Research and Dental Hygiene

I worked as an Educator on Behalf of Water Pik, Inc. for 5 years. I loved my job with Waterpik and one of the best parts about it was working autonomously.

No dentist breathing down my neck. No office manager throwing someone into my schedule at the last minute before lunch. No dental assistant walking around with a chip on her shoulder.

I admit, I am a serial job seeker. I love looking for jobs and interviewing. You never know what opportunities are out there that you might be missing.

One day, like playing the lottery and getting lucky, I hit the jackpot and landed a sales position with a huge dental company. Score!

I fantasized about a career in sales, where I could dress up and stand upright. It was one of the reasons I went back to school to get my bachelors degree.

I landed the sales job but there was a problem. Their products competed with Waterpik’s products and so it was a conflict of interest. Oh no. I had to make a choice: Waterpik or the new sales job.

After reasoning it out, I decided to take a leap of faith and quit my job at Waterpik and take the sales job.

Getting into sales, I soon realized, was a huge mistake…I learned that I didn’t like sales. Rather than people embracing me, like when I worked for Waterpik, they repelled me. Plus I had this scary storage unit that I was responsible for keeping it organized.

It was one of those jobs that made you doubt your decision making abilities.

I was stuck between a rock and a hard place…

My position with Waterpik had already been filled so that door was closed. To keep my sanity I gave my 2 week notice at my sales job but was faced with a decision, what do I do now? I had to go back into private practice.

How bad could it be? It’ll be fun I told myself.

And so after a 5 year hiatus, I went back into private practice and soon discovered that dental hygiene had changed significantly, and so did I.

I could not continue in clinic because of my chronic pain.

As luck would have it, the gal who replaced me at Waterpik knew I was looking for a job and told me about a position in research with Case Western Reserve University. I applied, was interviewed and eventually hired. I felt beyond relief that I could finally leave clinic. My neck was in constant pain and working 8-9 hours a day in hygiene was killing my mind, body and spirit.

Working part time as a community research dental hygienist is challenging but fun. Our team is comprised of 4 dental hygienists, 2 dentists and a bunch of researchers. We go out to subsidized housing facilities once or twice a week and treat senior citizens 62 and over who have at least one carious lesion.

Using a simple medical treatment of topical silver fluoride or a less-complicated dental filling that doesn’t require a drill or fluoride, we seal and heal. Patients are grateful and some get emotional. It is precious and warms my heart…

I love being part of this research project and our team rocks!

If I weren’t a dental hygienist I would never experience these unique opportunities.

You never know where your career will take you when you are open to opportunities.

You just might land in a place you never thought possible…so keep your mind open and keep on truckin’.

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