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Jacquelyn Kempker
Professor Hanvey
STACC English 1A
23 February 2016
A Community of Brighter Smiles: Original
Throughout our society, there are various groups of individuals who are connected and
associated together due to a set of criteria that these communities fit collectively. But how do we
define these communities? And what specific standards do they all meet? According to John
Swales article The Concept of Discourse Community, there are six key aspects that
characterize a group of people as a discourse community. Primarily, a discourse community is a
definitive group made up of individuals who jointly participate in activities and transmit ideas
surrounding a distinct subject matter, topic of concern, or job field. Swales states that these six
facets concurrently establish and define what a discourse community is. The first principle
explains that every discourse community has a universal collection of objectives that each
individual acknowledges. Swales also specifies that these specific communities have various
ways of communicating between one another, and often times, these people have a language that
is limited to varying communities. Discourse communities propagate information and critique
one another using its own structure as a way to do so. They also produce various medians
through which the people within a community can exchange information in order to create
preferred results. Finally, discourse communities have a diverse total of representatives that
range from individuals with little experience to those who can be considered experts.

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Dental hygiene is a community that consists of people that pride themselves in providing
various healthcare services to the patients they serve. These services range from basic cleanings
to extensive dental work. Ultimately, a dental hygiene serves as an essential part of our health
and well being, and is designed to assist alongside dentists in restoring and maintaining proper
dental health. My future career in dental hygiene can be categorized as a discourse community
for multiple reasons, an in multiple ways. Each dental hygienist has come to the general
consensus that the most important aspects of this profession is ensuring the optimal health of all
of the patients. Dental hygienists have also established an effective form of communication by
talking to each other at the office, at school, and also at conferences. These places, suitable for
communication, pave the way for information to exchange hands between various dental
hygienists. They do so by talking to dentists outside their own office, and also by visiting other
offices in order to gain a wide variety of feedback. In the office, dental hygienists can relay
information to their co-workers by recording specific information in patient files, by scheduling
meetings, and by calling each other on the phone. Not only do dental hygienists communicate
through various means and at various locations, they also have their own specific jargon that they
use throughout the profession. This lexis consists of several technical terms such as mandibles,
maxillary teeth, college pliers, bite trays, and so on and so forth. This verbiage is used in a daily
basis, and is used collectively by all of the staff in the dental offices. Finally, there is certainly a
large community of dental hygienists and new interns that are able and willing to come into
different offices very frequently. New people are entering the field of dental hygiene everyday,
which is one of the many qualifications that allows the profession of dental hygiene to be
considered a discourse community.

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When I grow up, I want to be a dental hygienist. I want to work alongside the dentist
who inspired me and pushed me to set my dreams into motion. By definition, dental hygienists
assist the dentist and allow them to work much more efficiently and effectively. It may sound
strange talking about when I grow up, but for me, I still feel like a kid. Although I know that
adulthood has already been put into motion, I cant help but feel a sense of child-like jubilance
when I talk about my aspiration to become a dental hygienist.
I was a child when I first started going to the dentist, and that is where my story first
began. Growing up, I had two wonderful and loving parents who taught me the value of a good
work ethic at a very early age. They taught me the value of integrity, and modeled a vivacious
spirit that was truly unmatched. Naturally, the people I was surrounded by also shared the same
moral fiber, and one in particular was constantly etched in my mind: my dentist. I could never
quite grasp the reasons why people disliked the dentist so much. For me, going to the dentist
meant I would get to visit with a man who was personable and vivacious; just like my parents.
On top of that, he would tell me, Pick whatever you want out of the prize drawer. Then I
would think to myself, Wow! How many times do I get to hear that? The answer was almost
never. What child wouldnt love leaving a place with a bright smile and a few new toys in hand?
At the dentist they knew me by name, and they asked about school or dance, or possibly
my latest achievements. As I grew older, it wasnt so much about picking a princess wand or a
flower ring out of the prize drawer; it was the dedication and passion that I noticed throughout
the office. The dental hygienists smiled constantly not as if to say, Im just doing this because I
dont want to lose my job., but to say instead, I genuinely want to help you, and serve your
needs anyway I can. Dental hygienists did not see chair-side manner as a box they had to check
off to ensure their job security. It was their personal pleasure to get to know their patients on a

