We’re shining the spotlight on Brandi Carlin, Dental Assistant at Westlake Dental in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. Brandi tells us about her strong work ethic, growing up on a farm, and the importance of showing compassion.
Tell us about your background — why did you choose this career, and how long have you been with Westlake Dental?
I’m a small-town farm girl from western Canada who graduated from high school in a class of six students. I went through extensive dental work at a young age, including jaw surgery and six long years of braces, and I was fascinated with my treatment process. My parents had two friends who worked in the dental profession, whose careers I admired. I've been with Westlake Dental since 2004. However, Dr. Sexsmith and I worked together previously.
What do you enjoy most about being a dental assistant?
I love getting to know our patients and watching their families grow. It’s always exciting to see patients who started as children bring their families to our office for first-time visits.
What skills are essential to being successful as a dental assistant?
Successful dental assistants are quick on their feet and excellent multitaskers. We're dependable team members with strong work ethics.
What’s the most interesting dental fact that you know?
There are over 300 different species of bacteria in your mouth. So, brush, floss, and swish, please!
What do you think is a common dental myth?
I think a common (and silly) dental myth is that you don’t need to take care of baby teeth because they fall out anyways.
Do you have a favourite patient or practice story?
I slipped out of my chair during my practicum onto a patient’s lap. Ironically, the patient was my dad’s friend, so I still hear about it today.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received, and what advice would you offer those joining the industry?
My advice would be to work hard, keep busy, and remember that not everyone has a similar work ethic. When I was growing up, I always had tasks to complete, and if I went dormant, my dad or uncles made sure to give me more to do. I learned how to drive our farm equipment when I was 11, even though I could hardly see over the steering wheel. If I wasn’t feeding cows or in the field working, I was helping my mom in the garden or with my three younger siblings. I had to find things to keep busy, or someone would assign me a job, so I respect people who work hard. I’m very blessed to work with a super dedicated team.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
In my spare time, you can either find me gardening, hunting or fishing, crafting with my kids, or doing my nails and eyebrows. My family is everything to me. I have a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy, so spare time is precious.
What’s the best advice or guidance you have received, either personal or professional?
How people treat you reflects what they are going through in their lives. It’s important to show compassion and be kind. If you can’t, learn to walk away. I struggle with this as an empath because I tend to take on energy easily. I’m slowly learning that I can only control how I react. It's challenging to push that energy away because I constantly feel compelled to help. But I try to remember to release things that are not in my control, accept what I can’t change, and strive to do better with what I have.