The dental assistant uses her soft skills

Robin L. Flanigan

When patients are nervous about dental work, Masumi Elrod does his best to put them at ease, holding their hand during an injection, playing spa music, offering a blanket and aromatherapy or essential oils.

“You almost do therapeutic treatments because a lot of people are phobic,” said Elrod, a dental assistant at Contemporary Dentistry in Brighton. “You have the opportunity to sweeten the experience for them.”

Ongoing research linking oral health and general health will likely continue to increase the demand for preventive dental services, which should increase job prospects faster than the average for all occupations. In the Finger Lakes region, job opportunities for dental assistants are expected to increase 14.5 percent between 2010 and 2020, with 40 openings annually, according to the New York State Department of Labor. Specialists are needed to work in a variety of industries to ensure employers comply with existing and new regulations.

Masumi Elrod

Elrod, 37, received her certification in dental assisting from Monroe Community College and is licensed as a dental assistant by the state of New York. She completed her courses in Neuromuscular Dentistry through LVI Global in Las Vegas and continues her training and research in holistic dentistry through the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.

“It’s interesting work with constant action and great intensity,” said Elrod, who lives in Rochester.

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