Name: Sarah Theil
Dental Hygiene School: San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico
What got you interested in Dental Hygiene? I wanted to be a photographer. I moved up to Provo and was all signed up to attend at the time it was called Utah Valley State College. I was driving down the road and saw a sign for a Dental Assisting school. I remember calling my mom and telling her I unenrolled from UVSC and signed up for dental assisting school, all within a matter of an hour. HAHA. I was a dental assistant for 4 years before I realized how awesome dental hygiene was. I wanted to be able to make my own schedule and see my own patients. Most importantly, I knew one day I wanted to be a mom and I wanted to be able to make enough money in a few days that I could stay home and raise my family the rest of the time. So off to hygiene school I went! That was 11 years ago.
What do you do for work now? I work clinically one day a week. I still have those few patients left that threaten to never get their teeth cleaned as long as they live if I don't do it. I am a secretary on the Dental Hygiene Committee of the NM Board of Dental Healthcare. I am a dental hygiene examiner for two different examining companies. And most recently, I started a company called CE Zoom!
What is CE Zoom? CE Zoom is the only fully automated CE management platform. From one website, a person can be notified of a course, register for it, verify their attendance, take a mandatory survey, receive a digital copy of their CE certificate, track that course against their individual state's rules and regulations, and in participating states have their completed CE transcript submitted straight to the state for license renewal or and audit. This is a great tool for a dental professional, however, it's even better for a company or conference to help manage their presenters, registration, surveys, and certificate distribution! AND from a state dental boards viewpoint, it's a fantastic way to do an audit. The system separates everything into different categories based off of what each individual state's rules are so when the person doing the audit receives a transcript, they don't have to think about what course goes into which category. It is all done and separated out for them. If the person doing the audit relieves a transcript, they don't have to think about what course goes into which category. It is all done and separated out for them. If they person doing the audit doesn't feel like a course was good for that state, they can deny the course and the system will automatically recalculate knowing if that individual passed their audit or not. This is a very basic description of what CE Zoom can do. If you want to know more, get on the site and sign up for a free account!
What is one piece of advice that you'd give yourself as a dental hygiene student? Everything you learn in dental hygiene school IS and could be useful to you at some point! I remember we had to give so many presentations and I could not figure out why and hated every second of it! Now, I know why that was so important and am so grateful that I learned how to do that! I have to stand in front of group of people all the time now and present my company and I honestly feel because I was forced and taught how to do it so early on that this is now very easy for me to do. Also, I wish I had started networking and being more involved in the American Dental Hygiene Association sooner in my career. I could know and could have made so many more connections if I had been networking and volunteering since the day I graduated rather than for the last 5 years.
What is one thing you would want to tell a dental hygienist who is interested in starting their own company? It's not easy. I could count on my hands and feet how many times I wanted to give up. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It's kind of funny- the reason I was really gung ho about starting CE Zoom and making this work is because I wanted to be able to stay home full time with my kids. The COMPLETE opposite has happened. Now I'm gone even more because I have to travel so much to teach people on how amazing this program is. I know though that in a few years things will change and I will be able to to be home more with my kids. However, I absolutely love the opportunities I have gained from all of this! I would have never met all the people I have and made the connections I have if I never started this! I would still be working my 2 days a week and filling in for hygienists when they go out of town, which would have been fine. I remember in February I was in Ohio at dinner with some "big dogs" of a company and I remember just sitting there thinking "Wow! Two years ago I would have NEVER imagined I would be at dinner with these two guys talking about our families like we are old friends." Now I have been invited to be a member of the Crest Smile Council and I get to spread my voice about the importance of CE and why it's important for dental professionals to care about the continuing education they are going to.
Thank you Sarah for letting us highlight you in our latest Hygiene Edge Hygienist Spotlight! If you know a hygienist worth spotlighting, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.