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much deeper level. This continually spiked my interest, and I found myself thinking, What an
awesome job, people leave your office smiling a little brighter each and every day.
During middle school, my mothers best friend inspired me to further my pursuit in
becoming a dental hygienist. I had never met anyone who loved life more that Kristine Ryann
did. She had taught me how to stand up to the challenges life throws your way. She taught me
never to be afraid. She was the one who had helped me face my fears of the large waves in the
ocean by teaching me how to body surf. Kristine was my role model, and when I told her that I
wanted to become a dental hygienist just like her, with no questions asked she became my
I shadowed her multiple times in the office where she worked. Finally, I got to work
alongside a woman of outstanding character, while also seeing what my dreams looked like in
reality. I had a chance to get a glimpse of what my future looked like, and it looked very bright.
The puzzle pieces fit, one by one they began to align, and at the end of the day, I loved the
picture they had created.
For me, high school was a time of uncertainty and difficult decisions. They expected you
to pick and plan your life out when I was merely eighteen. When my mothers best friend
Kristine died in September of last year, I knew for certain I wanted to become a dental hygienist.
I wanted to pursue my goals wherever they took me; just like she would have wanted me to do.
All the signs pointed to me becoming a dental hygienist.
I applied to various colleges, got accepted to my schools of choice, but I decided to look
for a way to pursue my dreams without having to go into debt. I looked for community colleges
that had outstanding dental hygiene programs, and I found PCC. During the summer, I got in

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touch with people looking to reach the same goals that I was. Everything finally made sense,
and my aspirations were clear as crystal. I was not afraid to pursue my dreams, because Kristine
always reminded me not to be afraid. I can still hear her voice saying, Do your best and God
will do the rest. I was turning my dreams into a reality with this constant reminder imbedded in
my heart. Kristine inspired me, just like my dentist always did. She reminded me a lot of him,
and they paralleled in various ways. One thing was for certain, in the future I wanted to imitate
both of their work ethics and passions for their careers.
My greatest desire is to work alongside my dentist, Dr. Bigely, where I feel comfortable
and prepared to achieve great things. Dr. Bigely and Kristine Ryann were two essential people in
my life who established and created a passion of my own. They led me to my calling to become
a dental hygienist, and ultimately to pursue those dreams, first at PCC, and finally at USC. No, I
do not think that teeth are the window to the soul or anything like that. I simply feel that when I
grow up, I want to make people smile a little brighter each and every day.
The field of dentistry has not always been an imperative part of health professions. Until
recently, a large part of our history was spent ignoring the crucial aspects of oral hygiene. It was
not until the 1830s when Dr. John M. Harris laid the foundation that deemed dentistry as a
confirmed practice. However, our modern society has embraced the dental field, and credits the
profession as a fundamental portion of our healthcare system. Dental hygienists, in particular,
perform various tasks that ensure the optimal health of their patients. They work under dentists
due to the fact that they are not qualified to make particular decisions. Although they lack
specific licensing, their input is still critical in the job field. This particular community is
structured and organized in a hierarchy that begins with the dentist. Typically, a dentist owns his
or her own practice that deems them as the top tier of this particular industry. Beneath the

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dentist, there are various dental hygienists. They consult the dentist before making diagnostic
decisions and work together in harmony in a sort of dance that is the relationship between the
dentist and the dental hygienist. According to my dentist Dr. Thomas J. Bigely, Dental
hygienists give my job some life. They provide that extra assistance and expertise that are
crucial in this particular field. Dental hygienists, although below a dentist, are often found at
the core of every dental practice. Finally, there are the secretaries. These individuals handle all
of the paper work, patient records, phone appointments, and various other elementary tasks.
From my extensive research, this simple configuration allows for this occupation to run swiftly
and smoothly.
A typical day in the life of a dental hygienist varies from case to case, but many dental
assistants follow a general schedule. Each day, a dental hygienist will receive a patient about
every hour or so according to each appointment and reason for the patients visit. A normal day
will consist of several routine check-ups that occur every six months for a patient. Typically, a
dental hygienist will work about three to four days a week, and sometimes they may work in
several offices as well. Dental assistants complete various tasks that vary from day-to-day.
These jobs include x-rays, teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, impressions, tooth replacements,
and even medical emergencies. Usually, a dental hygienists schedule starts an hour and a half
early because it is essential that a dental hygienist has thoroughly looked over a patients files
before performing any sort of procedures on a patient. Once a dental hygienist is familiar with a
patients charts, they need to disinfect areas such as the x-ray machine, sealants, fluoride tools
and several other instruments. After studying and disinfecting comes good chair-side manner.
This means that a dental assistant needs to know how to make a terrifying trip to the dentist seem
like a simple and easy thing. A dental hygienist typically engages in conversation with a patient

