Dental Hygienist Spotlight- Ashley Nelson

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Name: Ashley Nelson, BS, RDH

Where/When You Graduated from DH School: I graduated from Weber State University in Ogden, UT in 2011

What's one thing you love about dental hygiene? One thing I love about hygiene is the relationships that you build with your patients. You really learn to love them and their families. And maybe going after a large ledge of calculus with an ultrasonic and watching it fly! Haha!

What do you do now? I recently went from working full-time in private practice to being at home. I started an online community called Elevated Hygiene that focuses on helping dental professionals "step up their hygiene game" by making small changes to their current routine to ensure that their hygiene department is thriving. I'm really passionate about setting up protocols so that patients get the treatment they deserve. I was inspired to start Elevated Hygiene after years of being stuck in the prophy trap. I was having a difficult time translating all I had learned in school into "real life." After years of feeling like I wasn't performing at my highest potential as a Hygienist and having low periodontal therapy case acceptance, I started researching how to change that and came up with my own flowcharts and checklists to help me improve my perio percentages. Right as I felt like I was starting to "get it" life threw a curve ball at me. After returning to work after my second baby, my body was not able to handle the physical strain of the job and I had to stop clinical hygiene. I was devastated and if truth be told, a bit peeved. Right when I was onto something, I felt like my body failed me. But I was determined to keep going and that's how Elevated Hygiene was born. I want to equip others with tools so that they don't end up in the same prophy trap that I was in.

Any funny stories from practice? This was before hygiene school, but I passed out HARD (like hit the floor without even trying to catch myself) when I was job shadowing and watching my first oral surgery. It was an apicoectomy and I had never seen anything like that before! I don't even know how I got past the assistant, but I ended up falling flat on my face in the hallway right outside the op. We still get a pretty good laugh when we reminisce about that day!

Advice for a new dental hygiene grad: My advice would be to really mind your ergonomics! Your body definitely will thank you!


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