Did you know October is National Dental Hygiene Month? This is when we celebrate the hard work of dental hygienists, who help raise awareness on the importance of good oral health. In honor of this month I thought I would share my story on how I became a dental hygienist.
When I was younger, I always thought I would become a teacher or own a business, but my senior year of high school my career path took a different route. My dentist at the time, who is also a family friend, asked me if I ever thought about being a dental hygienist. He told me I would thrive as a hygienist because I’m a people person; caring and passionate. I started thinking about it and realized that it was something I was interested in. I had already been accepted to my number one school; University of New England, which also happened to have one of the top dental Hygiene programs in New England. I transferred my application from business, to dental hygiene and was accepted! I started college in the fall of 2004, when the red sox won the World Series for the 1st time in 86 years. It was a long, hard three years to earn my Associates Degree in Dental Hygiene, but I had the support of my family, faculty, and fellow classmates, and learned that anything is possible if you work hard enough. That spring of 2007, I took all my board exams, “nerve –racking”! For those of you who do not know, Dental Hygiene Board exams consist of a 2 hour computerized test, 8 hour written exam and a 4 hour clinical exam. After passing all my board exams, I applied for my individual state licenses in MA, ME & NH and had to take a jurisprudence exam for each before I could start working. I started my 1st job in August 2007, at the same time I continued on to get my bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene, graduating in the spring of 2008. It’s rare to find a full time job when starting out as a Dental Hygienist with no experience. I started with one, part-time hygiene position and worked my way to three, part- time hygiene positions. I now work one, full time position here at Parker River Dental. When I was working at three different offices, sometimes it would get confusing, but overall I think it was a great learning experience. Every practice is different, so you learn different techniques, computer systems, and ideas which in the long run makes you more of a well-rounded hygienist. As I stated above, I thought I would become a teacher or own a business when I grew up, but instead I became a hygienist and I get to be all three daily. Although, I might not specifically have a business or teaching degree, I do teach proper oral care daily to adults and children and I use my business skills to help continue to grow and represent Parker River Dental. I believe everything in life happens for a reason, you just need to take advantage of opening doors.
I have been a hygienist now for 10 years! During those 10 years I’ve met so many wonderful people and have expanded my knowledge within the field and truly feel I’ve made a difference in so many people’s lives. I’m honored to be a hygienist and be part of such a loving family and community. So many doors have opened and paths have been taken and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring.
I want to say thank you to all my fellow hygienists out there for all your hard work and dedication! Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!