We’re shining the spotlight on Michelle McPhee, Registered Dental Hygienist at Bayside Dental in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. We discuss her journey in the industry, the importance of educating patients, and how a simple routine oral cancer screening was the most rewarding experience of her career.
Tell us about your career path and what drew you to your role as a Registered Dental Hygienist with Bayside Dental.
I was introduced to dental hygiene while taking another course at Niagara College. After my graduation, I started my hygiene career working in Ontario and then moved back home to Glace Bay, where I worked for a wonderful dentist for over 18 years. My career changed significantly when he partnered with dentalcorp. I now work in a new, beautiful, state-of-the-art clinic with four great hygienists at Bayside Dental, one of six clinics in the Mayflower Dental Group. I've been extremely fortunate to work with excellent dentists, assistants, managers, and administrators. I'm the Clinical Practice Champion (CPC) for Mayflower Dental, and it's an honour to be one of the first CPCs in Canada for dentalcorp.
What experiences stand out so far in your career?
Developing relationships, watching families grow, educating on the importance of the oral-systemic link, and improving my patients' overall health, have all created positive experiences. I love to participate in community events such as Give from the Heart to give back and help less-fortunate individuals with their oral care. Most recently, I saw a longtime patient survive throat cancer because I identified a change in his oral cavity. A simple routine oral cancer screening was one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. I truly give my heart and soul to my patients and always try to provide them with the best dental hygiene experience. Thanks to dentalcorp, my passion for the dental hygiene world is at an all-time high, as they offer a wide range of training and continuing education that will enhance my dental hygiene career.
What is one of your favourite oral care tips you like to share with your patients?
Floss the teeth you want to keep, and regularly visit your dental hygienist for routine hygiene maintenance.
How do you teach patients about the importance of oral care?
Teaching the importance of oral care occurs throughout the entire appointment. I include demonstrations of techniques and aids, scans and media, visual aids, and thorough discussions that help educate each patient. I like talking throughout the entire appointment, whether it's hygiene-related, personal, or simply about the weather.
What do you think is a common dental myth?
The biggest dental myth is that flossing makes your gums bleed. It's not true, so educating my patients about the inflammation process is crucial.
Do you have a favourite patient or practice story?
In January 2022, I was fortunate to be part of the new Bayside clinic. I cried when I saw the clinic for the first time, and I'm so grateful to continue my career in such a beautiful spot! I'm fortunate that both my previous and new patients get to experience it with me.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
I love playing softball, gardening, hiking, swimming, and enjoying my backyard with family and friends. I love my life and profession!