Debbie Padilla, RDH is THRIVIN

Debbie Padilla, RDH

While on social media I came across a post from a dental hygienist who was going on a mission trip and was raising funds for the trip. I read her story and thought, wow, this gal is on fire. I would love to know more about Debbie Padilla.

Debbie fits all the criteria fitting to be featured in The Dental Hygiene Chronicles: 1. Dental Hygienist, 2. Following her passion, 3. Paving the way for others.

I sent Debbie a message and she was thrilled to be a featured dental hygienist. This is Debbie’s journey, in her words.

Debbie Padilla, RDH

Debbie Padilla, RDH

Debbie Padilla, RDH graduated in 1991 from SUNY Farmingdale in Long Island New York. Upon graduating, Debbie had access to temp positions in various offices throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Enjoying all office settings, she quickly found the most affection for Periodontal offices. Debbie has worked in the Bronx since 1992 and is still practicing there today.

“Helping patients understand the relationship between oral health and the systemic system is the most rewarding part for me.”

Debbie Padilla, RDH

After a move to New Jersey she also incorporated general practice in to her schedule to aim in helping people before they get to a perio office. This opened up a whole new world of patients and opportunities. The office wanted to give back to the local communities and decided to do a day of free dentistry. They teamed up with Dentistry from the Heart and held Hero Days for their local communities on an annual basis.

Reaching out

Reaching people in need of dental care within her local community was very gratifying, but in the back of her mind she was always thinking of the needs of others outside of her community.

Going on an international dental mission was a secret goal of hers.

Unfortunately, working full time with children and fostering children would have to stay her secret goal. Life does change as time goes by and in July of 2019 an unexpected rotator cuff and bicep repair surgery was necessary. Having a long recovery allowed time to re-evaluate career goals. Feeling stronger and preparing to go back to work, Debbie did a search in Google for dental missions.

A non-profit founded in South Carolina came up who was in need of a RDH to go on their next mission! A Reason to Smile ( is a nonprofit established in 2014 to prevent the spread of dental disease by providing comprehensive clinical care and education to communities in Africa with little or no access to dental care. The founder, Dr. Gunther Heyder set a goal to reach at least one region of the continent every year to alleviate the suffering caused by dental disease.

This years mission, working with a team from New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Australia, United Kingdom and Dental students from Makerere Dental School in Uganda, was cancelled due to current events in history.

If you have ever considered a give-back adventure, contact Debbie at

Debbie Padilla Thrive

Check out Debbie’s side business Thrive. It might be a business that can supplement your lifestyle and pay some bills while we all are on lock down. Visit her site at

If you like this post, please like and share:)

Stay safe, Annamarie

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