mention the tortuous insurance game that must be played. My practice would fold if not for them. In a way they are more important than me. Their absence would diminish the quantity and quality of our care here at a major academic institution. If they were not here, I would be out fishing every day instead of working.

“To all of my staff: You already know how much I appreciate not only your work but also your creation of a friendly and familial atmosphere in the workplace. Thank you.”

Academic affiliation:
Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Miller School of Medicine
University of Miami
Miami, Florida


George A. Zarb, MS, DDS, MS, PhD, DSc, MD
Editor-in-Chief of The International Journal of Prosthodontics

“In addition to my academic work, my staff has supported my Quintessence-related activities, which have spanned several decades and involved books, journals, and symposia. The value of my support staff in all of these endeavors can be summed up with one word: invaluable. My work’s impact results from diverse levels of partnership. Flying solo would be disastrous, and the effectiveness of my educational mandate would be significantly compromised.

“To my staff I would say this: Please do not change. Your integrity of commitment and warm camaraderie are indispensable.”

Academic affiliation:
Faculty of Dentistry
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario


Douglas A. Terry, DDS
Author of Restoring with Flowables (Quintessence, 2016), Smile! Your Guide to Esthetic Dental Treatment (Quintessence, 2014), What’s in Your Mouth? Your Guide to a Lifelong Smile (Quintessence, 2014), and What’s in Your Mouth? What’s in Your Child’s Mouth? (Quintessence, 2013); coauthor of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry: Material Selection and Technique, Third Edition (Quintessence, 2018)

“We call our team the A-team, and their participation in the interdisciplinary process is of utmost importance in sustaining the correct sequence of events. Many interdisciplinary offices can put the cart before the horse, leading to an improper sequence and wasted time during treatment planning as well as restorative and surgical treatment. Our team reinforces our practice’s core values during every interaction with every patient: to prevent the need for that first restoration or surgical procedure, to preserve hard and soft tissue during any operative or surgical procedure, and to increase the longevity of a given restoration or surgical procedure. We consider the patient to be part of our A-team, and my staff helps integrate them into our team so that they can be part of the restorative solution.

“Without my staff, there would be no coordination between the interdisciplinary team and the patient. Additionally, the patients would not receive the necessary instruction and reinforcement for optimal oral health. The quality of care would diminish, and this would be reflected in the value of the patients’ oral care. So, to both my patients and my staff, I would like to say this: Thank you for making this journey not a job, but a lifestyle.”

Practice info:
Institute of Esthetics and Restorative Dentistry
12050 Beamer Road
Houston, Texas 77089


John A. Khademi, DDS, MS
Author of Advanced CBCT for Endodontics: Technical Considerations, Perception, and Decision-Making (Quintessence, 2017)

“The most important value my staff brings to my practice is trust. I trust my staff to insulate me from all of the tasks required to really run the office. They are the friendly faces who represent our office. They manage the appointment schedule, record keeping, radiography, and report generation. There are many aspects of running the practice that I don’t actually know how to do anymore, and they do all of these things quickly, accurately, and better than I would be able to do. My chairsides are also intimately involved in treatment—we practice using a microscope 100% of the time, and my chairsides stand at the microscope as well.

“I trust that my staff will always act in the best interests of our patients and our practice. This year, that trust became even more important to me because of the distractions of a busy travel schedule and writing a book. My staff has covered for me and put up with their absentminded and sometimes grumpy boss, which is why they are included in the dedication of my book.

“Ana, Amelia, Ashlee, and Jen: You are the best team I have ever had. We are busier now than we have ever been, and you have stepped up to the plate day after day and delivered. You never complain about staying late to fit in emergency patients or about the volume of work that needs to get done every day. When I walk into the room, you’re ready, the patient is ready, and if I’m not ready, you’re so on the ball that you get me ready! Thank you for always trying to do what I want, regardless of what I actually say.”

Practice info:
Four Corners Endodontics
1570 E 2nd Avenue
Durango, Colorado 81301


Matthew Mizukawa, DDS
Coeditor of Anesthesia Considerations for the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (Quintessence, 2017)

“Having a knowledgeable, well-trained support staff is invaluable, and treating patients from day to day would be impossible without them. Without adequate, competent staff by my side, the patient’s safety would largely be jeopardized—from both a surgical standpoint and especially from an anesthesia standpoint, as the staff monitors and maintains the patient’s safety during surgery.

“The support staff in my office is incredible, and I want to publicly express my gratitude to them. Whatever capacity they work in, they are all vital components to the overall practice. They make the patient experience: They are with the patient from the moment they walk in the door all the way through the procedure and recovery. They are the ones who discuss sensitive financial information with the patient, and they act with professionalism at every step. They come to work day in and day out—and sometimes afterhours for emergencies—and continue to put forth their best effort for me, my partner, and more importantly for our patients. They truly make it a pleasure to come to work.”

Practice info:
Dixie Oral Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery
1308 East 900 South, Suite A
St. George, Utah 84790


Richard Rubinstein, DDS, MS, FACD
Coauthor of The Art and Science of Contemporary Surgical Endodontics (Quintessence, 2017) and Practical Lessons in Endodontic Surgery (Quintessence, 1998)

“I have been practicing endodontics for 42 years, first in a solo practice and later in a large group practice. I have been blessed with an office manager, Jan Betts, who has been by my side from the very beginning. It would be fair to say she runs my professional life. My two senior assistants, Stacy Hammonds and Jenny McDonough, have been with me for 22 and 18 years, respectively. They are right there with me when I travel to give hands-on courses. I am only as good as my assistants, and without my staff I would be lost. Through the years I have been quite successful in helping them to develop into mini-endodontists, and we are always learning together in order to deliver the best results possible for our patients. Whether we are performing conventional endodontics or microsurgery, they assist and observe the field through assistant binoculars. We truly work as a team, and every day when I leave the office the last thing I say to them is ‘thank you.’ They are more than just my staff—they are lifelong professional colleagues and friends.”

Practice info:
Endodontic Associates
Farmington Hills—West Bloomfield
31410 Northwestern Highway, Suite C
Farmington Hills, Michigan 48334

Quintessence readers: What value does your support staff bring? What would your practice or academic work look like without them, and how would their absence affect the quality of care and education you are able to provide? Share this article with your staff and include some words of your own for them!

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

William Arthur Ward

Books for Your Practice


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