Local dental hygienists are facing financial struggles as COVID-19 continues to affect the economy and risks endangering their lives daily.
Haley Wilson is a dental hygienist in Waxahachie at Ellis County Family Dentistry. She has experienced first hand the financial effects of the current pandemic.
"Dr. Atkins is the owner, he is a great dentist and boss! He truly cares about his employees and wanted to do what would be best for us. The ultimate decision was to furlough the employees until we can safely see patients again," Wilson shared. "Obviously, unemployment does not cover your full pay but it does help tremendously. I also have two boys, ages five and three and in order to keep their spot at their daycare I was still having to pay half their tuition. However, we just withdrew them due to the finances."
In the dental offices, there have also been shortages of protective equipment.
Stephanie Raymond, who works in the Mckinney/ Plano area, shared the struggles that come with not being able to work from home. As a Dental Hygienist, Raymond runs the risks of contamination of saliva during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"A lot of these offices are giving their supplies to the medical staff and these offices are going to be limited in that fashion. It’s also a double-edged sword because it’s great to take us out of the possibility and the frontlines of being right there in someone's space with the contaminated saliva and the aerospace, etc.," Raymond explained. "So we’re not getting contaminated, but then also limiting everyone's hours goes back to the financial part and then also the health of everyone taking it home to their families. So then all of that becomes worrisome as well."
Additionally, many hygienists are unaware if they will be able to go back to their position.
"I am a PRN hygienist so I work as needed. With these offices having to shut down because of the absolute possibility of spreading the virus more, that’s causing all of the dental staff period to losing hours, losing positions," Raymond said. "Some are having to be laid off. The dentist is trying to best prepare them for what needs to happen because they’re trying to find some way to pay them."
For an additional income, Wilson and Raymond are part-time brand ambassadors for the company BURST Oral Care. According to their page, "BURST has one simple aim: to make sonic oral care affordable and available to everyone, which it achieves through a direct ship subscription model. With the help of the dental community, BURST crafted an incredible sonic toothbrush that boasts charcoal nano-particle embedded bristles, 33,000 sonic vibrations and an industry leading lithium ion battery that lasts for four weeks on just one charge."
"We are hopeful that once this is over we can get our spot back. Have I found myself working less? Yes and no," Wilson continued. "I am working less as a hygienist but am working so much harder at being a mom, teacher, wife, chef and housekeeper. Of course, financial burdens will happen to everyone during this time. BURST is my only other source of income and every little bit is greatly appreciated during these trying times!"
*The Waxahachie Daily Light would like to clarify information contained in this story that appeared in the weekend edition. Dr. Atkins is not affiliated with the BURST company and does not endorse the brand in any way.