A Day in the Life
How did you become interested in the field of health care?
When I was 20, I interned at a low-cost community health clinic counseling patients on how to make healthier lifestyle choices. My job was to give them advice on the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. I realized that helping people live better lives was really satisfying for me and decided I wanted a career in health care.
After doing some research, I decided to enroll in a two-year dental hygiene program. I’m in my final year and I’m convinced that this is the career for me.
What’s been your favorite part of training to become a dental hygienist?
The best part of the program is that we work in a clinic in addition to spending time in the classroom. The clinic experience is crucial to developing your skills as a hygienist and learning how to help all kinds of patients. At the clinic, I review patient’s medical histories, check their blood pressure, take dental X-rays and perform cleanings.
For some patients, a visit to the dentist is scary — especially when it’s their first time. Some of the patients I see have never visited the dentist before. Calming them can be difficult, but they usually relax after some assurance from me and the rest of my team. And seeing a smile on a patient’s face when they leave puts a smile on mine.
The training has been so exciting and hands-on, I can’t wait to start my new career as a dental hygienist.
What else does a dental hygienist do?
I also educate patients on how to take better care of their teeth. That is a major part of being a dental hygienist. Simple things like regular flossing and brushing are easy and essential for a healthy mouth and teeth.
What’s your best advice for anyone considering becoming a dental hygienist?
If you’re not sure where to begin, I suggest you try working at the front desk of a dental office. Or you can take a course to become a dental assistant and go back for more training later.