Ready to Get Out of Dental Hygiene? — Hygiene Edge


This is why I’m still a dental hygienist.

Ever jump on any online dental hygiene message boards? What do you see? Honestly, so many people asking what’s next in their careers, how to get out of dental hygiene, and ultimately feeling very stuck in their current situations. And to be honest, I’ve been there! I remember being in dental hygiene school in my very last semester, working on one of my last requirements. It was a pretty tricky patient for me as a student, and I was sitting in the very back corner operatory that was a little bit away from everyone else. This was the patient’s third appointment since his calculus was the type you needed a diamond bur to remove, and it was honestly just a discouraging time. I specifically remember thinking, “What am I doing? I’m picking this career for the rest of my life?”

And yet, here I am, 13 years of dental hygiene later, and still in the field. Probably more involved than I ever thought I’d be. When people ask me what I like to do for fun, I can honestly say I love to work. How pathetic is that? How did I go from regretting every decision I had made up to dental hygiene school, to now. Well, it wasn’t a perfect road. It’s been rocky, and I’ve seriously contemplated leaving several times. But, overall, I’m so grateful for what this profession has done for me. If you’re thinking about leaving or wondering what’s next, try out these few tips:

  1. Don’t go into education if you’re looking for an out. I know that seems crazy, but I kind of thought that the only option for me outside of clinical hygiene was being a teacher. However, being a teacher means you’re immersed in all things hygiene every single day, as well as trying to help motivate and inspire new dental hygienists as they start out in their career. If you’re feeling over the profession, it might not be the next best move.

  2. Switch it up. Having changes make such a big difference in the longevity of your career. I personally have really loved having a few days working clinically, a few working as a clinical instructor, a few with Hygiene Edge, etc. Having changes each day has made my life less monotonous.

  3. Have dental hygiene friends. I love having dental hygiene friends. They know exactly what I’m going through each day, know what to say, and can totally swap stories. Even if we’re just keeping touch through a quick text message, it’s great to have that professional/personal relationship to bounce off of. I’ve met some of my best dental hygiene friends through both work and through being a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association/Utah Dental Hygienists’ Association. Being a volunteer has been great to connect with other RDHs from all over my state, and having a large network has been very beneficial for both my personal and professional life.

  4. Watch the latest Hu Friedy Round Table. I’m excited to be part of this event with so many other great dental hygienists in all different aspects of their careers. From clinicians to educators to business owners to speakers, you’ll get insights of so many different walks of life. Sign up today to save your seat, since seating is limited.

What did you do if you were ready to throw in the dental hygiene towel?

xo, Melia


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