At 19, Staci Chell envisioned herself as a child educator, but an opportunity at a dental practice shifted her course. Later as a dental assistant, hands-on training in a hospital residency dental program opened her eyes to unique aspects of her role. Today, she advises patients at West Village Dentistry in New York City, and during Dental Assistants Recognition Week she shares inspiration for anyone considering the profession.

Thirty-one years into a successful career as a dental assistant, Chell says that technology has advanced, but what she loves most about the job has been there since day one — the patients.

What inspired Dental Assistant Staci Chell to a career in dentistry?

“My dream was to become a kindergarten teacher. When I was 19 years old, my brother’s girlfriend at the time was a dental assistant. She asked me if I wanted a job at the practice where she was working. I had no clue as to any aspects of dental. The doctor and staff trained me.

As I became more familiar with the job, I wanted to learn more. I was offered a job within a residency dental program in a hospital setting. It was there that I was able to be hands on the job and open my eyes to see how unique this field was. Listening to the attendings, surgeons, specialists inspired me to become the best dental assistant that I could be.”

“It’s the type of job that’s hands on all the time. You need to be sharp as a nail and quick on your feet. That’s definitely my personality!”

Staci Chell, Dental Assistant at West Village Dentistry in New York City

What does one dental assistant at West Village Dentistry in NYC find most fulfilling about her career?

The thing I love most about the job are my patients. You get to know them and they begin to trust you. I enjoy seeing the end result of a big case, especially, when working on it for a year. Also, the doctor and staff become like a little work family; I’m blessed to have found that.

Career tip >>“If you respect one another and work as a team, going to work doesn’t feel like work.”

When providing care to dental patients, what is the best piece of advice NYC Dental Assistant Staci Chell regularly offers?

“I advise my patients to floss twice a day. See your regular dentist every six months for your check up and cleanings.”

Which innovative technology improved daily responsibilities for Dental Assistant Staci Chell?

Milling crowns in house, rather then sending them out to the lab.

“It has made such a difference in the way we do things in the office. With this technology, we don’t have to take putty impressions, fabricate a temporary crown, or have the patient come back for the crown, veneer, bridge to be inserted (cemented). The patients are always happy with the results.”

When did Staci Chell knew her efforts were making an impact on her dental patients?

Tears of joy from the parent of young patient stand out in Chell’s memory.

“While I was working with an oral surgeon, we had four-year old boy come in for a frenectomy. His mom was very nervous and was reassured that her son would be fine. As mom sat outside the room and the surgeon finished with the procedure, immediately the little boy’s tongue stuck out and he said, ‘Mommy, I’m done!’

“His mom ran in the room crying because it was the first time her son was able to say ‘Mommy’ without struggling. Her tears of joy I will never forget.

NYC Dental Assistant Staci Chell recalls a memorable parent reaction after a 4-year-old dental patient’s successful surgery

As a Dental Assistant, Staci Chell never stops seeking the knowledge that will benefit her dental patients

Chell completed an associates degree in science from Brooklyn College, and has never stopped seeking knowledge. Accomplished in her field, she has earned a NY Infection Control CEU Certificate and a Dale Carnegie Customer Care Certificate.

Married with four children and two grandchildren, the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn resident sums her career as a dental assistant up in one sentence:

“All in all, I just really love to help people and make them feel at ease.”