Submitted by Christine Whelan
Aug 5th, 2021 VOL. 2 ISSUE 25
Tiffany Hercules has found her passion. She is on a mission to bring comfort to people during a time when people are not always comfortable. Tiffany is an Independent Registered Dental Hygienist.”
Tiffany explained, this requires so many years, so many hours of work as a Dental Hygienist. “And then I had to apply to become Independent, which means I’m allowed to work without a dentist. When the dentist takes a look at the whole mouth and decides what needs to happen, he relays that to the Dental Hygienist. That’s called an order. I do not need that. I can work on my own.” Tiffany has 10 years of experience in total.
The 35-years-old was born in Fort Erie. When talking about her hometown community members, Tiffany shared with great gratitude, “They’ve been so wonderful. I’ve grown up here. I worked at M&J’s for 20 years. I just stopped working there last month. They become you. They’re who you are. They raised me. And they still do. Now my community is helping to raise my children.” Tiffany and her husband, Jamie, have three kids: Julian 8, Gabriel 7, and Leo 5.
“I’m so lucky to be able to live somewhere where I know everybody and they know me. It’s what a community is.” And now Hercules is giving back to that community.
On Her Own, Comforting Her Community
“I have a mobile office that I take to people’s homes. I also have a small office that we’ve built in our home. I realized that to properly sterilize everything, I needed my own space. It’s got its own door. It’s not a part of the house at all. It’s very private.”
Tiffany does take insurance. It’s the same as if at the dentist’s office.
“I wasn’t sure how the in-home office was going to work but I’ve actually had a little bit more success with the office than with the mobile service.” She added she was quite busy during July.
“I see a lot of kids. Often there are siblings. I let the sibling and the parents come in to sit in the room.”
When talking about times when people need extra help, like after having surgery. “I don’t have to be the permanent hygienist. I can be their interim service for that time they can’t get around. I go to them.”
Hercules is still working at her regular job. “So, I’m trying to balance everything and do everything well.”
She explained, “I’ve been working with the dentist, Dr. Schneider, in Ridgeway for the last six and a half years. He’s had 40 years of experience. He’s been a huge asset to me going on my own because I get to learn from all those years of experience. It’s a huge part of my confidence.” Tiffany feels very lucky to be able to work with the dentist.
She shared some stories and examples of the different skills and awareness that she has learned from Dr. Schneider over the years.
Tiffany works at Ridgeway dentist’s office, now called Dominion Dental, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and then in her office Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; Sundays if needed.
“When I make appointments, I try to make them when Jamie will be home to be with the kids.” She has other childcare options in case there is a need, so she can maintain flexibility for her services.
“Dentists are so much different now than in the past.” Hercules described the modern-day experience at the dentist’s office. “Having a hygienist in the room is so important now. It provides a softer side to the visit.” She talked about having fun with kids and enjoying talk with the adults.
Dealing with Patients’ Anxieties
“They share their past traumatic experiences. And they don’t get rid of those so I just have to be aware that not everyone has had positive, past experiences at the dentist. And I just kind of go with the flow.”
She continued, “We joke that my chair is a therapist’s chair. Once they lay back, everything comes out. And they talk about anything. It doesn’t have to be about a dental experience. It can be about whatever’s going on in their lives. And then they feel more comfortable. I’m not just a hygienist anymore. I’m a good friend. Whatever works for them.”
Tiffany shared a story about a new patient who is three years old and has never been to the dentist. “I’m going to her house so it’s more comfortable. And if we get something done, we do. If we don’t, no big deal. She got to sit in the chair. We got to go over the different tools I use. That’s it. It’s not stressful. It’s not supposed to be. I think that’s a great part of what I get to do, as a mobile hygienist. I can come into their home, into their comfort zone.”
This Past Year
“Especially with COVID, people have not been comfortable going to the doctor’s office or going to the dentist. They get nervous. I think providing this service during this uncertain time helps to bring down the nerves.”
About working at the dentist’s office, “I think we were always prepared for anything. At a dentist’s office, we always have a gold standard, to clean things as if there is a communicable disease. We do the same thing as before. We just now have a HEPA filter going all the time. That’s just extra precaution. I do the same precautions in my office and in someone else’s home as I would do in the dentist’s office. It’s all streamlined.”
Looking To The Future
“This was my plan in the beginning. I’m hoping to reach elderly people.” She talked about how, with the disabilities and special needs, her services are a good fit. She takes extra time. “And they don’t have to go into an office. They don’t have to worry about arranging a ride. I will come to them.”
Tiffany added that she is flexible. “If they want to come in the morning, no problem. If in the evening, no problem. “It’s about their schedule.
“I check dentures. I would do an oral check, make sure the dentures are ok. I can’t do anything with them but I can check to make sure everything is ok and they are comfortable. If there’s an issue, I can make sure they get care, like a denturist.”
“I feel so lucky to be able to do what I do and have found something that works for my family. I don’t think I could do this without Jamie. He’s been so supportive and is a huge help with the kids.”
Tiffany says she caters to families with busy schedules, people with anxieties towards going to the dentist, and those with limitations. “It’s about educating people and helping them feel comfortable.”
You can learn more about Tiffany Hercules, Independent Register Dental Hygienist, as well as contact her by going to her website: www.niagaramobiledentalhygienist.com
Photos provided by Tiffany Hercules