One hygienist’s ‘holy’ day

Modern Hygienist,, Issue 3

A hygienist treated a priest, a rabbi and a reverend all in the same day. She shares her story here, and how this “holy” day made her stop and reflect on the importance of what she and other hygienists do every day.

A hygienist treated a priest, a rabbi and a reverend all in the same day. She shares her story here, and how this “holy” day made her stop and reflect on the importance of what she and other hygienists do every day.


As a hygienist since the 1980s, I have had so many experiences and interesting daily scenarios that it would just be ridiculous to keep them to myself. I have a burning desire to write, for there is so much to share about our profession.

I have the best days, the most interesting patients and have been exposed to the funniest stories. This is one of those stories I just have to share with you all. How often do you get the opportunity to give care to a priest, a rabbi and a reverend all in a day’s work?

The priest

The priest was so wonderful-what a kind and trusting soul. When I finished our appointment I said, “Father, I’ve always wanted to be the first to say to you, peace be with you.” The priest replied, “And also with you.”  My response was “we lift our hearts up to the Lord.” The priest said, “It is right to give thanks in praise.” We both said, “thanks be to God.” We both smiled and had a great end to our recare visit.

The rabbi

My very next patient was a rabbi who had so much facial hair that I recommended a facemask to control the ability to access his mouth. He said, “No worries my dear, for every hair you pull is a sin that has been committed.”

I pulled seven by the time we were done. The rabbi smiled and said, “Ah the seven deadly sins…” I was speechless. What do you say to the rabbi after that comment? He did schedule his next recare and I took that as a victory.

So by now I’m thinking my front desk team is having fun with me, scheduling me a priest and a rabbi. Then low and behold the last patient of the day: the reverend.  Really?

The reverend

The reverend had seen the same hygienist for four years. He was not nice and a bit taken aback to see she was no longer in our practice. He was saddened by her absence because she had taken care of his wife, whom passed away four years ago. He said she was his self-proclaimed psychiatrist as well as his hygienist.  I said that was never in her notes, and he laughed.

As I did my oral cancer screening, I immediately noticed how dry his mouth was. His tissue was so hyperplastic. He said he struggled every day with this condition. I reached for my Rain by Spry, which helps with dry mouth and promotes a harmonious oral cavity with the help of xylitol. Our time was well spent and when the reverend left, he planned to pick up Rain at the health food store.

He apologized for being a bit curt upon our meeting and with a tear in his eye he said I was a divine intervention and that I had made a difference with such a simple gesture of care for his dry mouth.

What it’s all about

By the end of my day I was looking for the “Sign.” Three holy men, all in one day for “Me.” What did this mean? I was seriously wondering what was coming my way.

In actuality it was a moment to reflect about the care we as hygienists give everyday to our patients, family and friends. It’s our care that makes a difference in their overall health, and by educating them we raise the bar on a healthier life.  Sometimes laughter is the best medicine and, if you look, everyday there is a “gift”-that’s why we call each brand new day “the present.”

I’ve realized opportunities are everywhere to make a positive change in our profession, which is now celebrating 100 years. I love what I do and know what I do changes lives.

Make a difference

If you want more ways to make positive change for your patients, get plugged into the right organizations. I’ve been participating in CareerFusion since 2009, and it has changed my course of direction to infinity and beyond. These leaders set you on fire with the passion that lies within all of us. They give you the empowering ability to believe in yourself and to step outside of the comfort zone to stretch and pursue goals you only ever dreamed of achieving.

Catherine is a successful clinician with experience in all areas of dentistry and has been a faculty member of CareerFusion staff since 2008.  A passionate educator and skillful hygienist, her career propelled after she became involved with CareerFusion. Writing, speaking, developing products and all sorts of opportunities have become a reality throughout the years. Working with the best hygienists and corporate executives has enabled Catherine to continue to fulfill lifelong ambitions to promote a healthy lifestyle.  Catherine looks forward to another year of opportunities to step outside of her clinical setting by fulfilling her own dreams and helping others succeed.