Meet the Staff Series Part III: Ali, our Senior Hygienist!
When and why did you decide to become a hygienist?
I knew I wanted to become a hygienist after graduating high school. My best friend mentioned it because her uncle was a dentist and she thought it might be interesting. She decided to go a different route, but I spent the summer assisting a dentist while his assistant was on maternity leave so I could get a feel for working in the dental field. I loved it!
My initial plan was to attend Iowa State University and get a business degree, then go into Hygiene school. I found that business classes didn’t interest me and decided to finish up at ISU while I applied to Dental Hygiene programs. I transferred to the Dental College at University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln, NE where I got my Bachelor Degree in Dental Hygiene.
I’ve always been into the maths and sciences – so the healthcare field worked for me. I wanted to be able to interact with people and work with my hands. I’m a very tactile, visual person. I like being able to help others and educate them so they can help themselves too. I find every patient is different and makes me continuously have to think and apply myself. A great part of the job is that, not only am I getting to do what I love, but I also have been able to build relationships with patients over the years. I know about them as people not just a patients.
What’s your favorite hobby?
It use to be playing volleyball and hanging with friends, but now most of my time is spent being a mom to 2 wonderful children with a 3rd on the way. I really enjoy watching HGTV and feel like I have a bit of a designer inside me. 🙂
Is there one thing you wish more patients knew?
I like hearing about what is going on in their lives too, not just if they have dental concerns. Hygienists really do care about patients and their health. We want the best for them, and just want to help them achieve it. We don’t want to feel like we are lecturing.
What is the biggest change the practice has seen since you’ve been here?
I have been with the practice for over 10 years now, and many things have changed in that time. There have been faces that come and go, but the practice itself is very solid and continues to evolve with the times. When I started we were still using paper charts and cards to track treatment. As the use of computers in every room became available, the electronic charts were easy to access, made everything more uniform for providers and allowed us to record more data at visits.
Going paperless was a big change but well worth it! With easy access to everything we have been able to implement other technologies over the years – digital x-rays, digital charting, 3D imaging, intraoral cameras, cavity detection devices, etc. Hygiene appointments now encompass more assessment and treatment in an hour than ever before, and often the patient isn’t even aware. Also the decor has continued to be updated over the years – lookin’ good!
Anything that may surprise people about you?
- Strobel Dentistry is my first job out of Hygiene school.
- I have the biggest sweet tooth.
- I’m from Iowa, went to Iowa State and NE but am a Iowa Hawkeyes fan.