How to Connect With Other Dental Talent as a Hygienist or Assistant

Two people shaking hands

Key points:
  • Social media (particularly LinkedIn) remains a strong way to build digital connections with other talented dental workers.
  • Join local and regional dental talent associations for networking and learning opportunities.
  • Attending events is a fantastic way to forge in-person bonds with hygienists, assistants, receptionists, and even dentists.
  • Online communities like Reddit provide ongoing support.

The dental talent we work for daily are some of the most passionate, hardworking, and sincere people on the planet. Together, hygienists, assistants, and receptionists are the lifeblood of the dental industry.

But they’re not immune to the world around them.

Twenty-two percent of dental hygienists suffer from burnout. Nearly 30 percent of assistants are looking for another job. And many hygienists and assistants feel overworked and underpaid.

As a company, we’re hyper-focused on helping dental talent reduce burnout, improve their quality of life, and improve their pay structure and freedom. That said, we also believe that cooperation and coordination between dental talent is a huge boon.

Connecting with other dental hygienists, assistants, and receptionists can help you create meaningful work relationships, uncover and solve problems, further education, and (of course) build real, tangible friendships.

But how do you do it?

Let’s look at the most common ways dental talent can connect with each other to help solve some of the issues surrounding the dental industry:

Network via Social Media

While this is the most effort-intensive way of building relationships in the dental community, it’s also probably the most effective. In fact, social media is such a powerful relationship-building tool that’s in nearly a quintessential part of networking in today’s digitally-soaked world.

We don’t need to tell you that social media is also a bit of a dark art. Algorithms can create echo bubbles, news feeds can generate polarization, and attention-driven content can cause mental health issues. Yet, on the other side of the murky water, social platforms do provide value (although, it’s obvious at this point that most of us wish this value was higher).

You can build relationships. Not just with people you know. You can connect with people you should know. For example, leaving snippets of goodwill via LinkedIn’s recommendation feature can quickly help you forge tighter bonds with your coworkers. The firmographic-centric algorithms and search functions also make it extremely easy to find other hygienists. Better, some of the awkwardness of connecting with strangers is blunted by the connections feature, which lets you scout out “friends of friends of friends.” You can “six degrees” your coworkers to a new job, new friend, or new business connection.

To build more personable friendships, Facebook’s accurate (albeit slightly scary) algorithm can swiftly help you discover other hygienists. And, unlike LinkedIn, Facebook tends to err on the side of family and friends — not business.

Platforms like Reddit are also extremely valuable, especially for knowledge-sharing and more winded discussions.

Make no mistake; dental careers are born on social platforms. Knowing the right people (even digitally) can do wonders for your career.

Join a Professional Dental Talent Association

Hygienists are a notoriously tight-knit group. Not only are there professional dental hygienist associations in every state across the United States, but both Canada and the U.S. have an overarching organization filled with tens of thousands of hygienists.

Below, we’ll list some of the dental talent associations that our hygienists, assistants, and receptionists are a part of. Not only do we strongly support many of these institutions, but we partner with many of them to help provide value to dental talent across both countries.

Country-wide Dental Associations:

In addition, each state has its own ADHA-sponsored association. As an example, the Washington State Dental Hygienist Association (WSDHA) exists to support dental hygienists across Washington and the greater Seattle area.

Why join one?

Well, for starters, these associations provide training and support for hygienists. They also engage in hygienist advocacy, commit to research, and provide easy access to wonderful career opportunities.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These organizations are also spectacular at helping hygienists network. They host voices, provide online forums, and create plenty of gateways to connect hygienists with their peers.

While hygienists don’t have to join one of these organizations, they do provide an overwhelming number of benefits to those that do — including some pretty awesome events.

Attend Local Conferences

We’re massive supporters of dental talent conferences. Each year, we set up our booths at a few of these conferences. But they’re handpicked. Make no mistake; we can’t go to every conference. Not because we don’t love the dental talent community (we do), but because there are just SO many local conferences for dental talent across the United States and Canada. Every state, every province, and every major city hosts at least one major dental conference each year.

And, surprise surprise, these conferences are typically hosted by dental talent associations. As a whole, dental hygienists and assistants have tons of conferences to attend each year. Not only do you have organization-specific events, but even the main dental events (such as PAC or GNYDM) also provide seminars, classes, and speeches aimed at hygienists and assistants.

If you want to easily connect with other dental talent, check out your local dental talent association’s event page or join us at a conference like PAC.

Join Online Communities

Online communities are a fantastic way to connect with your peers, develop knowledge, share best practices, and stay up-to-date on the “latest and greatest” dental breakthroughs. More importantly, these online communities allow for anonymous conversations about the true nature of the industry.

You know those questions you’re afraid to ask? That’s where you ask them. Unlike social media, online forums provide a layer of anonymity and a text-centric format.

Here are a few of our favorite online communities:

Remember, this is (by no means) an exhaustive list. There are tons of different online communities to choose from. We recommend leveraging these larger communities, but also joining local association forums and social media groups.

You want the best of both worlds. Local talent will help you build connections and network effectively, while larger communities will help you learn and build friendships.

Your life, your way.

Are you trying to network your way out of a miserable job? We can help. At WORKFORCE, we help dental hygienists, assistants, and receptionists create amazing careers on their terms. Don’t believe us? Pick up one shift. See the difference for yourself.

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