As a Woman in Dentistry, I have been a Dental Hygienist for 19 years, always practicing in a clinical setting providing care for my patients. I have always had the passion to serve my patients and make a difference in their oral health. I grew up in Wisconsin and in my junior year of High School, I was in the career center trying to “figure out” what I was supposed to “BE” or “DO” after High School. I came across the job title in a career book, you guessed it- it was the title DENTAL HYGIENIST.
I read the description of what a dental hygienist did and also read that in order to BE an RDH, you should like science and enjoy being around people. I thought to myself that day as I read this description…. “That’s it! I am Going to BE a Dental Hygienist!” I loved math and science classes in High School and I was a social person and got along with “all types” of people in school. I wore braces, and thought to myself “teeth are cool, I like going to my dental appointments”. As I reflect back to that moment, I see it was all-apart of His divine plan; my purpose in life was to BE a Dental Hygienist.
My senior year in High School, I worked with my good friend’s parents who were both Dentists. I learned how a dental office ran, saw how the dental hygienist appointments went and learned the basics about teeth and fillings and scheduling dental appointments and managing the hygiene recall system for the office. It was a positive experience that helped me after dental hygiene school. I became an RDH at age 23 and I knew that the income I could make as an RDH would allow me to be an independent woman and not rely on anyone else to “take care” of me. I would say I was always strong in that aspect of being independent, taking care of myself.
I had a passion to help the offices I started working at. My goal was to provide excellent care to each and every patient I met. At the first dental office I worked at as an RDH, I did a lot of scaling and root planning and really grew excellent in my clinical skill and gained confidence as an RDH in those first two years. The second dental office I worked at, I saw the opportunity to add a soft tissue management program (Today we would call it periodontal therapy) to help each patient get the hygiene care they truly needed and deserved. I spoke to the Dentists I worked with, and they allowed me to get the perio charting up to date, implement a perio program, educate my patients on the treatment they needed, not simply “do a prophy” on all patients.
I was going to use what I learned in school and make a difference in each patient I saw. That was my Passion, to HELP my patients improve and manage their oral health! I grew relationships with a lot of my patients during the 7 years I worked at that office, but then it was time for me to “move on”. At age 31, I was single and desired more out of life. It was time to move to a different city and explore new possibilities.
I wasn’t looking to move out of dentistry, but to experience someplace new and meet new people. I moved from Waukesha, Wisconsin to Middleton Wisconsin in 2007. I started to work with a dentist who needed help as he was expanding his practice. He needed an RDH like me with experience and knowledge to teach the other RDH the dental computer software program they were using and to help provide quality care to his patients. This new position in a new city was exciting for me. I worked 40-42 hours a week and after 5 years, I started to experience “burnout”. I wasn’t sure if being an RDH was what I wanted to do anymore. Something had to give and I felt it was time for a change again. I was still seeking more out of life. What was it? I left my job in Middleton and moved back to the Milwaukee area to be closer to my triplet sister. My sister was having her second child and I wanted to be close to family. I knew I wanted to BE the best auntie possible and be available to help my sister and her husband.
When I moved back to the Milwaukee area, I had a difficult time finding a full-time dental hygiene position. I started to work with a company called Dental Connections, now called Dental Express. This company was a staffing company that hired RDH to go into dental offices to provide clinical replacement coverage for their RDH who was out sick, on maternity leave or during times of interim while hiring a new team member. I enjoyed the flexibility this “float” position offered me, but it wasn’t getting me ahead financially or securing my future.
Times had changed since I began my career as an RDH, health care benefits, retirement packages were not being offered in private, smaller dental offices and I did not want to work in the larger “corporate” run dental clinics that were popping up all over the place. Another shift in my life was about to happen after my recent move.
A year and a half after I moved back to the Milwaukee area, I was still longing for more out of life. I desired to focus on finding a man to enjoy life with. I had spent most of my life focused on dentistry, helping others, but had not taken time to focus on me. In 2013 I met a man on a Christian dating site, we had a short courtship and got married at the courthouse 3 months after dating. I was 38 and thought my life was going to be amazing… I was wrong.
One month after being married, I learned my husband didn’t love me, he had lied to me about many things and had only married me for the sole purpose to get his daughter full custody. I had made a huge mistake getting married so quickly. There was a lot I didn’t know about that man and after 6 months of marriage that was filled with many lies and emotional and verbal abuse and I was receiving counseling/therapy, I filed for divorce.
My dental hygiene friend Cristy Marsh and her husband invited me to come live with them while I was going through the divorce. I met Cristy while doing replacement work. Cristy was an RDH at a periodontal office and at age 30 was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancers. A year post-treatment for her cancer, she was introduced to a business opportunity that she jumped into. While I was living with her and her husband, she had shared the business opportunity with me and it was exactly what I was looking for.
I needed income, but little did I know God had a different plan for my life. It was all a part of a NEW calling and a NEW path he had for me. During the divorce process, I was learning more about how to build this business and I was meeting NEW inspiring women. These entrepreneur leaders where teaching me new lessons. One lesson was; I needed to invest in myself and grow personally and spiritually if I wanted to be a Leader. The divorce journey was extremely hard on me, and I took the next two years to work on me and I dove into personal growth books, spiritual books, and hired a business coach named Bob Heilig and joined his mastermind group. In the mastermind group, I learned about marketing, building a brand, the ins and outs of using social media to grow a business and it was all very exciting. As I worked with this coach, I also kept hearing a voice that told me I was to “WRITE A BOOK”. I kept pushing that voice aside because I knew I was a dental hygienist, not a writer. It didn’t make sense to me. What I realized was my title as an RDH and my mindset about that title was holding me back from the greatness inside of me and keeping me in the RDH box. There was MORE I was to DO in my life. My life purpose was becoming clearer to me as I went on my journey.
It’s 2017 and in January, I did a LIVE video on Facebook announcing my Goal to WRITE A BOOK, self-publish and launch the book in 90 days! In February, I enrolled in Self Publishing School to learn how to make that goal a reality. Remember, my thought earlier, “I was an RDH, not a writer.” Grammar, spelling, writing were not my strong skills…. I needed someone to coach and guide me. I knew I was coachable and believed this was what I was supposed to DO! I ended up writing the book in 21 days, and launched my Ebook on Day 71, that was May 7 and I hit BEST SELLER on AMAZON. I gained a NEW title while on my journey: BEST SELLING AUTHOR. It was quite an amazing and emotional journey. I launched the paperback version of my best selling book on July 2. I share this with you today to inspire you as you are on your entrepreneur endeavor to continue to BE MORE and DO MORE. My book is an inspirational, spiritual book called THE TRUTH BEHIND THE LIES. I share my testimony and what I learned along my journey and the steps I took to move forward and experience freedom over my life. I believe we all have a purpose here on earth and we should not be afraid to jump into a new calling or jump outside of our comfort zone.
Dental Hygiene will always be a part of my life. I also have learned along my journey of personal and spiritual growth, working with my business coach and through the writing of my book, that we all have the opportunity to leave a mark in this world. We can leave a legacy if we allow ourselves to fully BE the person God has made us to BE. I believe my purpose is to inspire and serve others. I hope my story inspires you to continue to move forward as a dental entrepreneur woman and that you also will BE MORE and DO MORE.