Too hot or cold in dental offices? One RDH's journey to solve the wardrobe problem

Feb. 15, 2017
Deborah Carrier, RDH, describes how the in-fighting over temperature controls in dental offices led her to improve the design of uniforms.

By Debora Carrier, RDH

As a second-year dental hygiene student and treasurer of my class, I was faced with the challenge of a fundraiser and wasn’t sure where to begin. But the big idea ignited one afternoon in the spring of 1979, just after my last class of the day and as I headed to my part-time job at the local mall.

We would raise money for our hygiene program by hosting my university’s first fashion show. Looking back, it’s amazing to see that after a three-decade long hygiene career, I’ve once again brought two of my passions together—dental hygiene and fashion—in a unique and rewarding way. Here’s my story.

Once I had graduated and entered the professional working world, I was working in a small office with a wonderful staff who became my family. We stood by each other through the challenges of everyday life, built a large and loyal patient base, and fought like siblings over the settings of the office thermostat. This point of contention would prove to be a battle that I’d see repeated at every office throughout my career.

I have always been a problem solver, and this temperature challenge was now on my radar. I was the cold one in the office and tried every layering technique imaginable. My coworkers, who were always hot, couldn’t understand how I could be freezing when they were sweating.

And layers weren’t the answer. Not only are multiple layers under scrubs very uncomfortable (and prohibit quick bathroom breaks!), but they are unhygienic and unprofessional in appearance. It’s very easy to cross contaminate the sleeve of a fleece jacket—not to mention that you look like you are wearing pajamas.

Speaking of pajamas, through 30-plus years of practicing hygiene while also doing some modeling work, I became acutely aware of the fact that when my scrubs looked frumpy, I felt frumpy. When I felt buttoned up, I acted buttoned up. It’s no secret that our outward appearance reflects our inward feelings and vice versa.

But throughout my years as a dental professional, it continued to amaze me that scrubs were mostly an afterthought of nearly all clinicians. I started researching scrubs and lab coat design and found out that neither had had an upgrade in nearly 30-plus years. The industry was well overdue for change.

I decided it was time to solve this warm-cold-frumpy-professional-attire problem. After nearly two years of intense research and planning, Twice as Nice Uniforms was born in 2014 with two styles of women’s scrubs in two colors, one white lab coat, and comfort sleeves. There are many features that make our scrubs unique, but what makes our uniforms stand out is that we’ve been able to successfully marry temperature-regulating comfort with a professional look, through a truly unique approach.

In designing our scrubs, not only did I consult with experts across multiple industries, but I incorporated my years of first-hand experience, as well as many colleagues. I factored in technology needs, pocket placement, ease of fabric care, and of course, fashion.

And here’s how I solved the hot-cold dilemma: All of our garments have a performance fabric liner that regulates your core body temperature. This means that if you are cold, Twice as Nice Uniforms actually keep you warm. If you are hot, our scrubs wick away sweat and keep you cool. In addition, our scrubs and lab coats are designed and tailored like sportswear and made from a quality fabric that doesn’t fade or wrinkle and retains its shape after multiple wearings and washings.

And lastly, another key issue that Twice as Nice garments addresses are OSHA standards and infection control by eliminating unhygienic layers and specialized styles. Our dental jacket quickly converts to PPE (personal protective equipment) garment with snap closures at the neckline and sleeve.

I never could’ve predicted that my hygiene school fashion show fund-raiser would lead me to such experiences as becoming an expert at fabric technology and negotiating costs with a cut-and-sew factory.

That’s what will be so exciting about your journey as a hygiene school graduate. Practicing dental hygiene is a rewarding career as you build patient relationships and contribute to their health. But there are other opportunities as well. Technological advancements open so many doors for dental professionals and there will always be practical, industry-related problems that need solving.

At Twice as Nice Uniforms, our mission is “bringing comfort to those who comfort others.” Like you, I spent many years taking care of others and now it’s time for me to help make your day a little easier. Our uniforms are designed to do just that.

To learn more about our uniforms, visit Be sure to watch the video about how we got started and check out the information under Style Guide.

Debora Carrier, RDH, has 37 years of experience as a clinical dental hygienist. She developed and patented a temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial uniforms, founding Twice as Nice Uniforms. She has been featured in RDH magazine, Dentistry Today, Dental Explorer, Atlanta Best Self, and is the winner of Apparel Magazine’s Most Innovative Company.

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