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Annual Dental Assistants Recognition Week

Updated: Jun 20

The Dental Assistants Recognition Week™ (also known as DARW) is celebrated during the first full week of March from Sunday to Saturday every year. It is also commonly referred to as dental assistants appreciation week.

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Dental Assistants Recognition Week™ was created to celebrate, recognize, and appreciate the contributions of dental assistants to the field of dentistry. It is celebrated on an annual basis during the first full week of March every year since 1977. This makes the year 2022 the 45th annual DARW.

The week long appreciation for dental assistants are observed in the United States and also in Canada. That means American and Canadian assistants can look forward to the first week of March every year!

This celebration is jointly observed by major dental associations of both countries.

  • American Dental Association (ADA)

  • American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA)

  • Canadian Dental Association (CDA)

  • Canadian Dental Assistants Association (CDAA)

Each year will also focus on a specific theme that will be celebrated so it'll be changing with each year.

History of dental assistants

Dentistry has been around since the dawn of mankind with evidence of dental tools from as early as 130,000 years ago with the Neanderthals. It wasn't until around 1885 that dental assistants first emerged into existence.

The first dental assistant was pioneered by Dr Charles Edmund Kells in 1885 when he enlisted the help of his wife, who consequently became the first female assistant. Prior to that most dentists worked alone without any auxiliary help during chair-side procedures. As Dr Kells' practice grew, he brought on another female dental assistant and that was how the career came to be.

Despite having humble beginnings in the late 1800s, the first association for dental assistants wasn't founded until 1923. It began with Juliette Southard and four other members. They named the association, the American Dental Assistant Association, which is still in existence to this very day.

What do Dental Assistants do?

They are crucial clinical staff members of a dental practice with their main responsibility to assist the dentist and also the hygienist. They are one of three clinical members of the dental office. They have a wide range of tasks and responsibilities.

  • Infection control - ensure that the entire office is clean and prevent cross contamination.

  • Surgical procedures and aseptic technique - assist the operator chair-side for all dental procedures while maintaining an aseptic field.

  • Management of sharps injury - they are the ones who dispose of and manage sharps such as dental needles and scapels for all procedures.

  • Management of clinical waste - they dispose of all contaminated waste such as blood products.

  • Sterilization, disinfectant, and antiseptic - ensure the entire operatory is surgically clean for each patient.

  • Oral health promotion - give post operative instructions as well as oral hygiene instructions on how to brush your teeth, floss, and use mouthwash. Last but not least, how to prevent getting new cavities!

  • Radiography - take dental x-rays on all the patients, which include bitewings, periapicals, full mouth series, and panoramic x-rays.

How to celebrate dental assistants week

  • Social media shout-out. Use #DARW and #DentalAssistantRecognitionWeek to share and also tag any assistants that you know in the post.

  • Tell them in person. Show your appreciation in words!

  • Take them to lunch or dinner. Give them a surprise lunch or dinner and use that time to bond with them.

  • Give a gift. Give them a surprise gift of something that they need or maybe something that they've talking about wanting.

  • Promote the DARW with the ADAA seals, banners, ads, kits, and press release tips.

  • Bring awareness and learn about the profession. Educate the community on what assistants do and why they are important to the field of dentistry.

Previous years and themes for dental assistants week

There is a theme for each year of dental assistants week, which focus on a specific aspect of assistant's role or day in the life of.

  • DARW 2022 - Passionate about our patients, dedicated to our professions

  • DARW 2021 - Our heart goes into every smile

  • DARW 2020 - A 20/20 dental assistant: Looking toward the future

  • DARW 2019 - Today's dental assistants - polished, poised & professional

  • DARW 2018 - Advancing the profession through collaboration and leadership

Upcoming dates for Dental Assistants Recognition Week

DARW is celebrated during the first FULL week of March every year. It always starts with a Sunday even though very few dental practices are even open on that day of the week.

  • DARW 2023 - March 5th 2023 to March 11th 2023

  • DARW 2024 - March 3rd 2024 to March 9th 2024

  • DARW 2025 - March 2nd 2024 to March 8th 2024

  • DARW 2026 - March 1st 2024 to March 7th 2024

  • DARW 2027 - March 7th 2024 to March 13th 2024


This article is written by your long island city dentist, Dr David Chen.



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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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