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    5 New Year’s resolutions every dental hygienist should make

    From eating healthier to establishing a workout routine, the new year is the perfect time to set goals for yourself.



    Profit with Nonprofits | Resolution: Volunteer

    We all recall the glorious day we crossed the stage in our caps and gowns, looking forward to a career without instructor checks or exams, and the incredible moment when we stood with our colleagues to receive our dental hygiene pin. However, many of us forgot the depth or beauty of the words we recited during the taking of the Dental Hygiene Oath during our pinning ceremony. As young professionals embarking on our new careers, we vowed to “affirm (our) personal and professional commitment to improve the oral health of the public, to advance the art and science of dental hygiene, and to promote high standards of quality care”5. With the conferment of our degrees and a toss of our graduation caps, many of us left pieces of our oath’s values on the graduation stage.

    As professional hygienists, these promises wave in the wind as obstacles such as insurance benefits, production goals or “that’s just how we do it in this office” comments force us to question our commitments to the values of service, advancement and quality care. In addition, lack of gratuity amongt difficult patients, poor organization of work and need for peer group contacts greatly weigh on increasing dental hygiene burnout.4

    To put it frankly, dental hygienists are highly trained professionals with an incredible sense of empathy, responsibility, and passion for generosity and serving others, and the pressures of private practice often leave our love tanks empty.

    Related reading: The importance of joining a dental mission trip

    The incredible ability to contribute your time and skills to make a difference in your community or travel to provide access to care for a remote community is abundant. Local opportunities such as Give Kids a Smile or Missions of Mercy allow the benevolent dental hygienist to give of their technical skills in a unique way. Global and overseas programs allow the philanthropic dental hygienist the opportunity to experience new cultures while traveling to underserved communities beyond the U.S. border. The ADA posts volunteer opportunities on its website, as does the ADHA on its website, and many other organizations post opportunities through various websites.  

    Not one for spending your weekends holding in teeth to scale whilst sweating in a remote hut?  Consider becoming a mentor. Many young dental hygiene students and/or graduates need the supportive relationship of a mentor who can provide guidance during important moments in their careers.

    If dentistry burns you out completely during the week, consider supporting a cause near and dear to your heart by volunteering with the local senior assisted living home, walking dogs at the humane society, or working with your local Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts chapters. Our ability as dental professionals — but more importantly as humans — to donate our time allows us to make a difference, create a better world and leave a long-lasting impact within our community.


    Katrina M. Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF
    Katrina M Sanders RDH, BSDH, M.Ed, RF, is a graduate and recipient of countless awards from the University of Minnesota’s School of ...


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