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Improving dental hygiene access for those in need

Aug. 14, 2023
Learn how this hygienist's pursuit to make hygiene more affordable to people without insurance led to her opening an independent hygiene clinic: “It has been an absolute dream."

Each month, the RDH PIRA (Patient Impact & Rise Above) recognition program, sponsored by Water Pik, Inc., features a dental hygiene clinician who goes the extra mile in their job to change their patients’ lives, influence their patients’ health, and make a daily difference. This honor goes to Tamarin Wood, RDH, for making dental hygiene care affordable to those with no insurance.

Tamarin Wood, an adventurous and fun-loving Canadian dental hygienist, describes herself as a “mother to 12 wonderful plants and a fun auntie to four nieces and one nephew.” At age 19, Tamarin traveled to the United Kingdom to go backpacking and fell in love with England. She stayed there for the next eight years, working as a receptionist and practice manager in a dental office. She also completed a dental assisting course and worked with Harley Street specialists, an experience she calls “incredible!”

Since the 1900s, Harley Street in Central London has housed a large number of private specialists in medicine and dentistry. Tamarin took extra courses to become a sedation dental assistant for post cancer and trauma cases. “Although fascinating, I wanted more one-on-one with patients, so I decided to try hygiene,” she says.

More PIRA honorees:

Serving the oral health needs of the Navajo Nation

Appreciation makes the hard work worthwhile

So she moved back to Canada and began her dental hygiene education. “Through all the blood, sweat, and tears of hygiene school, I knew this was what I wanted to do, so I gave 110%. I became the class representative and graduated with the community award and on the dean’s list.” Tamarin feels that dental hygiene is what she was meant to do and that it shows in her attitude toward her work. She feels fortunate that her patients are like family to her. 

But working in private practice wasn’t enough for Tamarin. She wanted to make dental hygiene care affordable to those in her community with no insurance. So she opened an independent hygiene clinic in December 2022 in Niagara Falls. “It has been an absolute dream to own my own clinic,” she says.  

Tamarin has been in the dental field for 15 years and continues to work full-time in a private practice, while getting her own clinic up and running. This leaves her very little spare time, but when she does have some time off, she makes the most of it. She is an avid reader and hiker and loves dogs. “Once I finally retire, you will find me in a cottage by a lake with four dogs and a very large wine cellar!” But until then, you’ll find Tamarin hard at work, bringing smiles to her patients and doing what she loves best.