Dental Assistant Student Chronicles Her Educational Journey on TikTok
Chardonnay Moore’s interest in dentistry initially evolved from parental guilt.
A young mother of two daughters, Chardonnay said she unknowingly bottle fed her oldest child for too long. This led to significant damage to her teeth.
“She had a lot of decalcification,” Chardonnay said. “It was eating at her teeth, so they had to put silver caps on most of her teeth except for her front ones. It was her first visit (to the dentist), and they had to put her under. It hurt me because I didn’t know that would happen.”
While painful, the experience led Chardonnay toward a desire to learn more about the dentistry field. At first, her curiosity grew simply not wanting to make the same mistake twice. But soon, her interest became a passion, and Chardonnay began to see career potential within this passion.
So, living in Indiana at the time, she enrolled in a dental assistant program in her area. A move back to her home state of Florida forced her to restart her educational journey, however, and that’s when she enrolled in the Dental Assistant Program at the Jacksonville campus of Florida Career College (FCC).
“I was determined to make sure I got my certification for dental assistant because I really wanted to be in this field,” Chardonnay said. “When I made my first visit to FCC, I thought, ‘These are my guys.’”
A naturally enthusiastic person, Chardonnay dove into the program with a high level of energy. She even regularly documented her journey through video clips she would record and post on TikTok under the handle @1funnyda.
It’s here where Chardonnay celebrates her ensuing success in the program, such as finishing classes at FCC, completing her externship, and being hired as a full-time dental assistant at her externship site, American Dental Wellness. Her outgoing personality is hard to overlook in any of her videos.
“I’m like that 24-7,” she said. “It does not change. What you see is what you get. Being outgoing like this on TikTok helps me relieve stress, and it’s helped me stay positive as I’ve overcome obstacles on my journey toward becoming a dental assistant.”
GETTING REAL-WORLD TRAINING AT FCC
Before Chardonnay discovered her interest in dentistry, she worked in various warehouses for major box stores and e-commerce companies. Even at a relatively young age, however, she already started noticing how manual labor was taking a toll on her body and sought a different path.
After a move to Indiana didn’t work out, Chardonnay came back to Florida intent on completing her career training in dental assisting. That’s when she enrolled in Florida Career College’s Dental Assistant program.
“When I went up there and met the teachers before I started classes, they made everything comfortable,” she said. “Still to this day, they still check up on me and make sure all is going well. And, they make sure I know I can still call them if I have any questions, and they will help me.”
While Chardonnay had taken dental assisting classes at a different school while living in Indiana, she said she noticed a marked difference in FCC’s approach to educating students.
“At FCC, my instructor, Ms. Jessica Wooding, gave me real-life scenarios on how to do things, what needed to be done, how best to work with doctors, and other stuff. She was in the field for 13 years before teaching, so she definitely made sure I knew everything I needed to know,” Chardonnay said.
Upon completing her classes while earning straight-A’s, Chardonnay went on to complete her externship module, during which she made a quick impression. She asked a lot of questions, and she started assisting with patients on day one.
On her second day, the employer offered her a full-time job. This wasn’t surprising to Damario Belford, Associate Director of Education at FCC’s Jacksonville campus.
“Chardonnay is an awesome student – very smart, funny, energetic and entertaining,” he said. “She picked up on dental assisting very quick. She is what a dental assistant should be, and she has even come back and spoken to some of the other students about her externship journey. She is a people person, very compassionate, very helpful, and always there to help other students if they needed anything.”
GROWING AS A DENTAL ASSISTANT WHILE STAYING TRUE TO HERSELF
When Chardonnay started classes at Florida Career College, she felt like the journey – especially after having already taken classes at a previous school – was going to be a long one. But, her instructors insisted that the time would fly by so quickly she would wonder where it went.
This is what inspired her to start posting school- and career-related videos to TikTok – so she could go back and remember all the work she put into classes, training, labs, and so on.
“I wanted to look at my progress and look back to where I’ve been and how far I’ve come,” she said. “And, it really did fly by.”
Making the videos, Chardonnay said, not only helped her overcome stress, but it also helped her meet and bond with other people at FCC. She often recruited classmates, instructors and campus staff members to participate and dance in her videos, a practice she’s continued at her new job.
“My first day on extern, they let me do a video in their office when they accepted me on the team,” she said. “They’re OK with me doing TikTok there; they know I’m a TikTok person. I even inspired the company to make a TikTok page.”
Chardonnay enjoys the energetic, positive and celebratory nature of TikTok videos, all of which melds will with her personality – traits she sees translating over to becoming a successful dental assistant.
“It actually really does translate, especially in the field of dentistry, where a lot of people are scared to go see the dentist,” she said. “If you’re happy and giggly and joke around with the patient, it’ll help the appointment go better.”
Chardonnay looks forward to working and evolving as a dental assistant until her two girls grew a little older. Then, she’d like to go back to school to become a dental hygienist. Regardless of her position in the clinic, however, she intends to remain true to herself as a positive, patient-centered professional.
“I want people to love their experience, and I want them to keep coming back,” she said.