Where to vacation, and who's your nightmare?

May 25, 2007
MySpace friends chime in on favorite vacation spots and celebrity patients they would dread to treat.

RDH Editor Mark Hartley recently asked his dental hygiene friends on My Space four questions. Three questions were related to daydreams about travel and ideal places to practice the profession. The fourth question was about nightmares, as in who would be an unwelcome celebrity in a dental hygiene operatory.

If you could practice dental hygiene for two weeks this summer in another country, just for grins or charity (providing care for the poor), what country would you choose?

The answers leaned more toward the exotic thrills than the enrichment found in hard, charitable work. Five hygienists singled out Ireland, while two others said Italy.

But one hygienist thinks the two different objectives could be met with the Irish. She said, "Probably somewhere in Ireland ... out in the countryside where I'm sure that most people can't get to a dentist."

A Georgia hygienist said, "Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, or Germany," and a colleague from the Peach State said, "Italy for fun ... Africa for charity."

Other desired locations were Greece, Aruba, Australia, and New Zealand.

But charity/dental missionary work remains important to hygienists too. South Africa, Belize, Costa Rica, and Peru were some of the locations mentioned.

A Mississippi MyFriend said, "It would not matter what country, charity is charity and I would go where I was needed."

Karen Kopeck, RDH, a MySpace hygienist stationed in Oman in the Middle East, wrote, "Well, I did a mission trip in Honduras, I live in Oman (right next to Saudi) and practice here too, so I am thinking somewhere in Europe (old Russian countries, if that makes sense)."

Joy Wolfe, RDH, of Denver shared, "I would probably have to say somewhere in Africa and travel to different villages and mainly just teach about home care. Infections in the mouth can be an overall health issue, and these people are already in great need for health care. If I could get them to clean their teeth just a little bit better with materials they have available, I think I could make a difference!"

If you could practice dental hygiene for, say, three months in another state in the United States for a different experience, what state would you choose?

What state flickered across your mind as you read the question? Yep, Hawaii was the top choice by far.

California was the second most popular alternative state. A New York hygienist explained, "Because hygienists can do a lot more there than in New York."

A similar sentiment was stated about Colorado, which received some votes. A Georgia hygienist mentioned the relaxed supervision requirements as being another attraction besides the Rocky Mountains.

What about Californians? Where would they go? Two MySpace friends answered the question by indicating North Carolina or Texas, but did not say why.

Alaska, Illinois (Chicago, to be specific), Florida, Tennessee, and Utah were also mentioned as ideal change-of-pace practice locations.

Kopeck, the Oman hygienist mentioned above in the first question, offered her opinion too. "I would choose somewhere in Arizona or New Mexico because of the Native American community or Mexican community. I am licensed in Florida and New Jersey (and Oman) so it would be a nice change to interact with Native Americans. I tried to become part of the Colorado indigent farmworker program several years ago, but I wasn't quite licensed to do so at the time."

If money and time were not considerations, where would you go on vacation this year?

Here's the entire list, in case you have some time and money available, of what your peers would do. The list goes from most popular destinations to a single person's whim.

Most popular

• Italy

• Australia

• Cruise around the Caribbean

• Tour multiple European nations

• Hawaii

Single votes

• Yellowstone National Park

• Costa Rica

• Alaska

• Africa

• Tahiti

What infamous celebrity out there would you not want to see in your chair?

This question was posed during the time period after Don Imus was fired, Paris Hilton was headed to jail, and Jerry Fallwell, the right-wing leader of the Christian voting bloc who made a career out of condemning certain lifestyles, passed away. We wondered who makes dental hygienists shudder with dread as they slide their stool right beside him or her.

Our favorite answers were:

• Dennis Rodman — too many piercings.

• Um, I am pretty sure that I would not want to see Howard Stern in my chair ... he makes my skin crawl!

• Since I'm from Topeka, KS, and have lived here all my life, I would have to say I would HATE to work on Fred Phelps. If you don't know who he is, he is nationally known for his protests and anti-gay message. He pickets everything in Topeka, funerals, performances, graduations ... He is completely closed-minded and absurd! If he, any of his family, or any "church members" would even just set foot in our office it would be torture to me!

Tom Cruise! What a nut case! As a woman, a non-scientologist, a non-celebrity, a dental hygienist, and a mom — he annoys the heck out of me!

And our top choice for being the most amusing is:

• Hugh Grant. He is handsome, but he probably knows he has bad teeth. Then, I would have to lie and act like they were good teeth.

Visit Mark Hartley on MySpace.