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New student without perfect teeth

I am a new student getting ready to start the Dental Hygiene program in a week. I am an older student and I have had problems with cavities in my own mouth. My dentist tells me that it is because I have very deep grooves that my tooth brush can’t reach, and that I am doing everything right, however I keep getting cavities. Everyone I talk to says that it is normal but it doesn’t seem that way. I am so nervous and stressed out about starting this program and having the teachers see that my teeth are not perfect. Does anyone have any advice? Not looking for dental advice, because I have done so much research and I am doing everything I can for that. I’m am just wondering if I am going to be the only student without perfect teeth and is this going to haunt me for my whole career?



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12 Answers

I have been a patient my whole life! My first root canal when I was 15…… Actually two…..#19 and #30. Endo number three in 2010 on #31. I have FIVE crowns. Some of your classmates may have perfect teeth and some will not. Don’t worry so much. My patients tell me all the time that my teeth are beautiful and that I probably have never had any cavities……….I don’t have many issues now, but as a child I wasn’t great with home care. Glad I was an adult when I was in ortho…… May not have any teeth left if I was in ortho as a child.

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Don’t even worry about it! There are many of us who have less than perfect teeth in this profession! One of my former fellow RDH’s had moderate perio! If they only took people with perfect teeth at hygiene school, there wouldn’t be very many students.

Good luck to you with school-and feel free to ask any questions here. There are a lot of very knowledgeable RDH’s here willing to give you help. 🙂

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I’m European. We are not known for our perfect smiles. My classmates all had blinding white perfect teeth, it made me feel a little inadequate at times. I have a mouthful of amalgams, wisdom teeth growing in all shapes and my lower anteriors are crooked. Terribly crooked. I have fluorosis on #9 right out there in front lol. It didn’t stop me getting a job almost straight out of school, in a prestigious practice. In fact I think it helps with my patients because I can sympathize with them. They don’t see this blindingly perfect smile, it puts them at ease a bit.

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Your success as a dental hygienist is in no way dependent on your dental issues. There are doctors with cancer, diabetes, etc…
Go to school, do your very best and have fun!!

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Thank you all so much! It is so frustrating knowing that I take such good care of my teeth and still have problems while others never floss, never brush after lunch etc. and never have any problems. I hope to use my experience to help me with patients in the future. Your comments make me feel much better. I’m so excited to get started! Thanks:)

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If anything you are a great example for other students! If everyone had perfect teeth in the program we wouldn’t learn much on each other before going to public patients. Then other students are able to evaluate and come with different ideas to help patients that are just like you!

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I felt guilty when I started hygiene school as well that I did not have perfect hygiene, no cavities, grade A+ flossing routine since I could walk! However, I was quickly comforted by learning I was FAR from alone! I had one of the better mouths there! Weird to think – I find that most dental professionals have MORE work. Probably because we are so in-tuned with the work that should be done and are more likely to access it. Probably has something to do with why we are in this field as well.

Don’t sweat it – you will soon find comfort in that your classmates, as well as faculty, have their share of dental problems as well 🙂

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Awww that breaks my heart. I was in the same situation and I just graduated DH school. I have just a few words to give you. First, the best dental professionals are the non-judgmental ones and second, the most compassionate professionals are generally the ones that understand what patients are going through first hand when it comes to oral insecurity.

If your instructors are half as amazing as mine, they won’t criticize you once about your teeth. Patients with insecurities about their teeth will be relying on your compassionate understanding through their dental care. Of course everyone wants a smile they are proud of but thanks to modern dentistry that is usually possible and affordable. The patients won’t return to an office where they feel judged, but they will return if they feel safe and helped. You are also going to be much more educated and driven to motivate your patients on how to maintain their teeth.

Everyone should have a smile they are proud of and you are going to be an amazing dental hygienist if you use this dental anxiety, so relevant in our culture today, to help those in need.

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I remember having a fellow student take x-rays on me and showed our instructor and I had 6 CAVITIES! I was so embarrassed. But then my instructor sat me down and said that she has had 3 root canals and 6 crowns. She said no matter what she does, she always gets cavities and has needed dental work done. If you know you are doing your best when it comes to your oral health habits, then that’s all that matters. Don’t let anything about your teeth or your smile hold you back. I bet half of the other students in your program are thinking the EXACT same thing as you are right now 🙂

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I am a current DH student and I guarantee you that you will not be the only one with imperfect teeth, nor will your professors “judge” you for not having perfection in your mouth. I felt the same way you feel about myself, but I was able to overcome it.

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Honestly, I’m starting my schooling in a week (bring on the stress!), and I have deep fillings, and my favorite, a large build up on #8 with a substantial 3/4 crown on #7 thanks to my being a daredevil at age 11. I went over the handlebars and face planted on the pavement. My teeth aren’t perfect but they’re what give me character and are great ice breakers when I have someone new examining me. Take care of your teeth as best as you can and let your imperfect teeth be the least of your worries in school.

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Thanks for all of the great comments! It is really funny to read what I wrote now that I am in week 5 of the program. Everyone is exactly right. No one is judging, no one has perfect teeth, and it is the last thing I am worried about. I will definitely be using my experiences to help others. Now I need to get back to studying:) thanks everyone!!
aliciat22

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