I was born/grew up in: Bathurst NB. I grew up in Riverview, NB
I now live in: Saint John, NB
What I do at work
I work as part of a dental team to help make sure our patients have good dental health. On a day-to-day basis, I clean patients’ teeth. This involves the use of a lot of specialized equipment and tools. One piece of equipment is digital radiography. This is a special type of x-ray that allows me to look at the insides of a patient’s gums and teeth. It helps me spot issues that may not be visible on the surface so I can take action before it gets worse. Making sure that the instruments I use are clean and sterilized is another important part of my job.
I also provide oral hygiene instructions if needed to help patients keep their mouth, teeth and gums healthy and free of disease. Motivating people for better oral hygiene is always challenging. Sometimes I have to help them deal with their fear while they are in the dental chair.
Having the knowledge in dental anatomy as well as head and neck anatomy and the oral mucosa helps on a daily basis treating and diagnosing issues that may come up with patients. Working in a dental office involves working with a dental team all having an important role in the day-to-day operation, from making sure sterilization is done properly to making sure patient flow is running smoothly.
My career path is
My career path has been more straightforward than most. When I graduated with my hygienist diploma, I found a job right away. I worked with this office for a while and then had the opportunity to work in a periodontist specialty office. I worked here for a good part of my career and this allowed me to use more of my training than you would in a general practice. In this practice, we did a lot of surgeries, so as a dental hygienist I was able to do the post-surgical care as well as suture removal.
I am motivated by
I enjoy my career because every day you are meeting new people. I work with great coworkers that get you through those crazy busy days. I also enjoy controlling my own schedule. Over the years, I have reduced my workweek so I could extend my working life. Seeing patients and watching their families grow is very rewarding.
How I affect peoples’ lives
Having worked in the field for almost 30 years it is very fulfilling treating families and watching them grow. Seeing the same patients every 6 months, you really develop a relationship and learn a lot about your patients. Helping people maintain their teeth for most of their life is very fulfilling and a goal that we strive for as dental professionals.
Outside of work I
Dental Hygiene is a career that can be very hard on your body and you can develop back, shoulder and neck problems over the years. As a result, it is very important to keep physically fit. I walk a lot and go to the gym regularly. I am very involved with our curling club as both a curler as well as serving on the board for many years. I used to be a competitive curler and represented my province at national events. But today, I’m more of a recreational curler. Most of my volunteer time is done at the curling club.
My advice to others
Dental Hygiene is a very rewarding career. Many offices have shorter workweeks. This gives you more time for family life. On the down side, as a hygienist your day is very scheduled so you don’t have much down time.