Grace Series, Healing Grace

Talk with a Dental Hygienist & Mom

Dental HygienistQ & A: Laura Flowers

Thank you for joining me on your lunch break, Laura. Anna Christine Boulier looks up from her hot chocolate to smile at her friend, wearing scrubs because she’s on a break from her job as a dental hygienist.

*Laura Flowers, young, single mom of adorable fifth-grader, slides into a seat at the local coffee shop in Cartersville.

LF: It’s been forever since we chatted. I was happy for the excuse to grab a cup of something decadent. With a growing boy, I don’t splurge very often. *She’s clutching a small cup of a Frappuccino that looks delicious.

ACB: What do you splurge on then?

LF: Bath stuff, salts, scrubs, candles, anything to make the lovely master bath in my home feel a little like a spa after a long day at work.

ACB: I know you have a career as a dental hygienist. Have you always wanted a career in dentistry?

LF: *Laughs at me. Don’t make that face. I know your opinion of my profession as a dental hygienist.

ACB: *Blushes. Nothing personal. Just bad past experiences.

LF: Actually, I wanted to be a million things growing up. All I really knew about my career was I didn’t want to be a teacher like my parents. I wanted something different. *Her voice trails off and she seems a million miles away.

ACB: So, how did becoming a dental hygienist come about?

LF: When my husband was away on tour, I knew I wanted to have a career where I could help support my son and do something to help people. I wanted to make a difference.

ACB: Your husband was in the Army, correct?

LF: *Ducks her head to hide a frown. Yes, he was killed in action a few years ago.

ACB: I’m so sorry. *Friends for years, ACB hates all the pain her friend has gone through at a young age widowed in her twenties.

LF: It’s okay. *Heaving a big sigh. I’m just glad I had a job I could support my son with.

ACB: God’s timing.

LF: *Nodding. I had just finished my degree and had gotten my job when Blake was killed. We were living up North, but after the funeral, I moved my son, Brian, back down to Cartersville to be near my family. I’d missed them a lot.

ACB: *Can see she’s upset and turns the subject back to her career. What’s your favorite thing about your job?

LF: *Cornflower blue eyes bright with tears. I love helping people. So many of my patients don’t know good hygiene keeps you from getting very sick. I like knowing I’m doing something to help make people healthier and thus happier.

ACB: And how do you handle the patients who are more umm… like me, afraid of the dentist?

LF: *Laughing. I try to make them as comfortable as possible, tell them exactly what I’m doing and why. It helps keeps them calm if they know I know they’re scared and want to make this a good experience.

ACB: Any crazy horror stories?

LF: You mean like the ones you’ve told me about you? Screaming and crying so much, everyone in the waiting room leaves or refusing to open your mouth and having to come in for a second try?

ACB: Yeah, like those. *Smiling

LF: No, most of the patients I see haven’t had your traumatizing experience for which I’m grateful. It’s usually only little kids who’ve never been to the dentist before who are scared but I enjoy them the most because you get to set up that first experience to make sure it’s good for the rest of their lives.

ACB: Training early is key.

LF: Yes, and I love kids.

ACB: What’s your least favorite?

LF: The few who are afraid and I can’t change their experiences.

ACB: Tell me a funny story about your job.

LF: I had this little girl whose tooth fell out in my hand. I thought she would be upset but she looked up at me with the biggest green eyes and asked if I was best friends with the tooth fairy. dental hygienist

ACB: What did you say?

LF: We were BFFs of course. I do work in dentistry and we’re tight, the tooth fairy and I.

ACB:  *Laughing with her friend. If you could only wear one pair of scrubs for the rest of your career what would they be?

LF: *Giggling. I have these teal ones with dancing teeth and toothbrushes Brian bought me for Mother’s Day a few years ago. They’re my favorite color and I love that he picked them out for me. dental hygienist

ACB: Is Brian a good flosser?

LF: Good for his age. I still remind him a million times in the evenings, especially.

ACB: Any tips for parents?

LF: *Pauses, thinking. Two tips: You still need to watch them after they start brushing and flossing for themselves.

ACB: Seems like a smart idea.

LF: Brian didn’t brush long enough unless I was with him which leads to my second tip, kids learn from their parents. If you take good care of your teeth, they’ll see that it’s a priority for you and grow up to make it a priority for themselves. When we lived up North, there was only one bathroom. We often brushed our teeth together, especially once he was brushing on his own. He knew to keep brushing until I stopped and it helped.

ACB: Well, I hope someday I get to teach my kids the importance of brushing and will make sure they come to see you for that great first experience.

LF: I’d love that. *She looks down at her watch. I need to scoot. I’ve got to get back to my patients and then pick up Brian from my grandparents.

ACB: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about dentistry.

LF: I know it’s not your favorite subject but I’m always glad to help.

ACB: Say hi to Brian for me.

LF: *Standing up. Will do!

Check out more of Laura Flower’s story in Healing Grace. There’s a lot more she DIDN’T mention in this little interview.

Healing Grace, Book Five, now available.

Until next time, may God’s grace surround you,