Lauren McGuire will celebrate her one-year anniversary as a dental hygienist on June 1, 2022. Despite being a “newbie,” she has accomplished much in less than a year. Aside from being a full-time hygienist in general practice, she has been influential on social media since she started her Instagram (@flossinwithlauren) during the pandemic lockdown while still in hygiene school.
Like many others, Lauren felt lonely and isolated during the lockdown. She states, “I wanted to find other dental hygiene students in the same position as me. I also wanted to follow more dental people who shared my common interests. Quickly, my page turned into a way that I could advocate and use my voice. The cause that I find most important to me is advocating for student mothers.”
Lauren started hygiene school in August 2019, with a four-month-old daughter and a pandemic looming just around the corner. She graduated in the midst of the pandemic in May 2021. Lauren’s path to a career in hygiene was not direct. An impacted canine that needed exposure surgery during her high school years sparked her initial interest in the dental field. She began asking questions of every dental professional she met, and then set “becoming a dental hygienist” as a top goal.
She says, “I knew the application process, prerequisites, classes I would have to take during the program, etc. like the back of my hand because I studied it so much—I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way!”
In spite of this initial enthusiasm, Lauren did not immediately apply to dental hygiene school. Her “problem” was that she had so many other interests, including political science, law, and teaching, so she wasn’t sure which direction to take. She finally decided to major in arts in history/political science and earned a bachelor’s degree. But throughout her college years, she worked in a dental office, trying out as many positions as she could—receptionist, dental assistant, assistant office manager, and orthodontic assistant. She enjoyed these experiences, but didn’t feel that any of these positions was quite right for her, so she returned to her initial goal of “becoming a dental hygienist” and applied to hygiene school.
But again, the path was not a straight one. She was wait-listed for the school she had hoped to get into and was devastated and discouraged. But two years later, with a new daughter, she reapplied and this time she was accepted into the program.
We all know that dental hygiene school can be quite difficult, and many of us know that being the mother of a newborn can also be quite difficult, but Lauren somehow managed to do both at once. “Dental hygiene school with an infant was not easy, but I want people to know that it is possible! So often, people ask me, ‘How did you make it with a baby?’ but I genuinely don’t think I could have made it without my daughter. She kept me motivated because I kept remembering how I was working to give her a better future.” She credits her husband and family with providing the support she needed to realize her dream of becoming a hygienist.
This indirect and sometimes difficult path toward achieving her career goal has taught Lauren some lessons that she likes to share with others on her social media platform.
She states, “My main goal is for people to follow their dreams, no matter what. So many times, people won’t pursue their goals because they’re afraid of failing. I was afraid of not getting accepted, not being smart enough to pass, not being able to handle school with an infant, and not liking the RDH profession. This was all fear that could’ve held me back, but I decided to ignore it all and just try despite the chance of failure. I want people to know that, even if they fail, they are just setting their path up for something better. I am so thankful that I got wait-listed the first time I applied to my program because I made true lifelong friends in my class. We helped each other in all ways possible, and I think it was fate that we all ended up in the same class. Sometimes ‘failing’ at something first is exactly what you need to succeed!”
Congratulations, Lauren McGuire, and welcome to the RDH Community Connections (RCC) dental hygiene influencer program!