Think Beyond the Prophy: Christie Lincoln, RDH

This month's February Think Beyond the Prophy feature is Christie Lincoln, RDH. February is children's dental health month. There is no better advocate for children than the dental hygienist and particularly the MOMgienist. Take some time to connect and get to know Christie, the owner of the blog Your Smiling Hygienist and co-host of the MOMgienists Podcast. 

She studied at Cape Cod Community College's dental hygiene program and  completed her degree in 2001. She has worked in private practice ever since and has loved every minute of clinical hygiene. Five years after hygiene school she began her journey as a MOMgienist.

One significant highlight of her career is working for a dentist that became more of a mentor than her employer. That dentist entrusted her with investigating and implementing the latest and greatest of dental hygiene.  Christie experienced governing her own dental hygiene practice within the confines of her mentor's business.  She learned the ins and outs of business, marketing/customer relation service and most importantly expanded the overall health aspect of the practice. Her journey in motherhood and dental hygiene has sparked a measure of passion within her as she continues to evolve in our field. 

Read on to learn about this inspiring hygienist!

  1. What are you currently up to?
    So the term MOMgienist has turned into a movement, a podcast. I am a co host, with my good friend and fellow MOMgienist Jasmin, of the MOMgienists podcast. It encompasses everything about being a hygienist and a mom working or staying at home. It covers topics from light hearted conversations about why we love this profession, the struggles of motherhood, and keeping our fellow hygienists informed about relevant topics that may affect a working or stay at home mom. It also brings awareness to the conversations that we will never hear at a CE course or may receive little or no attention in dental hygiene social media groups. And finally we get to talk to other MOMgienists & DADgienists.

  2. Why did you become a dental hygienist?
    For no special reason except freedom to travel. When I submitted my dental hygiene school application, I had just left the island of St. Kitts after living there for 3 months. My vision was to move to different countries and work or temp for 3 months and then travel for following 3 months. I believe I was suffering from a condition called Wanderlust :).

  3. How have you kept your momentum to reach your goals?
    The truth is once I became a dental hygienist, I wanted nothing more than to simply provide the best level of care to the public. I’m pretty stubborn, I never allowed my surroundings to rob me of that. However, now after 16 years in this profession, I find myself with a goal of finding ways to get this profession recognized for all it has to offer.  I keep people who embody what I stand for close; never allowing another person to put out the fire in my heart; joining my professional association and going to CE courses and annual hygiene meetings has helped and let’s not forget about volunteering!

  4. What mentoring moment help shape you to think beyond the prophy?
    That’s hard for me to pinpoint. I tend to be a sponge and try to extrapolate what I can from the interactions I have. I can meet someone for the first time, hear a statement and it have an affect on me thereafter. Maybe it was sitting in an Trisha O'Hehir course soon after graduating hygiene school that stands out the most. She spoke words I didn’t hear in hygiene school, she was approachable and everything she said made sense. She definitely thinks “Beyond the Prophy” and her course ignited the fire in me.

  5. What tips do you have for other dental professionals who want to be entrepreneurs?
    Am I entrepreneur??? LOL! I consider myself an "artrepreneur". I have to see the art in life - even in dental hygiene. So all I can say about that is no matter your business - see the art in it. That way it will be unique to you and you can be confident that even if someone else has the same idea they won’t have your same artistic expression.

  6. How do you maintain the joy in your life?
    Joy is a choice. I’m not perfect at it, but I try to make my inner conversation follow the 80/20 rule. That’s 80% about others (my family takes up a good portion of that) and 20% about me. I believe we should have self-care and awareness that means something different to everyone. When I focus the inner conversation on myself, say 80% of the time, I seem to succumb to negativity and insecurity.

  7. Anything else you would like to add?
    Even though I left my original position as a full-time clinical hygienist to be a stay at home mom, I found the passion and fire for hygiene still burning in my heart. After accepting that I could no longer work in the same way clinically and be a stay at home mom, I found myself wanting to have a say about the dental hygiene profession - from an organic, for lack of a better word,  platform. Your Smiling Hygienist was born. Although it is a website geared towards taking complex topics and simplifying the explanations for the general public, to see what they can gain from the full potential of a hygienist, it has turned into a means of uplifting my fellow RDH sisters (and brothers). It has also opened my eyes to the need of offering support to my fellow future MOM and MOMgienists. My last words and reminders to all readers is to: Be kind, be humble and stay naive about the possibilities.

Contact Christie at [email protected]

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