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Be open to knowledge in your new career as a dental hygienist.

Tips to grow and develop as a new dental hygienist

April 23, 2024
You'll grow quickly and love your new career when you're open to knowledge and find what you love. And your patients will benefit!

As some of the main providers in the dental office, dental hygienists need to stay current with our knowledge and skills. We need to be able to provide the best evidence-based clinical therapy and education for our patients. We should engage in activities, study clubs, and seminars that increase our knowledge and refine our skills. 

The desire for personal growth and development in the workforce comes from within. Aspiring to provide the best clinical care to your patients will be your driving factor. This will come as you grow in your career and become more comfortable in your surroundings. 

You won’t immediately love every aspect of dentistry and practicing dental hygiene. Allow yourself grace to integrate into the system before you enrich yourself with new information and start your continuing education journey. In this profession, CE will turn you into a better provider year after year. Your professional capacity will rise along with your ability to present treatment in an effective manner.

Gain all the knowledge you can

You’ll want to bring the best and most reliable evidence-based information to your patients when you present treatment. To provide this type of care, keep yourself well informed and ready to absorb new information. Spend time perfecting your delivery and sequence of treatment. This doesn’t happen overnight after graduating and can sometimes take months or years of clinical practice before you understand treatment options and different dental approaches. 

As you grow comfortable in the clinical setting, write down goals for yourself. What do you truly want to learn more about? What treatment plans did the doctor discuss with patients that left you feeling like you needed to learn more? What topic makes you excited in the operatory? How do you want to enrich your patients’ lives? There are many questions you can ask to create a guide for self-growth.  

This doesn’t mean you put pressure on yourself or set a timeline. This just helps you understand what sparks your interest. You won’t be able to be an expert in all topics or skills, however, there are a few that you can choose as your niche. This will translate into being more helpful in the team setting and providing context for colleagues that may not know as much about a particular topic that interests you.  

Keep yourself focused on opportunities in the practice setting. There are always roles that require someone to take them on. Keep an eye out for those opportunities, and they’ll help you expand your job role. 

With increased responsibility typically comes an increase in compensation. Accepting a new challenge or expanding your role requires more energy and time on your part and may influence whether you accept more duties. This is growth but in a different light. Interoffice growth is gratifying and rewarding as you climb the ladder in your practice.  

An increase in salary will influence your personal life. You’ll have more access to funds for wellness and growth. This can help with the quality of your life and overall wellness, which will influence your well-being and capabilities as a dental hygienist. A healthy quality of life, personal growth, and a stable or growing income all feed your soul as a professional.  

Remember to take those opportunities to grow. Let yourself learn and expand at a comfortable pace. Remember that with time as you scale and debride each patient, you will grow and master the art of therapy.

Maryam Khan, BSc, RDH, works in Toronto, Ontario. She has more than 12 years of experience in the dental world. Currently Maryam is working as an educator and hopes to guide the future batch of hygienists with the same passion she has for dental hygiene. She’s focused on teamwork, career longevity, and patient satisfaction. Find her on social media @hygienewithmaryam. Stay connected!