Life as a Dental Hygiene Student

Thank you everyone who is reading this post! If you are a dental hygiene student, YOU CAN DO IT! Don’t give up! If you are a graduate {Like ME! I just recently graduated Aug. 2014}, hope this gives you a little laugh and you have a moment of nostalgia. Don’t be afraid to comment and share with me some of your favorite dental/dental hygiene/dental assisting related memories!
Here is the link to my second post, “Life as A Dental Hygiene Student: Part 2- Finals Week”. This is where I talk about how I survive finals week in school. If you have any other tips, feel free to comment!
Life as a Dental Hygiene Student: Part 3- BOARDS, will be making it’s appearance shortly. 
Enjoy!
 
As many of you know, I am going to dental hygiene school.  I am in the middle of my second semester (only 3 and a half more left!) and I absolutely love it.  Actually, to be honest, dental hygiene school and I have a very love-hate relationship.  So far, school has been full of many ups and downs, has caused me to shed many tears, and has pretty much taken up my entire life.  How I planned a wedding during my first semester, I have no idea (oh wait…I do have an idea…my mom pretty much did everything).  Even though it has been SO hard, looking back and seeing all the things I’ve learned and the talents I have developed makes it all worth it.

I am in my first semester of seeing patients.  It’s very nerve racking, but it’s the only way we can practice our clinical skills.  I’ve been able to see many family and friends, and also many people who I have never met (including people who don’t really speak English, which is quite a difficult situation to be in).  Overall, seeing patients has been such a good experience.  It makes me so excited to leave school and be a Registered Dental Hygienist.  I just have to wait 3 1/2 semesters before that happens 🙂
I love telling people about dental hygiene school.  Part of being a dental hygienist is also being able to educate people, so I take every chance I get to talk about it in order to practice the education skills needed when it comes to communicating with patients.  I’ll be honest though…every dental hygiene student HATES the following situation…

Dental hygiene school is so much harder than you think.  Many people say, “I know this is probably a dumb question, but what exactly do you have to learn to clean people’s teeth?” I hate this question. Not because I think it’s a dumb question, but because it’s so hard to answer because you have to learn SO MUCH! I don’t just “clean peoples teeth”.  I help them change their oral health habits, educate them on the best ways to take care of their mouth and everything inside it, assess them for possible signs of oral cancer and harmful oral diseases…and that’s just the start of the list.  I’ve learned how to write perscriptions, how to treat people with systemic diseases, what medications people can have, how to talk to patients about how to quit smoking, how teeth develop, and the names of every little cusp and fissure in every tooth in a person’s mouth.  Dental hygiene school has helped me to better appreciate the hard work that people put in to studying and growing in their professions.
 
As I probably made it clear earlier, school is not all fun and games. It causes a lot of headaches, tears, and panic attacks.  Ironically, I started grinding my teeth out of stress when I started dental hygiene school.  Funny, I know.  Here’s the truth about being in dental hygiene school…

 Like I said, it’s not all fun and games.

But don’t get me wrong! I LOVE DENTAL HYGIENE SCHOOL! Okay maybe not the “school” part, but I do love studying to become a dental hygienist.  It’s such a gratifying feeling knowing that you are helping someone live healthier and treat their body better.  Also, I’ve made tons of friends in my class.  There’s a lot of girls. LOTS of girls.  There are only 2 boys in my class. I love all the friends I’ve made.  You get really close to people really fast.  You spend an average of 6-7 hours a day with them, you work together, learn and grow together, clean each others teeth; we were told during the first week of school in January that our class would become our new family.  It’s true! Here is my family of 60, including myself.  (Can you spot me???)

I am so glad that I made the decision to go to dental hygiene school, and I’m even more grateful that Kurt married me and moved to Utah in spite of the fact that I still had 4 semesters of dental hygiene school to complete in Orem, UT.  I love him more and more everyday for his sacrifice.
I’m so excited for all that I have the opportunity to learn while I’m in school.  I can’t believe that I’ve already had so many opportunities in school to help people learn so much about how to take care of themselves and do what is good for them.  I definitely chose the right profession 🙂

Just for your enjoyment, I found a couple funny pictures that hit the nail on the head when it comes to dental hygiene school and being a dental hygienist.  Enjoy!

Definitely true.  Or there’s the opposite: a patient will come in and say, “Oh sorry! I just ate.  My teeth are probably so gross right now.”  Half the time that is false.  You didn’t eat.  You just needed some excuse for why you don’t brush your teeth regularly.  But it’s okay! It’s our job to help you.  One thing we learn in school is to never judge patients when we see their mouths.  And we don’t.  We care more about taking care of the patient and helping them rather than looks.  We care about health 🙂
Seriously?  No one looks this good in scrubs.  And we do not run and smile while we wear them either.  They’re hideous pieces of clothing.  On the plus side, they’re comfortable and double as pajamas.
As true as the sky is blue.  Dental Hygiene School = no life.  Ask me how many times I’ve said, “Sorry, I wish I could.  I have to study.” (Actually, don’t.  I can’t even recall how many times I’ve said that.)



 

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