I just received a wonderful e-mail from a woman named Mary in Ireland. She works with the Irish Dental Nurses Association. She had found this weblog and wants to link to it. I took a look at their website and was impressed with what they are trying to do. Just like dental assistants in the United States, they are trying to come together as a group to promote dental assisting as a profession. As I read her e-mail I thought about how insular we become, not only as dental assistants, but as citizens of the world. We really never think about assistants in other countries. Sometimes, I bet we're even surprised to think that there are assistants in other countries. One thing this weblog has let me see is that not only are there assistants world-wide, they also want to see what's going on everywhere. They read this weblog. I have readers from all parts of Europe including Poland and Italy. I have some that I haven't quite figured out because I can't tell what language I've been translated into. The point is, we're all more alike than we are different, but it would be fun to discover the differences. I'd love to invite anyone who is reading this from outside the United States to click on comment and tell us more about yourself. We'd love to hear about dental assisting in your country. I do want to urge American Dental Assistants to consider becoming a member of the American Dental Assistants Association. I also would like to encourage you to become certified through DANB. A dentist that I admire personally and professionally and I were talking about the difference in hygienists salaries and assistants salaries. I've never understood it because even though I highly value what a hygienist brings to a practice, I also value what a good, trained assistant brings. I think that assistants have to understand a wide scope of dental procedures and can provide a great deal of education to their patients. This dentist told me that the license of the hygienist is valued higher than the certification of the assistant because the hygienist cannot work without it, but the assistant can work without being certified and can even be trained on the job. I feel it's time for professional assistants to take responsibility for their profession and press for mandatory certification and also for a two year assisting program that includes expanded duties and ends with a state or national test that results in licensing. I would like to encourage dentists to promote this, as well. It is not just a way to increase salaries, it is a way to increase respect for the profession and would keep assistants in the field longer. It may also prevent turn-over in the position in practices which all adds to the productivity of the practice. What do you think?