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in order to make them feel more comfortable. According to my dentist, Dr. Bigely, No two
patients are the same, and they should be treated as such. This means that an essential part of
being a dental hygienist is being able to assess each situation with an open mind. Although using
prior knowledge and experience is key, all patients have different oral needs that should be
addressed accordingly. After a dental hygienist has finished his or her procedures on a patient, a
dentist will come in for a final inspection of the patient.
My first artifact is called a college plier. This particular instrument is stainless steel and
has a narrow tip. It has indentations and a flat end that are used for gripping this tool and for
keeping the tool in place while the dental hygienist is working inside a patients mouth. This
particular instrument has a specific job that makes this tool unique and helpful in the field.
The college plier is used in various ways, and for various purposes. First of all, the
college plier acts as a set of two small fingers. In order for a dental assistant to place a crown on
a tooth, this particular instrument is perfect for ensuring that a crown is placed securely on a
tooth. Also, this tool is quite useful for extracting things out of a patients mouth. If a dental
assistant needs to remove a cap on a tooth, or take a tooth out after other processes, this college
plier can work perfectly in those areas.
My second artifact has two parts. It is a mouth mirror, but I have both the stem of the
mouth mirror and the actual mirror attachment itself. The base of the mirror looks like a long
piece of stainless steel, but it acts as a place where the dental assistant can hold the mirror. The
mirror attachment itself is also a stainless steel cone socket. The cone socket refers to the fact
that the mirror is detachable and can be replaced.

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In the field the mirror, when attached, acts as the eyes for a dental hygienist. It allows
for the dental assistant to see in crevices and places that cannot be seen from various positions.
This tool is used in routine check-ups, and also in major procedures. It can see into places that
are almost impossible without this instrument. It also allows for the dental hygienist to ensure
that they are not poking and prodding in places that may harm the patient.
My third artifact is called a cleoid discoid in the dental field. This tool is commonly
known as a scraper, but its technical name is cleoid discoid. This stainless steel instrument has a
rounded end that is flat on both ends of the tool. It has notches on the body of the tool that is
used for better grip for a dental hygienist. The grip pattern on this particular instrument is that of
a chevron pattern. The variations of the lines makes the look of this instrument quite different
from the rest. Not only does the look differ from other tools, it also provides maximum safety
when a dental assistant is using this tool.
The scraper can be used for many things in the field of dental hygiene. First of all, it is
used during the patient check-ups to scrape plaque off of the teeth. It can also be used to see if a
patient has any plaque in possible problem areas. Finally, this tool can be used to help pry off a
crown on a tooth that needs to be replaced. After a dental hygienist has placed a chemical that
softens up the crown and the surrounding area, the dental hygienist can place this tool in-between
the crown and the gum line in order to help with the removal process.
My final artifact is a patient file that I recovered from my dental office. This patient file
has various things inside such as personal information, medical history, and even previous x-rays
dating back to when I was about five years old. These particular files are often handled by the
secretary, but a dental hygienist often puts any new information into the patient files. Patient files

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vary depending on which information you are trying to recover. The file that I retrieved has a
manila folder on the outside that has three colored letters that spell out the first three letters of
my last name. This is for the secretaries convenience when trying to find various patient files.
Inside this manila folder is a form that has personal information such as my height, weight, and
my address. There is also a picture of me at the top of this file that is updated about every two to
three years or so. Although my dental office keeps hard copies of the patient files, most of the
files have been transferred onto a computer. The computer files also keeps track of the same
information along with when my last appointment was.
Patient files are one of the most essential artifacts in the field. Not only do patient files
relay all of the information about a patient to a dental hygienist, but it is a crucial means of
communication. A dentist, dental hygienist and also the secretary have to be on the same page
when it comes to having the same information on a particular patient. Mistakes in this area are
just as essential as when doing procedures. If any of the information is wrong a patient could
receive improper treatment. A patients files tracks their progress and even shows signs of
weakness in an individuals oral care. A dentist can easily pick up where a dental hygienist left
off based on what they record in the patients files. Since much of the files are computerized, the
dentist can simply look at a patients charts on a computer screen and determine what to look for
in a final check-up.
Often times certain flare-ups in the dental community are surprisingly frequent. For
example, if a dental hygienist sees a problem area and records this in a patients file, but then the
dentist does not agree, there may be a red flag that goes up for the dentist. This may be a sign
that the dental assistant is not in sync with the things that a dentist does, or the dental hygienist
may have a conflicting opinion. Either way, these types of problems are usually addressed over a

