26 Jul 2017
Gone are the days of being scared of the dentist. While for many a trip to the dentist can be quite daunting, according to 17-year-old school-based Dental Assistant Trainee Talia Mountford, there’s absolutely nothing to be scared of.
Talia has been selected as a North Coast regional finalist in the Queensland Training Awards School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year Award and said modern dental techniques are completely painless, but it’s normal for people to feel nervous.
“As a Dental Assistant, we’re trained to understand the anxiety and stress sometimes associated with dental procedures and consequently work hard to ensure patients are relaxed, comforted and enjoy their visit as much as possible,” Talia said.
Talia is studying a Certificate III in Dental Assisting – Traineeship at TAFE and working at Diamond Dental Care two days a week to complement her senior schooling at Brisbane School of Distance Education.
“I’ve never been scared of going to the dentist. I’m a clean and hygienic person so it’s a natural fit for me,” Talia said.
“I assist dentists and hygienists in procedures like surgical extractions, root canal treatments, crowns and bridges, teeth cleaning, fillings and oral impressions using tools like suction units and mirrors.”
“I chose to undertake a school-based traineeship because I felt it would be not only something which I’d enjoy doing, but also it would increase my chances of immediate employment after Year 12.”
“I’ve been building my career since Year 10, so doing school differently means I’ll finish with a QCE as well as graduating as a qualified Dental Assistant,” she said.
Starting her traineeship as a self-confessed shy 15-year-old Year 10 student, Talia said she initially struggled communicating confidently with patients.
“At first I wasn’t comfortable talking to patients, I was always really nervous. But now my skills have become second nature and talking to people is easy – I feel far more confident,” Talia said.
“During dental procedures, I’m responsible for the patient’s care. I’ve learnt to overcome my nerves to make sure patients feel safe and comfortable. It’s important everyone feels welcome and cared for,” she said.
Dental Assistants are vitally important to the smooth operation of any dental practice, and as Talia nears the conclusion of both her traineeship and senior studies she’s both proud of what she’s achieved and is eager to build upon the skills she’s acquired.
“My training at Diamond Dental Care has really set me up for success and I’m excited to see what the future holds,” Talia said.
“School-Based Traineeships are a valuable way to complete your senior schooling and I thoroughly recommend it. It’s a great alternative to the OP pathway because it provides a qualification relevant to gaining employment after school.”
“My traineeship was a funded program and definitely a positive investment in my future. I was able to remain in school and study while earning a wage.”
“I have developed life skills and confidence in myself and my abilities, which assists me to communicate and interact effectively in many social situations.
While she hasn’t been in the paper [yet], received an award or recognition [yet], and nobody stops her in the street to acknowledge her great accomplishments [yet], Talia is a young professional proud of who she is and the career path she has chosen.
“I am who I am: I am consistent, I am honest, I am loyal and I am me. I am being the best “me” I can be,” Talia said.
“Every day I ensure that both the care I provide and the way in which I provide it, is always of the very highest standards,” she said.