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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Aug 7, 2019

Our monthly student roundtable discussion episodes are dedicated to help you navigate the at-times turbulent waters from graduation to internship to full employment in the hygienist industry. This month, we’ve invited on two hygienists who regularly go on mission trips to bring dental care to the less fortunate throughout the world.

Mary Jensen (previously heard in ATOTH 78) works as a dental hygienist for HyLyfe, LLC in the Greater Chicago Area and is Alliance for Smiles’ lead hygienist, mentoring the dental professionals and students who go on these mission trips. Dorothy Ferreira has been practising dental hygiene for over three decades and is a volunteer hygienist for Alliance for Smiles and has 17 mission trips under her belt, with her 18th coming up this fall. 

In this episode, Mary and Dorothy discuss their personal histories with charitable dentistry, explain how to best go about funding and preparing for these mission trips, and relate some of their favorite experiences.



Interview starts: 3:07

- How Mary and Dorothy got involved in mission trip work and why Mary views dental hygiene techniques as “portable.”

- How dental hygienists on mission trips overcome the language barrier, and the touching bonds they form in the process.

- Our guests’ tips for vetting the different organizations that offer mission trip opportunities.

- Why time zone can be a major factor in how well one may adjust to a mission trip.

- The reason a little bit of dental hygiene education can go a long way in more remote communities.

- What Dorothy and Mary think you should be sure to pack for a mission trip, and other helpful preparation tips.

- How you can go about securing funding for your mission trips.



“It’s life-changing for the child, but it’s life-changing for the volunteer as well.”

“Speaking to someone firsthand, I think, is way better than just looking at their website.”

“This individual has never been in the dental chair... You have to show, tell, do every step of the way.”

“In this day and age, people want to feel that they’re going somewhere where there’s care.”  

“When I’m on a mission, I’m an ambassador for the organization, I’m an ambassador for the United States and I’m an ambassador for the dental hygienists of the world.”



Mary’s email:

Dorothy’s email: 


Thank you to Paradise Dental Technologies aka PDT for providing sponsorship for this episode!

Be sure to thank the sponsor for this episode by heading over to and picking up a new instrument or telling them thank you in person at one of the conferences!

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