A Different Path into a Healthcare Career
You can learn a lot about a person’s health from their mouth. By examining the gums, teeth and tongue, you can determine if someone has gum disease or shows early signs of oral cancer, if they have diabetes or other diseases.
More than ever before, health professionals, including primary care physicians, are realizing the potential to integrate dentistry and dental hygiene into patient care in the hope of preventing and treating disease.
Lindsay Alvarez dreams of one day using her expertise in dental hygiene to join one such integrated medicine team — a dream that is ever closer to becoming reality, thanks to her dental hygiene degrees from Community College of Denver (CCD).
Getting into Community College of Denver
In her home state of Arizona, Lindsay was working her way through pre-requisites for nursing school while waiting tables at a restaurant. One day, a customer asked about her career ambitions, then offered her a job in his dental office, where he also performed oral surgery.
Lindsay took the job and fell in love with the work.
“Interacting with patients is what mostly attracted me to it,” Lindsay says. “I had the ability to reach a lot of people. I could talk to them, get to know them.”
From this experience, Lindsay decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene. She always wanted to live in Colorado because she loved to ski, so she researched Denver schools and found CCD.
“Everything I heard about the program at CCD was really good, like the graduation rates and success rates on board exams,” Lindsay says.
Lindsay moved to Colorado, established residency and then applied for an Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene. After a competitive application process, Lindsay was accepted, based on her grade point average and an intense interview process. She also secured three major scholarships: the Doctor Ron Mahoney Scholarship, the Paige Family Foundation Scholarship and the Excellence Award.
High Employment in Denver for Dental Hygienists
Lindsay completed her associate degree at CCD’s Lowry Campus; her nursing pre-requisites easily transferred over to CCD’s program. Lindsay then completed her Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene entirely online.
“A bachelors will allow me other opportunities outside of clinical hygiene,” Lindsay says. “I graduated with 24 students; every single one of us got our pick of jobs.”
Lindsay currently works at Biotic Breath in Denver. She plans to work as a clinical hygienist for three to five years before pursuing her dream of working in integrated health.
“I feel like I got a great education at CCD,” Lindsay says. “If dental hygiene is what you want to do, you will 100 percent be able to do that after graduation.”