2018 Student Essay Contest

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It's time again for our Annual Student Essay Contest!

This year, we've decided to look into ADHA and being part of your student chapter. We'd love to know how being part of it as helped you learn and grow as a person and as a dental hygienist. Any fun activities you've done? Any great events or volunteer opportunities that your classmates have been involved in? What have you learned from being part of the events and a dental hygiene community? We want to know!

Winner will be chosen and given $100, a prize package from our shop, and be published on Hygiene Edge. Email your submissions by August 1 to hygieneedge@gmail.com.

We're so excited to hear what you've been up to with the ADHA and SADHA!

Fine print: You must be a current dental hygiene student OR have graduated dental hygiene school in the last 6 months. Entries are due August 1, 2018 and should be emailed to hygieneedge@gmail.com. All writing must be original work. Entry must been less than 1000 words long. Photos can be included, but must be copyright free. 

Advice for the Recent Dental Hygiene Graduate

Being a recent dental hygiene graduate is full of emotion. For one, relief that you made it through a really tough program! Sadness that you won't see your new best friends that you've been hanging out with every day for the last two years, and nervousness as you set out to find your perfect job. We've been compiling advice from hygienists all over the US and Canada for you recent grads! Things they wish they would've known when they graduated, how to keep hygiene instresting, and how to be dental hygiene for the long haul.

"Try and get as much experience temping in multiple offices as possible. You're able to find out what you like and most of the time, temping can lead to a permanent job."  Courtney Calder

"Be confident, especially in your knowledge and skills. However, you must still be teachable and know that you are still going to learn something new every day." Mandy Faucette, graduated in 2012

"The advice I would get be after 30+years is to get to know your patients. Build a relationship. You'll help them want to improve their oral health and do what you ask when they know you care. It's simple. But very powerful."  Karen Alston

"I would say my best advice is to value your education and be willing to continue learning. I think we are very well educated and that sometimes we are discredited, by dentists, our patients who think we're the same as assistants, and even each other when people go to different schools. But we are very knowledgeable and have all the knowledge and skills that we need to provide excellent patient care. We need to be confident about that. But at the same time, we also need to be willing to learn from our peers and search out the latest information that is continually being released so we can make sure we are providing the best patient care."  Chanci Oyler, graduated in 2008

"You have a professional degree, but your learning doesn't stop now. Take the time to develop yourself personally, gain emotional intelligence, and have courage. Your courage will help you as you evolve professionally but it will also help you uphold your integrity and your dental hygiene oath. Remember the galaxy is your limit!" Jazmin Haley

"When you first graduate, trying to find the perfect job can be tough. Take your time and do a lot of temping to see what you like in an office, what you don't, and to be exposed to many different software systems, instruments, and office dynamics. Don't stress, which I know is hard, if the perfect 5 day/week office doesn't fall into your lap right away. Just like it dental hygiene school, it all works out! Congratulations on joining an amazing profession!" Melia Lewis, graduated in 2009

"One of the most important things is to keep learning and working on developing your skills, especially in dental hygiene diagnosis and treatment planning, also clinical skills take a while before they develop fully.
Also, if you have a diploma or associates degree, get a bachelor's degree ASAP. It won't affect your income in clinical practice, but you will have more career options later on, in case you want a change from clinical practice Also, even if money is tight, get disability insurance. I worked with someone who was in a car collision soon after graduation, she could not work for six months.."   Linda Douglas

"GET A MENTOR YESTERDAY and Networking really does matter." Elicia Lucpoli

"Pay attention to the ergonomics/kinesiology experts.  Too many careers ruined by bad backs and other chronic workplace injuries in this job.  Avoid working in offices with 12 o'clock delivery." Scott Ross

Thank you to everyone who offered advice to our recent grads!

What advice would you give yourself as a recent gradute? 

How To Study For National Boards

I get asked all the time how to study for the National Board Exam. I like things in black and white myself and wondered if there was a secret recipe to passing that exam when I took it. So here is what I figured out, and what I tell those who are looking for guidance.

I recommend studying the way that you usually study to get and “A” on an exam.  For advanced planners, like myself, I recommend studying in advance. For those that are crammers, I recommend... cramming.

Studying In Advance

For a regular exam, I had to read the chapters each 2-3 times, then review with my study group/myself the review questions 2-3 weeks in advance. I would make a study schedule to pace myself.

For the National Board, I did the same. I was scheduled to take the exam at the end of March so I made myself a study schedule that started in January. Each week I scheduled myself a topic to review and that process took about 2 months time. For the last month, I practiced test questions from the back of each chapter in the study book I used and any other practice questions that I could get a hold of. I, personally, have a little test anxiety and really had to learn to read through questions thoroughly. I would also look at the answers and find out what would have made those the correct answers.

The last week before the exam I didn’t do any studying. I figured that if I didn’t know it then, I wasn’t going to.


Now if you are a crammer, I recommend cramming. Check into a hotel or lock yourself in your room the weekend before. Get lots of healthy food and study until you drop. If you like to study as a group, invite some friends. You may also want to consider using a board review course as your “cram” session.

Hybrid Version

If you like portions of the above options, consider mixing them to meet your needs. Whatever you choose, make a plan and stick to it. 

What Sources To Use

I would recommend looking at all of the options and seeing what is the best for you and limiting it to 1-3 of those. Otherwise, it gets overwhelming. Consider that you will want them to be thorough and you want it to have practice questions with explanations as well.  Below are a few of the options*:

Mosbys Book

Saunders Review Book

Kaplan Book

Dex Cards 

Pass it App

Board review class

(*Hygiene Edge is not affiliated with any of the above options.)

Study as you go

Last is to do well in your current classes. Consider that with each class you take, you are studying for the board. Those who usually fail are those who didn’t do well in their classes in the first place or those who chose just to “wing” the exam and don't study anything. If you can get at least “B’s” in your classes and study some, you have very high chances of success. Best of luck- now go study!

Let us know in the comments what you used to study from for your National Board Exam. 

Student Article Contest 2016

Hygiene Edge, with Lilac Paper, presents the 2nd annual student article contest! This year's topic is: Study tips you've been using while in dental hygiene school. Submissions are due by August 1, 2016 to hygieneedge@gmail.com. Winner will have their article published on Hygiene Edge along with recieving a Lilac Paper Dental Student Planner, and $50 cash.