When Jessica Campbell told her friends that she was becoming a dental hygienist, they couldn’t believe it.
They’d always known her as a germophobe and couldn’t imagine her putting her fingers in people’s mouths, even if they were gloved. However, her distaste for germs is exactly what led her to pursue the field.
“It turns out most dental hygienists are germophobes,” Jessie, who always goes by her nickname, laughs. “It’s actually what makes us good at our jobs. We need to wipe out germs wherever we can, including in people’s mouths!”
Why did Jessie choose to apply her passion for cleaning to the dental field and not elsewhere? “It’s a gross story!” Jessie laughs again. “I watched my dentist drain an abscess on another patient, and ever since then, I’ve been in love with the field.”
Jessie went home and immediately did her research. She looked into becoming a dentist but quickly realized dental hygiene suited her better. It gave her more time with the patients and, yes, more time banishing germs to where they belong.
Everything from there fell easily into place, as if meant to be, including finding a position at Overseas Dental soon after graduation.
Jessie didn’t grow up in the Keys, but if she described her childhood to you, you’d think she had. She was raised only a short drive away in Cutler Bay, a place where family comes first and holidays are celebrated as a community. She also grew up on the water, boating with her family every chance they got, including in the Keys.
So, when Jessie had to choose whether to go north to work in Miami or south to work in the Keys, it was an easy decision. She walked through the doors at Overseas Dental fresh out of dental hygiene school, introduced herself, and the job fell easily into place.
“Again, it felt meant to be! I even saw dolphins while I was driving to work on my first day. No matter how often I’ve seen dolphins growing up, I never tire of seeing them, and in that moment, I knew I would never tire of working in the Keys.”
Jessie still commutes from Cutler Bay every day of the week, but she and her husband hope to move here as soon as possible. They said their vows only a few months ago at The Islander Resort, and plan to make their lives here. In fact, much of their lives are already spent here. “I often head straight from work to the water. I jump on a friend’s boat, go paddleboarding, or get dinner by the sea. It’s where I belong.”
That feeling of belonging extends to Overseas Dental, too. Jessie gets emotional when talking about her patients and her colleagues. “My patients are like family to me. We call, we text, and we look forward to seeing each other every appointment. And it feels that way with my colleagues, too. Everyone I work with, from the office staff to the dental hygienists and assistant to the dentists, are amazing. I’m really lucky to work at Overseas Dental.”
The feeling of being in the right place is confirmed every time a patient leaves her chair because, even more than scrubbing away germs, Jessie loves to make a difference in her patients’ lives. “I’m always looking for ways to help my patients with their particular challenges, whether it’s helping an elderly patient grip their toothbrush better by putting it through a tennis ball or simply educating them to improve their habits. My goal is to be helpful any way I can,” says the happy germophobe.
Contributed By: Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.