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Finding the perfect dental hygiene job is even better than finding perfect jeans

Like the perfect jeans, dental hygienists can find that perfect job

Feb. 20, 2024
Knowing what you want and what fits your style will help you in both your jeans and dental hygiene job hunt. And remember that's it's OK to outgrow either one.

Dental hygienists can compare their pursuit for the perfect dental office to their search for that perfect pair of jeans—both involve fit, comfort, and compatibility. Finding the right professional environment is critical for a fulfilling career. What are the parallels between the jean and job journeys? Let’s examine some key factors that make both undertakings significant.

You must try on a few sizes and styles

Whether you’re a new grad or a seasoned hygienist, odds are your first office is not your forever dental home, and that’s OK. Finding your dream office can take a while. It helps to determine what you’re looking for in a work environment. Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you experience what you don't want.

When evaluating dental hygienists' satisfaction with the workplace, one research study concluded that conflicts with dentists caused dental hygienists to change jobs more frequently.1 Determining what aligns with your skills, values, and professional goals is like finding what shape and style of denim works for your personality. The right dental office and team will support your personal and professional growth, much like perfect jeans enhance your comfort and confidence. 

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Different styles fit different bodies

We’ve all seen an article of clothing or accessory that claims to be one-size-fits-all, perhaps a stretchy shawl or pair of socks. There is no one-size-fits-all for a dental home. Every office has unique styles and atmospheres, just like jeans, which come in various styles and cuts. Some dental professionals thrive in a fast-paced, high-energy environment, while others prefer a relaxed and collaborative atmosphere.

There are different styles for different seasons

Just as jeans come in different styles for different seasons, the journey to find that dental home goes through distinct phases influenced by different professional environments. This shift may include new opportunities such as continuing education or a refreshing work atmosphere. The cooler autumn months influence a wardrobe transition; similarly, you may need a career shift. A dental home that supports learning a new specialty or offers a new leadership opportunity allows for professional growth. Examine the dental office for qualities that will support career longevity and give you a sense of job security. 

It’s OK to outgrow your jeans

It’s OK to outgrow what once fit like a glove. Nothing is meant to last forever. Dental hygienists must reflect on the longevity and stability of their office and what they’re looking for in their next season. There’s no need to force yourself into what used to fit; this simply means you’ve grown and changed.

Acknowledge that sometimes you must try on a few sizes and styles to know what you want, understand that there are different styles for different bodies and seasons, and that the options are endless. Each journey to find the perfect pair of jeans corresponds to the unique needs and aspirations of dental professionals, reflecting the dynamic nature of both the fashion and dental industries.


Hornby SE. Dental hygiene shortages and their impact on the Canadian Dental Care Plan. Can J Dent Hyg. 2023;57(3):191-196.

Katherine Guerin, BSDH, RDH, describes herself as a life-long learner with a passion for developing a comprehensive and holistic approach to dental and overall health for her patients. She is currently practicing clinical dental hygiene and is eager to expand her career in education and mentoring. Katherine is a member of Thrive in the Op and the recipient of the 2021 Proctor & Gamble’s Preventative Oral Health Award from the University of New England.