Tara Brooks plays an active role in the field of dentistry, from being the Dental Hygienist at Maven Dental Invermay to the fun and friendly Tooth Fairy. We borrowed her for a few minutes 'In The Chair' to learn about what inspired her to become a Hygienist and how she's helping make oral health more fun for kids.
What inspired you to become a dental hygienist? Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in dentistry?
I have been interested in the medical industry from a very young age and have always wanted to help people with their health. I particularly like Dentistry because it focuses on the teeth, head and neck, as well as the relationship with the systems of the body, medical conditions and medication interactions.
My childhood Dentist was a really great practitioner and a person who I looked up to. I had a lot of respect and admiration for him and feel this experience definitely influenced me in my career path. I was drawn to the role of Dental Hygienist because it focused on prevention and not the treatment of dental diseases - which, the earlier you pick up dental diseases the better the result.
What's the most rewarding part of your role?
I really enjoy seeing and treating a wide range of people throughout the day. Every one is different, so there is a lot of variety.
I especially enjoy the "before and after" of transforming a smile and to help people feel good about their teeth. When they feel good about their teeth they are more likely to look after them and achieve a great smile.
We hear you're also known as 'Tara the Tooth Fairy'. What does this special role involve?
I love engaging with the community and reaching out to people of all ages. I have recently been out to several childcare facilities dressed as the Tooth Fairy and giving the children an enjoyable and positive experience with the dental industry.
I enjoy getting them to think about not just having good oral health habits but also watching what they eat and drink to avoid needing fillings or more complex dental treatment. It's great to give children a positive dental experience and to build familiarity with dental professionals.
Alongside visits to childcare centres, I enjoy spending time in Aged Care Facilities and helping the elderly and staff members maintain their oral health and general health - educating them on the problems they can face as their oral health deteriorates.
How important is it for young people to learn about their oral health? Do you have any tips for getting kids involved?
It is very important for young people to develop good oral hygiene habits as early as possible. This means they are more likely to look after their teeth and adopt healthy habits of brushing twice daily and flossing daily, instead of having to develop them as new habits as they get older.
I believe the earlier they have good habits the better. It is much easier to maintain good oral health on natural teeth than heavily restored teeth.
Best piece of advice you can offer your patients?
The best piece of advice I can give is to keep looking after your teeth in a fun and positive way. Not just brushing and flossing, but choosing to eat healthy foods and drinks as well.
Your smile is one of the most important aspects of your body and it's great to be proud of it.
The best smile is a natural smile and if you look after your teeth, your children's teeth and even your parents' teeth as they get older, you'll really have something to smile about.
Whether you're due for your 6 monthly clean or after a hygienist to help your kids put the fun back into their oral care routine, book an appointment with our very own Tooth Fairy, Tara, at Maven Dental Invermay.