Each week the RDH PIRA (Patient Impact & Rise Above) recognition program, sponsored by Water Pik, Inc., features a dental hygiene clinician who excels in his or her role and goes the extra mile. The past two and a half years have been a challenge for many clinicians and as we return to the operatory, we want to acknowledge those who provide patient care—clinicians who are changing their patients’ lives, influencing their patients’ health, and making a difference every day. This week we honor LaTonya Butler, RDH.
“When you acknowledge your purpose in life, your vision becomes transparent and much more rewarding. When I went from CDA to pediatric RDH, my passion for dentistry was elevated. Pursuing a career in a profession that is pure happiness for me was the best choice I could have ever made. My mission is to inspire others to smile, and my love for dentistry and children is evident.
“How do I represent dentistry? When it comes to extended services—from counseling to motivational speaking, and rebraiding loose ponytails to playing pretend dentistry with comforting toys—I’m your girl! I’m not shy in the operatory. I entertain and do whatever I need to ease pediatric patients’ minds. I treat all patients like my own children—with lots of smiles, love, and hugs. Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough for me!
“When I noticed the disconnect and language barrier in my community when it came to dental care, I took advantage of the opportunity to learn something new to make a difference inside and outside of the operatory.
More PIRA honorees
“I began self-publishing children’s books to promote early childhood preventive dental care and to help children learn perseverance beyond their comfort level in the dental office. My stories encourage healthy dental habits locally and internationally. I donate children’s books to local students, as well as dental hygiene kits, to support my mission.
“Since practicing as a dental clinician, I don’t consider my position a job. It’s my mission that I take at heart!”
LaTonya, “The Brown Tooth Fairy,” is a Readers’ Favorite Five Star-rated and Amazon bestselling children’s book author. She’s been an RDH since 2017, a CDA since 2008, and is a youth advocate from South Carolina. In 2008, she began dressing up as the tooth fairy during dental education seminars to entertain at childhood development centers and elementary schools, and the children loved it! LaTonya is passionate about using her dental career as a platform in a fun and exciting way to help stop dental issues before they start.
She self-publishes children’s books on social-emotional learning and early childhood preventive dental care, and this promotes diversity in dentistry. She helps young readers and their caregivers access essential dental care and education, become familiar with their dental health, and become less fearful of their dental surroundings.
LaTonya’s ultimate mission is to contribute to the dental community and help brighten smiles. Coming from a family background where dental care was not a priority, she wants to change the narrative of her family’s history. She uses her unpleasant past dental experiences as a tool to advocate for those who need dental guidance.
Visit the PIRA website to nominate someone today! Good luck, and we look forward to hearing from many outstanding and qualified colleagues!