If you could travel back in time to when you were studying to be a dental hygienist, what would you tell your younger self?

Would you explain how the oral biology that kept you up nights in your freshman year suddenly made sense? Or how you no longer like to paint your nails, even if you are going on vacation?!

We asked BURST ambassadors to share the tips they would give their younger selves. You won’t want to miss Tip 11.

Tip 1: Take care of yourself physically

“Getting massage therapy isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Stretch between patients or at just before and after work and at lunch. Don’t think you’re being bossy by telling your patients where to place their head/body even if you have to tell them multiple times. Sharpen your instruments regularly. Every small effort will have a big impact on your body.” Missy Euler, RDH

Tip 2: Don’t leave home without your loupes

“I can’t stress the importance of loupes enough. Buy them while in school and you get a big discount. And make sure you get the light too. I waited a few years because of the cost but I have to say once I got them, they changed my hygiene life because the loupes and light combo help tremendously with posture.” Gina Daining, RDH

Tip 3: Take time between patients

“Burnout is real! Take the proper time with patients and do not overbook or overwork yourself. Your body needs time between patients and your patients need time with you as the hygienist.” Emma Morris, RDH

Tip 4: Find your passion within the career

“Seeing 8 to 12 patients a day does not have to be the rest of your life. There are multiple specialities within dental hygiene as well as multiple environments. Dental hygiene is a career you can always fall back on to support yourself and your family within guidelines that you can control.” Terri Ryan Sullivan, RDH

Tip 5: Stick to your values

“Stand up for what you believe in; establish your values & find an office that respects and syncs with who you are. Don’t settle because you feel like you have to.” Nancy Tran, RDH

Tip 6: Never forget WHY you went into dental hygiene.

“If you get to a point of “burnout” take a step back, reflect, and re-assess. There are many opportunities to utilize your degree and education beyond the clinical aspect. Believe in yourself and be your own biggest cheerleader.” Nicole Kulas, RDH

Tip 7. Always put yourself and your needs first!

“Find a good office that you fit in well with. In the meantime, make the office you are at the best it can be. Know your potential and your limits. Always do the right thing and always stand up for what’s right. Help make the changes hygiene needs in this world.” Amanda Taylor, RDH

Tip 8. Don’t settle if it’s just not right

“Don’t settle or be afraid to move on if you find yourself in a toxic work environment – find a dental home that values teamwork and what you bring to the table. Advocate for yourself if you need more time per patient. Treat patients as you would treat your family. Invest in loupes right away & establish good ergonomic habits. Network and never stop learning.” Melissa Freeze, RDH

Tip 9: Honor your title

“Don’t let anyone or society undermine your title. You earned your degree, you are a licensed dental professional and a true preventive specialist. Celebrate all your victories, mistakes, and constantly keep learning. If you’re questioning to further your degree, do it. Be kind to yourself and your body. Your years in this profession will thank you later.” Ashlee Crump, RDH

Tip 10: Expand your network

“Become a BURST Ambassador ASAP. Duh.” Missy Euler, RDH

Tip 11: Keep it in the family

“Last but not least, marry a dentist. It will make them a better dentist.” Gina Daining, RDH

Become a BURST Ambassador

Interested in becoming a BURST AMBASSADOR? Find out all you need to know about the BURST AMBASSADOR Program here.