Dr. Richard Wilczek would never tie a hand behind his back before starting work on a patient. But, if he didn’t have a certified dental assistant by his side, that’s essentially what he’d be doing.
“Dental assistants are a vital part in the delivery of dental care to patients,” says Wilczek, who has 40 years of experience as a dentist, most of that time in his own practice. “You can only provide limited services without staff.”
A certified dental assistant performs many duties. Providing direct support to a dentist during patient care is one. Other responsibilities include taking X-rays and impressions, cleaning teeth above the gum line, applying fluoride treatments and fissure sealants, and offering oral hygiene instructions.
At Wilczek’s Prince George practice – which includes his daughter, Dr. Michelle Wilczek-Piekarska – there are four certified dental assistants. All are graduates of the College of New Caledonia and one of them, Diane Connaghan, has been part of Wilczek’s staff for 39 years.
“It’s a great career,” Wilczek says of dental assisting. “People stay in it a long time. And what’s interesting in dentistry, you get direct results. We’re generally with healthy people, we improve a lot of smiles, we get people out of pain, and dental assistants are an integral part of the delivery system.”
Wilczek has long been a supporter of dental education at CNC. He was the inaugural instructor of an introduction to dentistry course that preceded the establishment of the college’s formal dental program. Around that same time, he was front and centre at the ceremonial sod turning for the dental building and later became part of the clinical faculty, a post he held for 25 years.
Wilczek recommends CNC’s one-year Dental Assistant Certificate program to anyone who wants to seek employment in the field.
“It has a good, caring faculty and they produce excellent assistants that everybody’s happy to hire,” he says. “It’s a really good program with a good track record.”
Certified dental assistants are currently in high demand.
“There are more jobs than there are candidates,” Wilczek says. “If they can finish their program, there are jobs waiting for them.”
Learn More about the Dental Assistant Certificate Program
Read more about the program, admission requirements, and learn how to apply.