1) Your name, program, thesis title.
Christine M Clowe, Master of Science in Dental Hygiene, Thesis title: Relative dentin abrasivity toothpaste survey: Are dental hygienists making evidenced-based recommendations?
2) Please tell me about yourself, why did you pick UT Health San Antonio, and your program.
I am a registered dental hygienist and I am a dental hygiene instructor at Lamar Institute of Technology in Beaumont, Texas. I am married and have two dogs. I chose UT San Antonio because they offer a rigorous dental hygiene master’s degree program. I was also given advice to apply to this program over another one from someone I knew.
3) What has been the highlight of graduate school so far? Have you won any awards or have there been any achievements you’ve been proud of?
I was awarded a general scholarship from the American Dental Hygienist Association Institute of Oral Health this past summer. The highlight of graduate school for me is using what I learn in class and applying it in the clinic while working with students.
4) Please provide a few sentences summarizing your dissertation. What was the experience like for you?
My research study surveyed practicing hygienists both nationally and internationally to determine their knowledge and practice when making toothpaste recommendations for patients who present with exposed dentin (underlying tissue beneath the tooth enamel). My study found there was a knowledge deficit among participants regarding toothpaste abrasivity and education is needed.
The experience has been challenging but in a good way. However, it is very rewarding in the end when you present all of your hard work to your committee. It is pretty amazing how the thesis evolved and changed over the last year and a half, it’s very different from how I started out.
5) Why are you passionate about your research topic? How did you first become interested in it?
I first became interested in the topic of toothpaste abrasivity when I noticed several new toothpastes were coming out on the market. I was skeptical of their claims and wanted to know more about them. Pretty soon I was calling companies asking about the ingredients.
6) What’s next?
In the next year, I plan to work with my committee chair to try and turn my research into a continuing education course for dental hygienists. My ultimate plan is to teach full-time at a university teaching dental hygiene.
7) Any advice for your fellow graduate students?
One thing I found helpful was, on days that you don’t feel like writing (and I have had many!), make yourself get something on paper anyway. Even if it is just bullet points of ideas, fragments of sentences, or questions you want answered, it is all progress! When you come back to it later, you will realize that some of it was actually useful! I also tried to not go more than a couple of days without working on it, that way my mind didn’t lose track of what I was doing!