www. ChsDent i s t s . com | www.MountPl easantPhys i c i ans . com | www.MountPl easantMagaz i ne. com 82 smiling faces Beyond the clinical aspects of scheduling a session in the chair are the social benefits. Dental hygienists get a lot of facetime with families. They build relationships with the people to whom they gift a shining smile. Office manager and dental hygienist Kristina Hubbard of Wando Family Dentistry said, “I love to make people confident.” Kristina understands the opportunities she affords her patients by helping them maintain top-notch oral hygiene. She knows that putting a smile on a face builds self-esteem. Self-esteem improves relationships, chances of getting hired and general happiness. Kristina also loves getting to know the personalities behind the gleaming grins she helps fashion. Kristina’s co-worker and former Trident Technical College peer, Elle Todd, added, “Patients stay with us throughout their lives. We see them grow up. It’s interesting to be a part of their story.” The fact that they care and want to be a part of the patient’s journey matters nearly as much as the clinical skill. People often avoid visiting dentists out of fear or nervousness. When a capable and knowledgeable health professional adds a little bit of heart into the mix, it changes everything. People are more likely to take care of themselves in a place where they feel comfortable. Kristina and Elle agreed that the warmth and personality comes from the family dynamic at Wando Family Dentistry. The doctors, assistants and hygienists care about one another, as well as their patients. That culture flows through the practice and to the people who matter most: the patients sitting in the chair, trusting the practice with their health. It wouldn’t all come together without every amazing piece of the puzzle. The dentists are the guiding edge pieces, without which there’d be no structure. But it is the dental hygienists who fill in the all-important middle, where the full picture is revealed. The field of dental hygiene is expected to grow by 19% over the next 10 years and offers an above-average median income. In the United States, at least an associate degree from a school accredited by the American Dental Association is required to work as a dental hygienist. Trident Technical College offers this program beginning in the fall semester each year. It’s a great time to become one of these stewards of oral health that Mount Pleasant Magazine and Smiling Faces are proud to recognize.