Dental Hygiene in a Non Traditional Setting

There was so many amazing dental hygienists in Utah doing amazing things. One of them is Heidi Gardiner from Forefront Dental Hygiene.

She shares her experience of starting her own business treating an underserved population right here in our own state, and how working with ADHA members inspired her to start.

"The need for our seniors to have access to quality dental hygiene care was brought to light through working as an RDH in private practice for the past 15 years. I have had the privilege to provide dental hygiene care to some of the same patients for the past 15 years at the same private dental practice. During the years of private practice, I have seen the rapid decline in oral health of some of my senior patients as they become residents in assisted care facilities. I knew I had the education, experience and skill to make a difference for this population.

My first experience of learning how to provide care for this population was by working with my friend and former dental hygiene colleague, Staci Stout. She started a project, with the help of a Wrigley grant, in an assisted living facility in Lehi where I was able to join in and provide dental hygiene care. This nontraditional delivery of dental hygiene care was made possible in Utah through the UDHA in the passing of SB177.

This desire to serve this population better is what led me to create Forefront Dental Hygiene a mobile dental hygiene business that provides care for those who do not have direct access to oral care. I am independent as I provide care to each facility. These services are funded by the Wrigley Grant, volunteered time/donated supplies, and through those who have private dental insurance.

If someone else is interested in working in an alternative setting, I would first suggest that you have a passion to serve your target population. This type of nontraditional dental hygiene care is hard work physically and emotionally. But the reward is knowing that I made a difference in the quality of life for someone who is approaching their end of life.

You need to have a collaborating dentist, extended liability insurance, set up an LLC, a business license, marketing tools, portable equipment, and lots of patience to acquire patients."

To chat more with Heidi, check out Forefront Dental Hygiene on Facebook.