82252230 © Maxim Popov | Dreamstime.com
Temping and finding a mentor helped this male dental hygienist overcome many obstacles.

Passion and dedication motivate this male RDH in a female-dominated field

March 12, 2024
Dental hygienist Darren Green highly recommends temping as a new RDH to help you find what works for you. Mentors also serve as excellent guides in the profession.

Men are making significant strides in the dental hygiene profession. Everyone brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives, shaping the fabric of dental care delivery. One remarkable young man has embraced the role of a dental hygienist with passion and dedication.

Meet Darren Green, who entered oral health care driven by a passion for impact. Despite stereotypes, he pursued his passion and broke barriers. He faced challenges and opportunities from the outset, juggling diverse cultures, systems, insurance protocols, and doctor’s processes while working in private offices and DSOs. Despite the learning curve, he swiftly found his rhythm and thrived in the dynamic dental profession.

Darren's journey showcases resilience and determination, propelling him forward despite adversity. Continuous learning has honed his skills, earning him respect from his peers and patients. Darren highlights the pivotal role of mentorship and support networks in dentistry. "Believing in me and fostering growth, my mentors empowered me to excel despite obstacles," he said.

Darren's journey showcases how passion, perseverance, and purpose can transform lives. As he progresses in his career, his story inspires aspiring professionals of all backgrounds. With a dedication to excellence and patient care, his future of dental hygiene shines brightly. In Darren’s own words, here’s a glimpse into his experiences and advice from the past year.

Consider temping

It’s nerve wrecking to walk into a new dental office with minimal experience and not knowing what to expect. Eventually my nerves pass as I become accustomed to the flow of operation and my new coworkers.

Imagine that same heart-pounding, edgy anticipation on a day-to-day basis. Now that’s stressful! For many new graduates, this’s what it feels like temping from office to office right out of hygiene school. Having to quickly learn the style of different offices, their software, their equipment, and their expectations is a lot to bear. Nevertheless, if you manage to find the fortitude, you can reap the benefits of condensing several years of experience into a short amount of time. Many hygienists claim that this is the greatest benefit when tempting directly out of school.

Working as a temp isn't for everyone. Each hygienist has unique strengths and qualities that suit different practices. A permanent office offers stability, patient rapport, and career growth. When seeking a permanent position, make sure it aligns with your style of practice. During interviews, ask about patient volume, responsibilities, and treatment planning. Take time to find the right fit before committing. Temping allows you to explore your preferences and vet potential offices.

A positive attitude is a key to success as a hygienist. Your attitude directly influences communication among your coworkers and patients. A negative attitude adds unnecessary stress and uncertainty to a situation, while a positive one provides a sense of security, assurance, and optimism.

Both negative and positive attitudes can manifest through body language, gestures, tone of voice, verbal expression, and social engagement or withdrawal. It’s important to channel a positive and optimistic attitude for the sake of personal and interpersonal communications. Besides, adopting a positive state of mind lessens the negative impact of life’s trials.

Find a mentor

A mentor can have an incredibly positive impact on your learning curve, personal growth, and success. A mentor provides valuable guidance and advice based on their own experiences. They can help you navigate challenges, make informed decisions, and avoid common pitfalls. It’s in your best interest to seek mentorship from those in positions that you aspire to be in.

With a profound body of knowledge, experience, and wisdom, they can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and create a roadmap for your career advancement. As relationships are invaluable, make it a priority to invest in mentorship with the people you admire in your profession. Beyond professional development, a genuine connection with a mentor can have generational influence, and this contributes to the continuity of expertise and success in the field.

How do you want to be remembered as a hygienist? What legacy do you want to leave and how are you working toward that? The answers are pillars of the foundation that will distinguish you not only as a hygienist, but as a person, and it will give you a sense of direction in your life.

How does one become distinguished? Regardless of whether you want to build your brand, grow as an advocate, or become an upstanding clinician, consider developing a strong work ethic, consistently adding value to yourself, and expressing your individuality. Ultimately, distinguishing yourself is about realizing your potential, making a positive impact, and achieving success on your own terms. Distinguishing yourself is a process of self-discovery, growth, and contribution that will lead to a fulfilling career and life.

Rafael Rondon, BS, RDH, has been in the dental field for more than 30 years. He worked in a hospital setting, private practice, and for the past 20 years, in dental group practices. He’s helped develop a dental hygiene standard of care for the organization, which includes periodontal therapy, communication, efficient hygiene schedules, improving patient care, and team development. He’s also founder of Mr. RDH, a platform for male hygienists to empower men in our dental hygienist profession.

About the Author

Rafael Rondon, BS, RDH

Rafael Rondon, BS, RDH, has been in the dental field for more than 30 years. He worked in a hospital setting and private practice, and for the past 20 years with dental group practices. He’s helped develop a dental hygiene standard of care for the organization, which includes periodontal therapy, communication, efficient hygiene schedules, improving patient care, and team development. He’s also founder of Mr. RDH, a platform for male hygienists to network and discuss factors that affect men as dental hygienists.