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dental careers and practice transitions dental careers and practice transitions

How balancing focus with flexibility paid off in one hygienist’s career journey.

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Sara Berken is one of those lucky people who figured out what her passion was early on: “I was one of the weird kids who actually liked going to dentist and getting their teeth cleaned as a child. I had a great dentist and hygienist growing up, took an interest in the dental field probably around middle school, and by high school I had done my research and made up my mind.”

Once she knew what she wanted, Sara got to work. “I graduated hygiene school in 2008 and my first job was for a private practice in a very small town in Wisconsin. I was initially hired as an assistant while I waited for my licensure to be finalized, and then I moved into hygiene.” It was a very fast-paced setting, but just as she expected, Sara loved it. “The thing I enjoy most about being a hygienist is knowing that I’m providing the best possible care for all of my patients–that they leave with the tools and knowledge to maintain not only optimal oral health, but full-body health. I also take pride that I am able to give people confidence back in their smiles after a good cleaning.”

After 4.5 years, Sara decided it was time for a change and took a job in insurance as a dental benefits examiner. However, she quickly realized that sitting behind a desk was not for her. “I found myself really missing dental hygiene. That’s when Midwest Dental came into the picture!” A friend of hers was working for the company, which prompted Sara to do a little research of her own. “I found out they were hiring a float position in the area I was from. I knew I wanted to get back closer to home, so I decided to give it a shot. I spent my first couple months covering about 14 different offices from Fond du Lac to Sturgeon Bay in Wisconsin, and then accepted an offer to split my time between just two of those practices.”

Although she loved her offices, Sara and her family were still about an hour away from her hometown. “When I heard a position was available in our Green Bay-West office, it couldn’t have come at a better time. We just had our son and I knew the move would mean that we could have all of our family close and I would only be five minutes from work.” It was a perfect match! Besides continuing her hygiene work, Sara has also had the opportunity to help support recruiting events, and is the laser safety officer and new hire hygiene trainer for her practice.

Through her various roles with Midwest Dental, Sara has come to appreciate the many pros of working here. “I like that the dentist and hygienist are able to follow their personal dental philosophies and treat patients to the highest standard of care. Each office feels personable and unique in its own way, and patients aren’t treated as just numbers. The benefit of working for Midwest Dental is that they truly invest in their employees, offering the latest and greatest in modern dentistry and always looking for ways to improve in order to provide patients with a great experience.”

Sara’s best advice for new hygienists, or anyone considering a change? “Be free! Go explore the dental world! There is so much out there to experience, so don’t limit your possibilities. I thought general private practice life was going to be enough to satisfy me for the rest of my life but it wasn’t. Midwest Dental has truly been a blessing to me.”

Midwest Dental is now hiring talented and passionate hygienists. Click here to explore our current opportunities.