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NEW MEMBER: Sage Salazar, OA, RDA (California).

ADAA: Why did you choose to become a member of the ADAA?

Salazar: I became a member of ADAA because I was seeking opportunity for higher education and a deeper relationship with the dental community. The camaraderie I see within the association is infectious, and encourages me to continue helping others by igniting the spark for dental assisting that has given me so much gratification. At 22, I decided to embark on the biggest project ever: opening an accredited orthodontic assistant program. Two years and a few all-nighters later, I can finally say I did it! Now my goal is to share the knowledge and passion I have for orthodontics with my fellow assistants. Something very important to me is making sure the Orthodontic Assistant Permit is easily accessible and obtainable for all dental assistants; money, scheduling and other roadblocks should never be a reason to not achieve your goals and I want to help make a difference in assistants' lives. The fulfillment I receive from helping people advance their dental assisting career (and ultimately better their future through higher education) is beyond words, and I am so thankful that I pushed through the tough times and doubt. The relationships I have been able to form mean so much to me, and I am thankful for the opportunity the Dental Board of California gave me to provide top-quality, relevant course material to my students. I look forward to continuing to give them ongoing support after they graduate so they can have the same opportunities I did to grow.

ADAA: What inspires or motivates you about dentistry?

Salazar: I have been dental assisting specifically in orthodontics since my senior year of high school. I was 16 and looking for a purpose--a place to land--when I graduated into the real world. Lucky for me, my high school offered Regional Occupational Programs (ROP) and I took advantage of the dental assisting program. I can easily say that was the most life changing decision I ever made. Since then, I have fallen in love with the field of orthodontics. In 2015, I was offered the responsibility of back office supervisor/clinical trainer at my office in Southern California. With that, I was given the challenge of training assistants with little to no orthodontic experience. The opportunity to help assistants flourished and was so satisfying, I couldn't get enough. In 2016, after a few years of being an RDA in an orthodontic practice, I heard about the Orthodontic Assisting Permit. I quickly enrolled in a program and obtained my permit, which officially marked the beginning of my journey for higher education and teaching.

ADAA: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Salazar: Today, my goal is to become more involved with the dental community and give back. I plan on filling my 2019 calendar year with activities and events that allow me to dive deeper into the wonderful world of dentistry. Within 5 years, I hope to have multiple locations to offer the orthodontic assisting course so I can help educate as many areas as possible. I want to create more courses to help orthodontic assistants learn about the most relevant material, such as lingual braces, advanced orthodontic assisting, and more. Higher education and sharing knowledge will forever be my mission and I hope I will be able to accomplish that with many assistants across California. Please visit for information about the orthodontic assistant program and to subscribe to our blog! Follow us on social media @SoCalOrthoAssisting. I look forward to the opportunity of being a part of ADAA and to build meaningful relationships with assistants who love what they do just like me!
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Title Annotation:MEMBER SPOTLIGHT; An interview with Sage Salazar, Dental Assistant
Publication:The Dental Assistant
Article Type:Interview
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Sep 1, 2018
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