Lynn Ramer is the current president of American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). She has worked in a number of positions within ADHA and the Indiana Dental Hygienists’ Association (IDHA).
Dental Hygienist Career Path
Ever since she was a girl, Lynn knew that dental hygiene was the career for her.
“I knew I wanted to go into a health care field,” she says. “My childhood dentist encouraged me to consider dental hygiene.”
Dental Hygienist Experiences
Lynn has been in the dental hygiene business since she graduated 1982. She has served in many positions in the Indiana Dental Hygienists’ Association and in a number of positions within ADHA, including vice-president and now the current president.
During her training, Lynn spent time in the clinic treating patients. All dental hygienists do this, and can gain additional experience by working at care centers on their own outside of the designated time, such as working in community service projects.
“When I was in dental hygiene school,” Lynn recalls, “we traveled to a nearby county and participated in elementary school dental screenings, rotated through the dental clinic at the local state hospital several times, and had the opportunity to volunteer at a local free clinic for school credit on a regular basis.”
Lynn is also a regular volunteer in her community by educating children on the importance of good oral hygiene.
Lynn received her Associate of Science degree in dental hygiene from Indiana-University-Purdue University.
Dental Hygiene Degree Programs
“A registered dental hygienist needs to graduate from a minimum two-year college program that included classroom studies and extensive supervised clinical experience,” explains Lynn. “He or she must also pass a national written exam and a comprehensive state clinical exam to earn the RDH (registered dental hygienist) license.”
Another degree, the Baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene, allows entry into higher-up positions, such as teaching, administration, and public health.
“It may also provide a broader base in the humanities and other areas outside dental hygiene,” Lynn adds.
Dental Hygiene Job Description
Lynn is the current president of the ADHA, but before that, she worked extensively as a dental hygienist.
A dental hygienist is a licensed health care professional who works with dentists to educate and treat patients in oral health care. Job markets for dental hygienists include oral health practices, research positions, education, federal programs, and community health.
Dental Hygienist Daily Routine
“A clinical dental hygienist could work in a general dentistry practice,” Lynn explains, “providing preventative services such as: cleaning teeth, taking X-rays, providing fluoride treatments, applying sealants, and educating patients on preventative measures.”
Dental hygienists can work in a number of environments, each with a different list of duties. For example, a dental hygienist could work in a pediatric dental practice and only see children, which is completely different from working as an educator in a college or university.
Dental Hygienist: Steps to Success
As with any medical pursuit, commitment and passion for the profession are a must for successful dental hygienists. Otherwise, one would not actively pursue new knowledge, which is essential in an industry that is always changing.
“Lifelong learning is also very important for professional and personal growth,” Lynn adds.
Dental Hygienist Job Opportunities
“Although dental hygiene is very competitive,” says Lynn, “if you are confident in your skill and abilities and knowledge, you should be fairly successful in moving forward.”
Advice for Prospective Dental Hygienists
“Be passionate about your profession and the people you treat,” Lynn advises. “Recognize that you make a daily impact on the lives of the patients you serve, whether they realize it or not.”
“Never stop your quest to improve your skills and expand your knowledge base,” Lynn adds.