Employee Spotlight: Dominique Szach, Director of Dental Hygiene

Dominique Szach has always known the power of a smile. "A smile can change your day, even if it is from a stranger." But Szach knows some people are not happy with their mouth and teeth, making it harder for them to share their smile with others. "I always wanted to be the person that could make that better for them and make it a good experience."

That inspired her to pursue a career as a dental hygienist, following nursing school and completion of a master's degree in public health. Once she entered the hygienist program, Szach knew she was exactly where she was meant to be.

After graduating, Szach worked at a private practice in the Tucson, Arizona region. A friend of hers who was a hygienist for a nearby Benevis-supported practice connected Szach with a part-time role at Dorsett Dentistry & Braces. When a full-time position opened up at their East Tucson office, Szach made the transition and hasn't looked back since. She supports the company's mission to provide care to underserved patients, with a focus on children and their families. More than 80% of patients served by Benevis practices are covered by Medicaid or CHIP.

"A lot of other practices don't see Medicare and Medicaid patients because the reimbursement rate is so low. There are children and adults who can't get the care that they're wanting," Szach said. "We can see these patients. A lot of them are just so excited to be able to have their teeth cleaned because they can't find anywhere else to do it. That's what makes this company stand out. We're not in it for the money. We want that community to know that we're here for them and that we want them to have a pretty smile and not be in pain. We want them to be able to trust that we're going to take care of them no matter what their insurance is."

Szach has served as a dental hygienist at Benevis the last five years and about a year ago, moved into a leadership role as director of dental hygiene for the entire organization serving as a voice for hygienists at the company's more than 100 offices across 13 states and Washington, D.C. "I could never see myself doing anything else. I absolutely love being the voice for the hygienists and them knowing that I am here for them, and I am fighting for them."

For instance, Szach is able to advocate for the hygienists' broad roles and responsibilities. "Hygienists are providers. They are not support staff. Hygienists can see their own patients and in certain states, they can even open their own practices. I think that is overlooked sometimes," Szach said. "I always tell my patients that hygienists are the experts with soft tissue and dentists are experts with hard tissue. We both have roles to play in overall oral health."

With a longtime dream of becoming a dental hygienist realized, Szach is seeing the results from that career goal in the patients she serves. In Arizona, many families are Spanish speaking. While Szach knows some of the language, it's not always enough to fully communicate. A Spanish-speaking mother and her three children came to Szach for care. "Because of my facial expressions and the way that I was with them, the mom came up to me and rubbed my back. Because we still communicated, just in a different way. I think that is what makes this job amazing. Even if you don't speak the same language, you can still show patients and parents that you appreciate them."

Szach loves being a hygienist so much that she's become licensed in most of the states where Benevis has office locations. That way when she's on the road visiting the other practices for her leadership role, she can see patients and practice leadership by example. "When I'm with the other hygienists, I will work beside them. I don't want them to feel like I'm barking orders or asking them to do something I wouldn't do; no, I'm here, and we are going to do this together."

To learn more about starting a meaningful oral healthcare career at Benevis please click here or read inspiring care team dental spotlights by clicking here.