Staffing issues are the number one frustration in dentistry. Face it: recruiting, hiring, training and maintaining staff is challenging. Occasionally, you find yourself a “Maria”: the ideal, perfect, educated, loyal, punctual dental assistant. I met my Maria twelve years ago on my first day of work, fresh out of residency. Nobody else has ever measured-up since.

When Maria was assisting me, everything managed to turn out ideal; she always had my back. Many dentists believe staff members can determine, to a great extent, our day-to-day stress levels, as well as the practice’s ultimate success. Like it or not, we depend on these staff to support us in nearly every aspect of our practice. But, why can’t we make every dental assistant a “Maria”?

You can! To answer this important question, you must first understand the motivating forces common to all of the potential candidates for employment within dental practices. What would make your office the ideal place of work for them? Is dental assisting just a stepping-stone for another career, or are they willing to make a long-term commitment to the profession? Surprisingly or not, sometimes the algorithm is much more then just simple financial compensation. I’ve had staff who are looking for, just to name a few: work-life balance, flexibility to care for their children when sick, educational challenges, a positive culture, leadership and advancement options and travel opportunities.

You also need to identify what qualities would make you an ideal “Maria”. For me, it’s: punctuality, speed, education, friendly and consistent upbeat attitude, ability to adapt, and an inherent, intrinsic skill-set. Once you find your Maria, you need to keep her! Dentists often give up a lot for themselves in order to retain the right staff members, initially.

StraightSmile Solutions is the future of orthodontic coaching. We are the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GP’s and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert, in order to enhance information sharing and efficiency in problem solving. I hope to revolutionize orthodontic coaching. As compared to other orthodontic coaching service providers, StraightSmile Solutions is a full-time business. We are independent and not run alongside a clinical practice. We commit our full energy to coaching, and YOU reap the benefits! We pride ourselves on lightning-fast service and responsiveness. StraightSmile Solutions is time and cost-efficient. Our services are available exclusively online. Of the over 128,000 general dentists in the U.S., most have little to no formal educational training in orthodontics. Those who do seek training often have to resort to expensive and time-consuming weekend services. You learn on the job through trial and error, but those errors can be expensive and unfortunate for both patients and doctors. We aim to fill the gap in the market for quality and efficient coaching to provide valuable solutions for doctors and their teams, and subsequent positive outcomes in the quality of patient care.

About the author: Dr. Amanda Wilson is an Orthodontist and the founder of StraightSmile Solutions. For more information, visit