By Toni Meyekord BS, RDH - March 7th, 2023

Women in Dentistry
Toni Meyerkord BS, RDH

While some dental hygienists are finding ways to get out of the profession, I continue to seek ways to stay engaged in it.

Growing up, the world around me screamed that I should be nothing, that I should want nothing, and to just be satisfied in a lower economic status. I could not go “gently into that good night,” without a good fight.

After gaining my license in 2001, I promised myself that I would figure out how to contribute to society in positive ways. I recall getting my first dental hygiene check and crying because I had never seen that much money in my life and knew that my sons and I were going to, finally, be okay. It was only one week’s pay, but I had such the greatest feeling of peace and relief at the same time.

Dental hygiene created the best-case scenario for me to pull myself out of poverty and thrive as a woman.

Dental hygiene has given opportunities to serve people and communities in ways that I could not have imagined. It has opened doors for me to volunteer time and educate high-risk, low-income pregnant women about the importance of dental care while pregnant, along with going into local high schools to encourage at-risk students to consider dentistry and dental hygiene as career choices. Representation matters.

Dental hygiene has given so much, contributing to my well-being and my level of gratitude is immeasurable. I am so proud to be part of a profession that literally changed the trajectory of my life.

Toni Meyekord, BS, RDH

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