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Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC

Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC
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Kandice Swarthout, RDH, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Registered Dental Hygienist. She is a full-time dental hygiene educator in Texas, where she teaches community dentistry and research. Kandice is the owner of Inspired Education & Wellness, where she is a speaker, writer, and private practice therapist. Her unique blend of clinical expertise in both dental hygiene and mental health equips her to assist fellow healthcare professionals in recognizing not only their patients’ needs but also their own, fostering deeper connections with the healthcare community. Kandice’s dedication extends to her role as an approved provider for Texas Health and Human Services, specializing in human trafficking training for healthcare providers. Additionally, Kandice brings a touch of fun and camaraderie to the dental community as the co-owner of Muffins & Mimosas Dental Study Club. She offers engaging, in-person dental continuing education that creates a warm and welcoming environment for friends and colleagues to come together to learn. Read her articles in Today’s RDH column, Mental Health Spotlight. Contact Kandice through her website at www.kandiceswarthout.com or on social media @The Counselor Hygienist.

‘Leave It at the Door’: Controlling Emotions in the Dental Workplace

Over the years, I have heard many different cliches and suggestions about the appropriateness of carrying our personal lives through the doors of the dental hygienist's workplace. It has been said that to "bring matters of the heart" to work is considered unprofessional. We should find a way to "check it at the door" and resist all temptation to...

Mental Health Spotlight: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Patient Well-being

In the last Mental Health Spotlight, I talked about trauma, its neurobiological effects, and how it could potentially influence dental patient management and outcomes. With this article, I want to dive deeper into the practice of trauma-informed care. Dental professionals often focus on the clinical aspects of patient care, endeavoring to perfect skills. However, what lies beneath the surface for...

Mental Health Spotlight: What Dental Professionals Should Know about Trauma

Trauma is a word that gets thrown around in our culture without much investigation into its true meaning or impact. I have heard people say they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from events such as writing a research paper in dental hygiene school, a former drama-filled dental office, a television show, and food that does not agree with their...

Mental Health Spotlight: Navigating “I Hate the Dentist” Moments Using Trauma-Informed Care

As soon as the words, "I hate the dentist," fly from my patient's mouth and land in the pit of my soul, I immediately think of all the rebuttals I have ready to lob back. "Me too. Let's get out of here." "Good thing I am not the dentist." "I have never been able to stand them either." "Yeah,...

Mental Health Spotlight: Turning Dental Hygienists’ New Year’s Resolutions into Attainable Goals

Fresh starts are one of life’s gifts that I get a bit giddy over. The new year is a fresh start that leaves me feeling hopeful, motivated, and energized. I feel excited to set new goals, create or reinforce habits, and manifest the next year as “MY YEAR” to live my best life! Are you feeling it, too? I hope...

Mental Health Spotlight: Grief Can Make Holiday Dental Appointments Not So Jolly and Bright

For most of us, the holidays are a time of joy, family, remembrance, feasting, and celebration. We come together with family and friends with the intent of fostering togetherness and rejuvenation before entering a new year. However, for many, as the holidays approach, a deep dread begins as it is a time of grief and loneliness. People who have lost...

Mental Health Spotlight: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Treating First Responders in the Dental Setting

Warning: This article contains explicit descriptions of a traumatic event that may be a trigger for some individuals.  When the brave people who serve as first responders step off the streets and into our dental chairs, we may see them as every other patient seeking routine care. This may seem simple, but it can hold more profound implications for the...

Mental Health Spotlight: Hygienists Can Utilize Implementation Intentions to Achieve Goals

The clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve, and magically, we are to be a changed being, living by a new set of rules that promises a life as an improved human. This set of self-inflicted rules is often unattainable or overwhelming. A new year brings a fresh perspective and opportunity for 12 new glorious chapters to make different...

Roadblocks or Freedom? Using Boundaries in the Dental Office and Life

The word boundary is often misused or misunderstood. Many of my counseling clients believe that a boundary means being harsh, aggressive, or saying “no” at every turn. Often, they think that they will ruin or lose relationships if they suddenly request a different behavior or way of being from a person. Dental hygienists, for example, struggle with a boundary governing...

Patient Education: Why Dental Hygienists Should Stop Being Minimizers

Several years ago, it occurred to me that I was a minimizer. I heard myself say things to my patients, such as, “You have a little bit of bleeding. I am just going to clean your teeth, and you might want to think about getting that cavity treated.” These minimal instructions and suggestions began to stand out when I transitioned...

Can Self-Care be Painful? The Hard Work of Deep Self-Care

The term self-care has become a popular buzz word, usually as encouragement to engage in activities that fill our souls and provide a resting place after a busy day. The term is increasingly appearing on social media, in self-help books, and even advertisements. As dental professionals, we often hear about physical self-care due to the daily microtraumas caused by the...

Emotional Regulation: How Dental Hygienists Can Cope during Stressful Times

As a society and a profession, we are facing an extremely stressful time. The COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions are not only a public health emergency, but it has quickly become an emotional and mental health crisis. Stress-related depression and anxiety are rising while families are trapped at home with no or little income, homeschooling children, and under a constant barrage...

Stressful Times: The Role of Dental Hygienists in Suicide Awareness

Recent world events have created an extremely stressful situation for dental professionals. The cumulative tension of income loss, homeschooling, isolation, lack of essential items, partner power struggles, being inundated with new safety information, and returning to work with stringent infection control mandates may become unendurable for many. Some of us are returning to work and adjusting to the “new normal.”...