You might think having the same job title and the same responsibilities would mean working as an RDH would be the same all across the country. But you’d be surprised to hear that the job varies greatly depending on which state or even which city you’re practicing in.
From different types of patients and particular oral health concerns to various work schedules and divergent dental practices, being an RDH in one state can be a totally different experience to working as a hygienist in another state.
To find out what it’s like working as an RDH in Florida, we spoke to ten local dental professionals, students, and influencers about what their average work day looks like.
RDH Callie, Jacksonville
“Started 2020 as a student...leaving as a hygienist!
I wanted to share some of the things I value most in a workplace:
- Room for growth and support to do so.
- Newest technology and equipment.
- Schedule that fits around family life.
- Low turnover rate.
- Enough time allotted for each procedure.
- Clean and organized space.
- Frequent meetings and open communication.
- Friendly co-workers that love happy hour!”
Dentist Katherine Roman, Miami
“The success of an office is the people who work there. That is why we appreciate each one of [our staff], because without [them] we would not have reached where we are today. We value [their] work and every day we work to be better than yesterday. Happy second anniversary Pembroke Smile Center.”
RDAs Carla and Gabby, Orlando
“[Being a dental assistant is] a very hectic, multi-tasking dynamic. Multi-tasking is a must and you have to be a team player because you work with other dental assistants, and a hygienist, and the dentist. And you’ve got to have patience with the doctors!”
RDH Estegania Alvarez, Miami
“What I love about my job is that I get to interact with people of all ages, different cultures, and different levels of socioeconomic status. It’s surely very challenging because we, as health care providers, have to approach each patient in different ways to achieve the same goal. Lastly, what I love the most about my career, is that I get to give people a new, healthy smile.”
Dental student Josie, Miami
“Professional school isn’t just about the field you’re learning. It’s about throwing 5 million things your way and molding you into a person who can handle the stress of it all.
It’s up to us to choose whether we sink or swim and what truly requires the best of our emotional energy.
For the [students] who just started studying for their DAT, it’s worth it. For the students who just got accepted, congrats and relax for now as much as you can, you have 4 years of hard work ahead of you. ⠀
And for my fellow dental students in the thick of it all doing dental school during a pandemic, we should be pretty proud of ourselves!”
Dentist Javier Andrade, Miami
“It was sometime around October 2008 I think I took over my first dental office in the US. [My staff] stuck with me for many years, supported me and founded much of what we are today! [Today has] made me think about how many things we have overcome since those days and how it makes me think and feel about our future plans and challenges!”
Dentist Patrick S. Lolo, Miami
“Dentistry is more than a job for me. First I plan, then I execute. They come in anxious, but leave as your best friend. Not only am I a superhero that saves teeth, I get to put a smile on children’s faces everyday.”
Dentist Anastasia, Florida
“Crossed the finish line of 3 months at my dentist job (and as the only dentist leading the dental office)
Month one I would go into the office often with anxiety, mentally over-preparing so that the day would go well. I also was learning how to lead a team on my own for the first time, all while still providing the best patient care. Every day I now wake up excited for the workday and living my dream. I am so fortunate to have the job I have, not only to work in general dentistry but to treat patients in the office every day.”
RDH student Mariah, Tallahassee, Florida
“The best gift this year brought me was being accepted into dental hygiene school and the worst was contracting the virus that has affected so many around the world.
Next week will be three years since I began my journey to becoming a dental hygienist. I refused to give up through so many trials and tribulations, making this milestone so much more gratifying.
This year was very testing on my mental health but I can proudly say that I made it out alive with a higher GPA, amazing new friends, and took a huge step towards a better life that I’ve been working so hard to achieve for myself and my daughter. Through darkness comes light.”
RDH graduate Kaitlin, Florida
“The dental hygiene school journey was not an easy one for me, I don’t think it is for most. But I’m so proud of all that I’ve endured and accomplished! Once you’re on the other side of school it’s easier to see how worth it all of the stress was. School is such a small blip of time compared to the rest of our lives and it’s so worth it.”
Being a hygienist is a rewarding career
While being an RDH does have its challenges, it’s clear to see that it’s a rewarding career that provides hygienists with immense satisfaction. Whether you want to work as part of a permanent team in a single dental practice or take your career into your own hands and become an independent contractor dental hygienist, working in dental hygiene opens up countless doors to exciting new opportunities.