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Advocating for oral health and empowering dental hygienists

Michelle MacLean’s journey from dental assistant to advocate for dental hygiene epitomizes dedication and passion in the dental field. Her personal experiences and commitment to empowering colleagues drive her to bridge perspectives, elevate continuing education, and advocate for personalized patient care. Michelle’s vision for standardized use of guidelines promises to revolutionize the industry, fueled by her infectious passion for improving oral health outcomes. Join her in championing excellence and transformation in dental care

Michelle MacLean started her career as a dental assistant at a pediatric practice in New Orleans, Louisiana. Initially she was interested in becoming a dentist, however, she chose to go to dental hygiene school in Georgia and graduated in 2017. Since then she has gained experience in geriatrics due to the demographics in her community. In her patient care, there are times she is only able to do palliative care. However, there are other patients only now learning how to properly care for their teeth.

The past and the present

What motivated her to enter the dental field was her previous personal experiences of needing dental care. She had her dental treatment in a school setting and found it interesting to listen to the students and instructors discuss the care that she needed. She thinks that sparked an interest within her to want to help others through dentistry.

Forging ahead

Michelle is interested in how RDH Connect can build a bridge between different hygienists who may have different perspectives or techniques that can help their colleagues. She is excited about serving as a continuing education speaker more frequently. Michelle finds fulfillment in creating courses that speak to the heart of the dental community and empower professionals. Specifically, she loves speaking about the instruments that are available to dental hygienists to help us to find our perfect fit. Her passion lies in helping hygienists find instruments that allow them to address their most common problem areas.

Michelle prioritizes finding methods to aid her patients in making the connection between their oral health and their systemic health. By discovering her patients’ motivating factors, she is able to invoke their values to help them prioritize their oral health. This open communication builds connections between Michelle and her patients. She advocates for adequate time for each hygiene care appointment so she is able to evoke the behavior changes necessary to support her patients’ overall and oral health.

Michelle’s vision for the future

She advises future hygienists to decide what they want from their careers and to decide what is sustainable for them personally in regard to the pace of hygiene they seek to practice. She also believes in the power of hygienists advocating for themselves and being willing to leave environments that are unsupportive, especially when necessary changes to work atmosphere and policies are not being made.

Michelle aims to work toward the standardized application of the American Academy of Periodontology’s guidelines across the industry. She aspires to become involved in the organization to help create videos and reference worksheets in an effort to streamline the use of the guidelines for easy understanding and compliance. Michelle’s passion for the industry and helping others is infectious and inspires us to do more to help our colleagues and our patients.

Learn more about Michelle MacLean and find her published articles by visiting her profile.

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Kari Carter-Cherelus

Kari Carter-Cherelus RDH, DA is an internationally known public speaker, consultant, author, a writer, and a clinician with 25 years in the dental industry. She authored the book The Ultimate Guide for Dental Hygienist Burnout to help dental hygienists in all stages of their career. She uses her platform as Founder of KMC Strategic Solutions to help improve the work culture in teams and organizations as well as to coach individuals.



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