This year, RDH Under One Roof is setting up shop in Denver, Colorado. Mark your calendars for July 15–18, 2020, and learn more at rdhunderoneroof.com. While we’re waiting for the big week, let’s take a look at some of the hygienists doing great, innovative work in Colorado.
Jennifer Geiselhofer, RDH
I am an independent hygienist in Denver and the owner of Dental At Your Door, a portable dental hygiene practice serving homeless and underserved populations. I began my hygiene career in Chicago 23 years ago, and relocated to Denver in 2002. My passion for providing preventive dental care to the underserved began while volunteering at a local Mission of Mercy dental event.
I opened Dental At Your Door in 2015, and in 2018, we received our Gold Seal from the United States Patent and Trademark office. In July of 2019, I established a 501(c)(3) organization Deserving Dental Org. I created this organization to provide free prophys, SRPs, exams, digital x-rays, sealants, SDF, oral cancer screenings, and fluoride treatments to patients in the shelters who do not qualify for state assistance.
I work in more than 25 facilities, and have 7 employees who help me provide preventive dental care inside homeless shelters, correctional facilities, substance abuse facilities, centers for children and runaway youth, as well as assisted living and private home visits for patients with mobility limitations.
I have all the passion of a new hygiene graduate again. I get hugs, thank yous, and even tears of gratitude from patients every day.
The care we provide is way more than just “cleanings.” We really are changing and impacting lives. Most of my patients feel hopeless and think they need all of their teeth extracted. After a few sessions of SRP or even just a gross debridement, patients see they have viable teeth under all that calculus. They get excited about applying for jobs, asking for promotions, and gain new self-confidence almost immediately. It’s exciting and rewarding going to work every day.
I am very lucky to have community partnerships with large nonprofits such as the Salvation Army that allow me to bring in preventive care. I collaborate with caring dentists; oral surgeons; ear, nose, and throat specialists; and a head and neck oncology group, which see my patients for advanced care. To donate to provide free preventive dental care to children and adults living in poverty, go to deservingdental.org.
Cindy Purdy, BS, RDH
As a young, fresh-out-of-high-school 18-year-old, I chose the profession of dental hygiene because I wanted to travel. You can insert your laughter—or your gasp—at this point! After I completed my prerequisites and was accepted into my program, I quickly learned that the Peace Corps brochure that led me to my career choice was either very misleading or completely ill-informed of the working environment for dental hygienists. I am quite certain that the educators at my admission interview got quite a kick out of my future intentions! I graduated with an associate’s degree in 1980. I returned many years later to complete my bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program. With encouragement and help from many of my amazing colleagues, I was elected president of the New Mexico Dental Hygienists’ Association in 2008.
I am currently employed as a director of professional services by two dental manufacturing companies, Crown Seating and DNTLworks Equipment. I utilize my ergonomics certificate from the University of Colorado and my certifications as an ergonomic assessment specialist and a telehealth facilitator to present continuing education courses on these topics to dental practitioners and students alike. Though writing does not come easily to me, I have authored and coauthored multiple articles regarding these same topics. In addition, I coauthored a workbook with Patti DiGangi, RDH, titled Teledentistry: Pathway to Prosperity.
I now find myself as the only dental practitioner residing and working in my entire county in rural southern Colorado. Because of its small population, I am able to enjoy the much-needed flexibility to schedule my speaking engagements and still offer my clinical services through the use of teledentistry technology. I work at a satellite office to Dr. Kyle Schulz’s traditional dental office located 60 miles away. Dr. Schulz is able to complete his teledentistry evaluations and treatment plans at his leisure after my data is stored in a teledentistry-specific cloud-based software program. He and his staff then travel, as needed, to this beautiful valley to not only increase its access to dental care but to offer equality of restorative services in our rural town to rival that of any nearby urban areas. I remain very grateful to Dr. Schulz for jumping into this project along with me.