I was the youngest of seven children and very much a latch key kid, being raised by a single parent. We moved around a lot in my adolescence years (enough to write a book about) and finally settled in Oregon, Illinois my seventh grade year. I graduated from Oregon High School in 1993.
My first actual dental experience didn't happen until 1993 when I joined the United States Air Force.
It was mandatory you got your teeth cleaned, at least, once a year. I had no idea that the recommendation was to get your teeth cleaned and examined every 6 months.
I struggled with thumb sucking, so teeth talk was part of my childhood but not in a good way. I was nicknamed The Beaver because of my buck teeth. It just became who I was and my family and close friends still call me, The Beav, to this day.
My curiosity about teeth grew and grew over the years because of that buck tooth smile. I never had any treatment to fix my broken smile, but yet my teeth turned out perfectly straight. How could this be? That question drew me into wanting to understand anything and everything about teeth.
THE NEXT BIG THING
After 5 years of service, I separated from the Air Force in 1998 to pursue a career in the dental field. I became a certified dental assistant in 1999 and worked along side the dentist by day and took prerequisites at a local college at night for dental hygiene school.
I knew I had made the right decision because my interest grew and grew over those first years of assisting. I was completely fascinated by the disease process of the teeth and gums. I couldn't read enough or ask enough questions of how and why what we were treating happened in the first place.
I was then accepted to Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, where I earned my degree in dental hygiene.
I worked in private practice for the first fourteen years of my hygiene career, treating both adults and children.
I was proud of being a hygienist, but wasn't excited or content. I knew there was something more and I had a far greater purpose.
In 2015 my true love for dental hygiene was fulfilled when I started to work in the schools treating underprivileged kids.
We provide exams, cleanings, sealants, and fluoride treatments.
But, most importantly, we educate on good oral hygiene habits to prevent disease and talk about good nutrition not only for our teeth, but also for our bodies.
DENTAL DECAY IS THE WORLD'S #1 MOST CHRONIC DISEASE IN BOTH ADULTS & CHILDREN AND IS 100% PREVENTABLE
EDUCATE and SERVE
Teaching preschoolers how to properly brush and floss their teeth
Serving the Illinois Mission Of Mercy and making new friends in Springfield, IL
Providing free dental treatment to veterans, uninsured, underinsured and low-income families or anyone else who needs care and can't afford it
In a local store answering dental questions, giving product recommendations, and educating on proper dental care
Teaching students about the effects of the acid in plaque on the enamel and how a cavity starts