Taking on the tooth-i-est of challenges


A keen interest in the field and a family link was all it took for Ella Manuel to head down the path of working in the world of dentistry. Completing a Certificate III in Dental Assisting while undertaking her year 11 and 12 studies allowed Ella to gain the necessary qualifications to secure a full-time job straight after finishing her high school career at Narangba Valley State High School.

“My Certificate III in Dental Assisting involved both practical and theory work which I did over 2 years while completing my final years of schooling, although this certificate can be done in 12 months," Ella says. “I came to work at Burpengary Dental one day a week where I did the practical side of my certificate and did the theory work in my spare time."

It seems heading into the world of dentistry was inevitable for Ella with other members of her family already working in the industry.

“My interest in the dental industry came from my mother and her mum," she says. “They have both previously been dental assistants and my mum is now the practice manager at Burpengary Dental.

“Becoming a dental assistant also interests me in many ways. I had a casual job at Burpengary Dental, two afternoons a week before I started my certificate work."

It's an opportunity Ella has relished. She is now employed as a qualified dental assistant full-time at Burpengary Dental where her role involves working alongside the dentist chairside, reception work and sterilisation.

“As I was already employed at Burpengary Dental, I was lucky enough to gain a full time job after finishing high school, which I'm extremely grateful for," Ella says. “So far, I have really enjoyed and loved working as a full time dental assistant and find it interesting.

“I love all the different aspects that are involved in the dental industry such as cleans, fillings, root canal, extractions, crowns and so much more. The quick and fast pace of working as a dental assistant is challenging but keeps me on my feet."

Despite all the positive aspects, it would seem it's also not a job for the faint of heart.

“Although I love working as a dental assistant, sitting uncomfortably all day, can sometimes be an issue," Ella says. “Dealing with unpleasant patients can be very challenging as well. But probably one of the biggest things is working near the mouth, it's also very dangerous and can lead to exposure of diseases."

Only in her first year out of high school Ella hasn't thought too much about the future just yet, but she is considering her options. Although, it seems her current job does come with some perks for others.

“At the moment I don't have any long term plans," she says. “I would like to keep continuing dental assisting and hopefully eventually work my way up, maybe work for the government or even travel overseas for a few years.

“As I have only been working as a qualified dental assistant for a few months I don't know everything about the mouth/teeth, but I'm still learning. Although, I do have quite a few friends that ask for advice about their teeth and I give them all the information/advice I know."

Last reviewed 18 August 2022
Last updated 18 August 2022