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Students & New Grads

Failing the Board Exam: Dental Hygienist Reflects on Tougher Road Taken

Two summers ago, I was preparing to retake my clinical board exam. I had already failed the exam in Great Falls, Montana, and was preparing to drive to Boise, Idaho, to retake the exam. I had never been to Boise. I had never been to or even seen another dental hygiene school. Failure in Boise would have meant that...

Degree Completion: A Bachelor’s Can Unlock Opportunities for Dental Hygienists

Graduation from dental hygiene school is an impressive and rewarding accomplishment. For many, it meant overcoming numerous challenges and obstacles to ultimately achieve the dream of working as a dental hygienist. If you're like me, it means that ─ even after several years of a commitment to prerequisite courses and hygiene courses ─ at the end of it all, you're...

5 Things You Did Not Learn in Hygiene School

Congratulations! You have finally graduated from hygiene school (that you thought would never end), you have passed all of your boards, and have landed your first job in private practice. Before you begin to feel too overwhelmed, here are some things I wish I knew after hygiene school. Not All Patients Will Be Nice In hygiene school, patients knew that...

New Dental Hygiene Grads: 10 Tips for Transitioning to Practice

New graduate, I know the past few years probably seem like a blur to you. You've endured many hours of studying, mock boards, clinicals, taking tests, meeting proficiencies, late-night cram sessions, searching for that perfect board patient, and now it has finally paid off! Be proud of your dental hygiene school accomplishments. You really have done so much in a...

Helping Patients Overcome the Anxiety of Working with a New Graduate

Being a new hygienist, I find myself facing many challenges beyond clinical work. Acclimating myself to a new set of patients and moving to a different office system have been challenges of their own. While some patients are very open and accepting to having a new hire or a different hygienist provide treatment, some often shy away or get...

Hygiene School During COVID: How My Class Braved Through It

The sun is barely out this morning, and my six clinic buddies and I wait in our cars in the campus parking lot. When the clock hits seven, our dental hygiene instructors emerge from the building holding baskets that contain thermometers, masks, and sanitizers. We wear our masks and lower the windows. They greet us and take our temperatures, ask...

Things I Wish I Could Tell Myself When I Started Hygiene

The ever-popular catchphrase that hindsight is 20/20 has been validated throughout my dental hygiene career. If the 15-year veteran in me could go back to talk to the dental hygiene student in me, she would have a plethora of advice and suggestions to offer. However, all I can do now is pass along what I have learned to those...

10 Questions: How to Ace Your First Dental Hygiene Temp Job

So you just landed your first dental hygiene temp job – that’s great! Whether you’re a new graduate, a mom who is returning to work after maternity leave, a seasoned hygienist looking to make extra money on the side, or a freelancer not wanting to commit to a permanent position, here are some important questions you should think about...

The Best Student: 7 Traits for Success in Hygiene School

Dental hygiene school can be grueling from that first prerequisite class to clinicals, and all the way through regional and national boards. Long days are followed by late nights forged with blood, sweat, and tears. Yet, it seems some individuals are more immune to the pressures and rigors of college life than others. Why is that? Working as a professor...

Tips to Avoid Working in Fast Food Dentistry aka Prophy Mills

I remember the feeling of relief like it was just yesterday. I had jumped for joy after passing to officially become a registered dental hygienist! I was unstoppable, and I felt that I was finally about to have my life together. That summer, I had multiple interviews lined up since most employers were asking for one to two days of...

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