Teeth cleaning. For some, it can be an anxiety-inducing appointment that rolls around every six months and is to be avoided at all costs, like most dental appointments. When you brush and floss every night, that’s good enough… right? Not exactly. Paige Flowers, Dental Hygienist at Sitzes Family Dental, spends her days teaching her patients why keeping those appointments with a dental hygienist on a regular basis is important for not just oral health, but one’s overall physical health, as well. The manner in which Paige cares for her patients, though, is what makes her truly exceptional at what she does. Her nurturing presence and sweet disposition are why she’s become a favorite in her field and how she keeps patients returning right on schedule.
Paige says the primary objective of her role as a dental hygienist is to provide preventative care and address any issues with oral health before they begin. A dental hygienist has specialized tools to address those hard-to-reach places that can’t be cleaned with a regular toothbrush. Without proper cleaning, buildup begins to occur causing cavities, gum disease, and more problems in the mouth. During a teeth cleaning appointment, Paige also strives to assist patients with preventing other oral health complications. “We are also looking for infection, abnormalities, or oral cancers with an intraoral exam and x-rays,” Paige says. “Oral cancers are actually quite common and, just like with any other cancer, the sooner it’s caught, the more success a patient might have with treatment.” She says the most common misconception many people have about oral health is that the mouth is completely autonomous and has no effect on the rest of the body. “Bacteria and germs in the mouth can spread to the rest of the body,” says Paige. “In fact, anyone who is preparing for an organ transplant has to be seen by a dentist first to verify positive oral health because it can directly affect the outcome of the transplant.” Paige says this is also true in reverse. Patients with other ailments or health issues, like diabetes or heart disease, need to closely monitor their oral health because these maladies could prevent nutrients and blood supply to the mouth causing bacteria to grow.
Now we know why we should keep those cleaning appointments and stop ignoring those reminder texts. But what is it about Paige that makes her patient care so extra special? According to her co-workers, Paige’s constructive interaction with her patients is second to none. Susan Barnett, Registered Dental Assistant at Sitzes Family Dental, describes Paige as friendly, honest, and hard-working, “She cares about everyone,” says Susan. “She is very concerned about her patients and she has wonderful people skills.” Paige says she decided early on in her career the manner in which she would approach patient care. “Most people dread their appointments because they are afraid they are going to be scolded if they haven’t been flossing or brushing properly,” she says. “I’m not going to gripe or fuss at my patients. Going to the dentist is hard enough; I want them to have a positive experience so they will come back.” Paige is diligent in her endeavor to have those patients returning every six months so she can then do her part: monitor their oral health and help them take the steps needed to prevent larger issues.
Dr. Lester Sitzes, DDS and proprietor of Sitzes Family Dental, has high praise for Paige’s expertise and capabilities. Dentists and dental hygienists must have a solid partnership in order to provide the best possible care for their patients. “You have to believe in each other,” he says. “We work really well together and I have confidence in her abilities to diagnose.” In 2018, Paige won Best Dental Hygienist in the Reader’s Choice Awards for Hempstead County. Yet, Paige is quick to give credit to the entire team and says success would not be possible without them. “I could not do my job without my co-workers!” she exclaims whole-heartedly. “They take care of me and handle all the day-to-day necessities so I can focus on the patient.”
When asked what led her to choose dental hygiene for her career path, Paige simply replies, “I want to help people feel good about themselves.” She further elaborates by saying, “I love it when someone leaves an appointment and feels more comfortable about smiling.” Paige’s warmth and kindness, as well as her steadfast dedication to every task she performs, are evident in all areas of her life. Husband Clay describes Paige as outgoing, friendly, and very hard-working. “She is so good with people,” he says. “She’s caring and giving with an outgoing personality. She is a likeable person who works hard at everything she does.” Outside of work, Paige spends much of her time with Clay and their three children, Ella, 11, Maddox, 2, and Riggs, 5 months. They enjoy participating in Spring Hill school sports activities, events with their church, Hope Church of Christ, camping at the lake, and all things Razorback.
Even though she is a busy mom of three and a medical professional with a full schedule, her energy and patience seem endless since she always has a smile for each patient who walks in the door. Paige’s appealing charm and gracious nature cultivate a soothing atmosphere for patients which instantly puts them at ease. Additionally, her expert knowledge and skill in preventative oral health care allow them to know they are in good hands with Paige at the helm. The residents of Hope and Hempstead County are fortunate to have citizen Paige Flowers serving the community which is why she is this week’s SWARK.Today Citizen Spotlight.
SWARK.Today’s Citizen Spotlight is for recognizing those whose dedication and knowledge are an essential part of our community and industry. Often, those roles behind the scenes are equally as valuable, yet not common knowledge. To achieve success, every job is necessary and every person’s role is critical. If you know of someone who should be nominated for a Citizen Spotlight, send an email to email@example.com with the person’s name and a brief description of what he or she does, we would love to talk with them!
Thanks to Paige and the crew at Sitzes Family Dental for inviting SWARK.Today to observe and learn about what you do every day and allowing us to share it with the community.