Why I Attend Our State Dental Hygiene Capitol Day — Hygiene Edge

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Each year, our state dental hygiene association hosts a day at the Capitol for dental hygienists all over Utah. It’a a day where everyone gathers, chats about access to care or needs in the state, and connect with others, both dental hygienists and representatives, about what’s happening in the real world and in our communities. Honestly, attending this day isn’t always the easiest. It’s held on a Friday, so I have to take a day off work which I don’t love doing to my patients. Second, our legislative session is always in January through February, which means it’s the coldest part of the year here in Utah. Third, parking at the Utah State Capitol is a nightmare. You usually have to park a mile away and wake through the dark and cold to get to a 8:30am start time meeting. But, even with these little annoyances, I still mark it on my calendar each year and make it a priority to go. Why?

1. It’s important to be visible on a legislative level when it comes to our profession. Our profession has a license attached, which means there’s laws and rules associated with it. Those laws could technically change anytime with a vote from our states House and Senate. These elected officials probably don’t know much about oral care. They’ve probably never even though of it, unless they had a toothache or during their 6 month recall appointment. They probably don’t even knows what a dental hygienist is as compared to a dental assistant, and we should be the ones to help dispense the information.

2. It’s great to be an involved citizen. You’ll get to know you’re elected representatives in your area and not only become a support your then with dental issues, but any legislative issues that effects you and your family. Since there are laws passed each year that effects us, this is the perfect time to get up to date on what’s happening, and see the changes that are occuring.

3. It’s inspiring to connect with others who feel passionate about dental care in your state. Feeling burnt out with dental hygiene? Going to the Capitol and speaking about your passion can relight that fire! Connecting together for a common goals grows the community of dental hygiene, and always relights the spark inside me to keep going with this profession.

So, if your state currently holds a Day at the Capitol, take the time to go! Even with the little annoyances that the day could bring, it definitely brings out the best in you and the profession. If you’re local to Utah, come with me next February!

xoxo, Melia, RDH (@meliardh)

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