Hygienists older than 60

  • I have been a dental hygienist for over 40 years. Much of my career was spent living and practicing in multiple states and overseas (as a military spouse), which has provided me an extraordinary dental hygiene career. While the majority of my career was spent chairside, I have been an educator and a state oral health director. The possibilities for a hygienist are only limited by our imagination and the ADA. If only we were not regulated by the ADA, much as nurses broke away from the AMA, we could provide more care to a diverse underserved population who is desperate for our care.
  • I have enjoyed being a hygienist for 45 years; I have worked in five states. I have worked in private practices and I have also taught dental hygiene and dental assisting. I have been employed full time for all of those years. I feel I have made a difference in many lives and had a good time doing it!
  • It was well paying while my children were growing up and I could work whatever hours I wanted. The education I received helped me to teach my children and my husband good oral hygiene. To this day, we have excellent teeth, as well as good health. I am now 78 and have been retired for many years and will go to my maker with my all of my teeth as will my grown children.
  • I love what I do. I have been in the same office for 30-plus years; my patients are part of my extended family.
  • I have worked as a dental hygienist for 40 years, the last 25 as an independent practitioner in Colorado. I have been able to create dental programs in hospitals, work on immunocompromised hosts, educate physicians/RNs about the oral cavity, and teach dentists about medical conditions pertaining to the oral cavity. I have been able to provide access of care through grants for many people who would have not had the opportunity. I have worked with the "best of the best" in both medicine and dentistry. Being able to provide the quality of care as an independent practitioner and working with so many different disciplines have made this an exciting and very rewarding career.
  • Dental hygiene has been very good to me. I have always been employed, I am stimulated by my patients and coworkers, and I enjoy what I do. That being said, I don't know if I would advise someone to consider this profession without a great deal of thought. What I am hearing from new graduates is that they are being asked to do too much in too little time. There are few full-time jobs available and the doctors are inordinately concerned about production and selling dentistry to the degree that some hygienists are uncomfortable .
  • I have been lucky to work with great dentists, and I have very open relationships with my patients. We can be friends, educators, and above all patients can trust us. It is really what you make it and how your coping skills are what determines your success.
  • After many long years, the profession has been good to me. I have been able to work as many hours as I could while raising a family of four. I also feel the profession has been rewarding in promoting good oral care and in many cases general health care to so many individuals. I only hope in the future that we get more respect from our employers, and the term “cleaning lady” could vanish from our title.
  • I like being able to help people. Encouraging them to improve their oral health is satisfying. Because we get to see them every six month we get to know them too. Hygienists have been in demand during most of my career. Things have changed now, though. I know it must be hard for new graduates, especially after dental hygiene school. I've learned a lot through the years, and I am certainly so different from that new graduate I was 40 years ago. I do think hygienists could be employed in more ways than dental offices. There is a need in nursing homes, schools, clinics especially in underserved areas. There are so many hygienists looking for jobs and so many people who need regular check ups. We need somehow to put the two together.
  • I have been in this practice for a long time. I continue to enjoy my patients, and I do work three days a week. My patients have asked me to never retire, which is a nice compliment. My doctor is a good dentist who does outstanding dental work. He keeps up to date on new things entering the dental world. I feel confident in referring friends and family to our dental practice. I have worked with enough dentists to appreciate this guy. The main thing is I still enjoy the work.
  • The profession has been good to me. You can work part or full time. You are able to take time off for your family. You meet and become close to many people. You are constantly helping people improve their own health. The results are amazing, the appreciation is moving.
  • I have survived since 1969 and like the clinical work.
  • The profession was there for me when I needed it! I worked when I got married. I worked when my children were old enough. I was working when my husband passed away, which helped me a great deal both mentally and monetarily. I have a BS degree and before I was married I taught dental health in an elementary school group, and ran a clinic in the school.
  • I have been a hygienist for 40 years. It has been a great career for pay, having kids, adjustable schedule. There have been times over the years that I wished I had maybe done something else, but in the long run it was a good decision to be a hygienist.
  • I have been in practice for almost 50 years. While I worked on commission for many years and made a lot of money, when the cost of benefits is calculated, there are other professions that I would have done just as well financially. I resent that salaries have been stagnant for the last five years and that hygienists still do not get the respect they deserve. Now the new trend is to have hygienists check out their patients and make the patient's next recall appointment with no regard for the extra time those things take. Twenty-five years ago, a consultant wanted to put the hygienists in my office on a 50-minute schedule. We were already taking blood pressure, doing oral cancer exams, staining every patient with disclosing solution (which demanded detailed OHI), and doing a fluoride treatment on every patient. There is only so much that can be done in an appointment, but no one but hygienists seem to understand that. I am truly happy that I am at the end of my career because we are becoming more and more regarded as profit centers for the practice without any understanding of what it takes to do quality work.
  • It has been a perfect fit for me in so many ways. Over my 40 years of licensure I have been able to continue to learn and expand my capacities. There is no risk of burn out when one takes advantage of growing with the changes. I love the one-on-one education of patients. Most of the offices where I have worked over the years have been very supportive of that. It has been great to be a part of the evolution of our profession.

Click here for comments for hygienists 20 to 30 years in age

Click here for comments for hygienists 31 to 40 years in age

Click here for comments for hygienists 41 to 50 years in age

Click here for comments for hygienists 51 to 60 years in age

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