Mentor Advice ForumCategory: QuestionsI am investigating different aspects of dental hygiene and would love some recommendations.
AvatarRaj asked 3 years ago

I have a BS and MS in biology and recently graduated from a dental hygiene program. I am investigating different aspects of dental hygiene and would love some recommendations. I conducted clinical research in graduate school and had the opportunity to teach science courses. I’ve also worked as a director of research and development for a dental lab. I love teaching, clinical dental hygiene, and research. Do you have any suggestions for someone like me? I thank you in advance.

3 Answers
Jacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, MSJacquelyn L. Fried, RDH, MS Staff answered 3 years ago

You should contact the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle because the school has multiple dental hygienists with graduate degrees in biology working as researchers.

Pam Zarkowski, BSDH, MPH, JDPam Zarkowski, BSDH, MPH, JD Staff answered 3 years ago

Dental hygiene education programs are frequently looked for dental hygienists with master’s degrees to teach the biomedical sciences. Perhaps you can get a position in a dental hygiene program teaching in this area and because you are a dental hygienist, you can also teach on the clinic floor. With your background, you can do a great job of demonstrating how biomedical sciences are integrated into the practice of dental hygiene—in the classroom and on the clinic floor. If you are near a dental school, you may be an attractive candidate to teach in a course as an adjunct or lab adjunct. Or there may be research being conducted at a dental hygiene or dental program that would be interested in your expertise. Our dental school has master-prepared dental hygienists teaching in dental anatomy, periodontics, radiology, and other courses. Finally, with interprofessional education so popular now, you might be attractive to an allied program where you could teach in allied health programs and integrate dental/oral health concepts.

Gayle B. McCombs, RDH, MSGayle B. McCombs, RDH, MS Staff answered 3 years ago

Your background positions you well for a career in research—congratulations on your accomplishments! First of all, I would “google” dental and medical research and see what pops up, you never know who is working on an interesting project. Most dental schools have ongoing research and I would explore their webpages and job postings. Additionally, if you are interested in teaching and blending your research skills, I would consider an academic position in a master’s degree dental hygiene program where you could not only teach, but conduct your own research and mentor graduate students. This would be a wonderful opportunity to blend your interests, experience, and education. Hope this inspires you!