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 month, the honor goes to Katelyn Maylor, BS, RDH, for her dedication to her patients and her passion for education.
Katelyn Maylor is always planning the next step. Her dental career began in 2013 as a certified dental assistant, but before she completed the assisting program, she knew that she wanted to become a dental hygienist. She earned her license in 2017, but while in dental hygiene school, she decided that teaching may be her next step, so she continued her education and earned a bachelor of science degree in dental hygiene in 2023. Her future educational goal is to return to school for a master’s in public health so she can teach dental hygiene.
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As the wife of an active duty service member, Katelyn has moved and changed offices every few years, giving her exposure to many different environments throughout the dental field. Until recently, she had been with her previous office since 2020, a month before the pandemic struck. This office did not have a stable hygienist for years, which meant that Katelyn needed to establish a soft tissue management program as well as a recall system. The dentist was relieved when Katelyn took over the hygiene patients so he could focus on restorative work. In her three years with the practice, she increased the hygiene schedule from two days to five days a week.
Katelyn and her husband have three little boys and two dogs. Their family recently moved to Japan, where Katelyn currently works on a military base in Okinawa, serving active duty members and their families.
In addition to her future goals of earning a master’s degree and teaching when she returns to the US, Katelyn hopes to collaborate with an existing program to bring more access to care and awareness to the population on oral health. She is concerned with the lack of education and limited access to care throughout the US.
Katelyn offers this guidance to new graduates: “Experience comes with time. It will feel like you’re drowning at first, especially in some of the 40-minute prophy offices, but I promise that after a while, it will all become seamless. I really started to feel confident in my capabilities and decision-making a few years into my career as a hygienist.”
Katelyn’s clinical tips: “Time management, empathy, and detail are key! We’ve all passed our boards, right? We all have the skills capable of performing our duties as a hygienist. It is the ‘little things’ that make a big difference, like making small talk with my patients and getting to know them while I work, not sacrificing my work time but still making them feel important. I always check over my work and give my patients the best quality care I can. We can’t be perfect, and we will miss things from time to time, but I think giving each patient my best has helped make me a better clinician.”