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brief conversation that usually ends with the dentist having the final say, because the dentist has
more authority. Other problems may arise when a procedure is taking place and the dental
hygienist is not aware of the jargon that is used in an office. Technical terms and language
specific to an office is a crucial part of a dental hygienists job. Without this knowledge,
arguments can happen due to frustration. If a dentist is trying to remove a cap off of a patients
tooth and the dentist says, Hand me the college pliers please. and the dental hygienist does not
know what college pliers are, then the dental hygienist is no longer of assistance to the dentist.
These types of problems are often handled with teaching and experience. Since the language of
an office often varies, it takes time and practice to master this particular skill.
For dental hygienists who are newly entering the field, there are certain hurdles that each
and every dental hygienist has to overcome. When a dental assistant comes into the field, there
are a lot of things they need to be ready to juggle. Those things include knowing the lexis in the
office, learning where tools are in the office, and learning their place in the office. In the office,
communication, in various forms, is absolutely essential. Language is the foundation of
intercommunication between the entire staff, and learning this quickly makes the job for the
newcomers much easier once they have mastered it. For example if a dentist asks a dental
hygienist to mix up poly cement in a bite tray. Knowing the technical terms, acronyms and
shorthand can be an essential part of being successful in this field. Taking the time to grasp this
concept is a make-it or break-it kind of thing in the field of dental hygiene. New dental
hygienists can overcome the issue of learning the language unique to their office by asking for
help and observing often. These two things combined will allow a dental hygienist to love and
learn about the job.

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At the present time, I am putting my plans into action by taking steps such as completing
my undergraduate studies to eventually gain my bachelors degree. I have started my journey to
become a dental hygienist right here at Pasadena City College because they have the dental
program and transfer rate that will allow me to reach my ultimate aspirations. I am completing
various general education classes that will allow me to eventually apply to the dental program
here at PCC. After I have reached these goals, I plan on transferring to USC in order to complete
a four year degree in dentistry. Once I have concluded my studies, I plan on finding a career at
the dental office where my story first began in Whittier. With my degree, I will have all of the
qualifications to not only make executive decisions, but also to open my own practice, if I have a
desire to. Ultimately, the steps I am taking now to reach my goals are there to set me up for the
long term aspirations I have for the future.
Although there is not a rigid structure in becoming a dental hygienist, there are certain
milestones that you can overcome, and directions you should take in order to have a career in the
dental field. First of all, gaining an Undergraduate Degree, such as an associates degree in
science, is one of the major steps in trying to become a dental assistant. Secondly, all dental
hygienists receive what are known as postsecondary credentials from accredited dental hygiene
programs. Finally, a step that particularly applies to those dental assistants who plan of
furthering their career would mean that they plan on earning a Bachelors and even a masters
degree in order to darn higher wages and even teach their field to others.
I feel that the profession gives people confidence and gives them a sense of self-worth. A
major problem encompassing our world today is self image issues. Teenage males and females,
struggle with this in particular as they go through a time in their life where they feel judged by
anyone and everyone around them. By becoming a dental hygienist I hope to aid in this problem

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and provide a solution by providing people with brighter smiles. With a much needed confidence
for this generations teens, I could potentially alter the way individuals view themselves. In doing
so I also hope to empower the youth of our nation to bring about a brighter future for America.

Works Cited

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Bigely,Dr. Thomas J.. Personal Interview. 23 February 2016

Swales, John. ''The Concept of Discourse Community." Genre Analysis: English inAcademic
and Research Settings. Boston: Cambridge UP, 1990.21-32. Print
"The Life of a Dental Hygienist." The Life of a Dental Hygienist. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.