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Questions to Ask Mentors to Help Grow Your Dental Hygiene Career

Dec 21, 2016 

Author: Susanna Scherer RDH

A successful mentor relationship is built upon open communication. And while it's easy to fall into a habit of talking to a mentor when you need to vent about your frustrations, connecting on a regular basis and asking questions beyond the vent sessions will help you grow professionally. Questions to ask mentors can include advice on job location, furthering your education or career goals.

Here are some ideas to get you on the right path to growing your mentor-mentee relationship and your career.

Location, Location, Location

There are many stories out there about dental hygienists working in less-than-ideal office settings. Perhaps the schedule is always in disarray or your team members are difficult to get along with. Someone who understands the demands and responsibilities required of a dental hygienist can help you weigh the pros and cons of your job location. Your mentor may have worked in a similar office during her career and have valuable insight.

Some questions to talk through with your mentor include:

  • Is my stress self-induced?
  • Is it worth it to continue working in the stressful environment?
  • Am I compensated fairly for my work?
  • How are the ethics in the office?
  • Are there other concerns about working in this location?


Early on in your dental hygiene career, you may not see yourself doing anything beyond clinical hygiene. There may come a time when you realize you would like to explore options beyond the clinical setting. Many hygienists have an associate degree. Without furthering your education, though, your options for advancement will be limited. A mentor can talk you through the process of returning to school. Questions to ask mentors may include:

  • When did you complete your bachelor's degree?
  • How long did it take you?
  • Do you get your degree in the classroom or online?
  • Did you practice dental hygiene while getting your degree?
  • What opportunities do you gain from furthering your education?
  • Is there a benefit for a dental hygienist to go even further and get a master's degree?

Career Goals

It's a good thing to dream! Wanting more than what you already know and do, day in and day out, will allow you to grow professionally and personally. Your dream may include a different career path, such as one outlined by the American Dental Hygienists' Association. Do you desire to become a clinical educator, work in the corporate world, serve in the public health forum or conduct research? A mentor is someone who will dream with you! She will help guide you toward your goals. Here are some questions you could ask your mentor about your career goals:

  • What are the different career paths for a dental hygienist beyond the clinical setting?
  • What is your dream job?
  • How did you attain your current role?
  • What steps do I need to take to achieve my career goal?


  • Ask questions to help you grow professionally and personally.
  • Explore career options beyond the clinical setting with your mentor's guidance.
  • Listen to your mentor's personal experience to help guide you in your own career goals.

Why It's Valuable

Asking your mentor questions will help you to grow professionally. Your mentor has walked in your shoes at one time and the experience she can share will help guide you in your profession.

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