Mentor Advice ForumConflicted
Venessis asked 9 months ago

Hello, My name is Venessis! I graduated with my AAS in 2020 and I\’m currently going for my BS at Farmingdale State College. I\’ve been practicing dental hygiene for a little more than a year part-time and I have enjoyed every second of it. I have also work part-time with an orthodontist for the last 3 years and it has been amazing. Outside of clinical work, I am also interested in possibly pursuing working corporate. I love both general practice and ortho but I find myself being pulled to one side or the other. I feel pressure to pick a side but I\’m happy with both. It also puts me in a weird position because I don\’t know what I want to do in 20 years, do I stick to ortho or do I continue with clinical or do I go corporate for benefits? I feel like I owe my ortho job because they gave me a chance and allowed me to work while at school. But I feel like I owe it to myself to continue to better myself as an RDH and not to loose the skills I fought so hard to learn. I don\’t want to give up either but it\’s hard to please both bosses. Most people tell me to just do clinical, that what I went to school for or to earn more money but I also do find joy working in ortho. I want to be able to bend wires and do adjustments and become better at it. I also find it hard to speak up because I don\’t want to loose either.  I know its a weird situation but thank you for reading! 

1 Answers
Nancy Kiehl, RDH, MS Staff answered 9 months ago

Good for you at continuing your education and getting a BS degree. The side job at the orthodontist has helped you while your were in school but in the long run, you must think about your security. I didn’t foresee the day when my divorce would send me into instant single motherhood with full custody of my children. Dental hygiene and working as an adjunct faculty member at a community college, unfortunately did not provide any benefits for me. I didn’t have sick days, health insurance, retirement or vacation. When my kids got sick and I had to stay home and lose pay.

Dental hygiene is a rewarding career with it’s direct patient care and the observable benefits seen from providing that care. The drawbacks stem from being in a profession that is not self regulated (for the most part) and we are controlled by dentists who, at times, don’t have our best interest in mind. Dental hygiene doesn’t have a Union to help negotiate salaries, benefits and working conditions. We are at the mercy of dental boards in most States.

I’d really like to see you provide for yourself with full benefits. Those type of dental hygiene jobs don’t usually come from private practice with a dentist. You might have to get involved with a hospital system or larger corporate company to receive benefits.

Good luck to you!