Katti Simpson is the recipient of a national award for outstanding women in dentistry.
The Dover-Foxcroft woman is among six winners, but the only one who’s not actually a dentist.
Joy Hollowell explains.
Katti Simpson opened her practice, Dental Hygiene Associates of Maine, in Dover-Foxcroft about five years ago.
“I have my business out of my home,” says Simpson. “I can make my own hours, it’s just rewarding being on my own.”
She performs preventative care procedures, things like cleanings, fluoride treatment and sealants. That’s because Simpson isn’t actually a dentist.
“I’m an independent dental hygienist,” she explains.
She’s among 40 licensed in Maine and one of the first to open her own business.
“I do not practice under the direct supervision of a dentist,” explains Simpson.
Instead, she’ll refer patients if they need additional work. To become licensed, Simpson needed at least six thousand hours working under the direct supervision of a dentist, as well as approval from the Board of Dental Examiners.
Simpson has amassed more than 1,000 patients, including Jessica Inch and her family.
“I love going into a home setting, it’s personal,” says Inch. “I don’t have to deal with going into a waiting room and waiting and sitting for a long time.”
Simpson admits she still fields questions about her exact profession.
“How does this work? Do I still use my dentist?” says Simpson, giving some examples. “So yes, it absolutely takes a little bit of explaining.”
The job also allows Simpson to travel. She makes house calls to students at local schools as well as nursing home residents.
“It brings a smile to their faces and make me feel good about helping them out,” she says.
Simpson is the only dental provider in her area that accepts new patients through Mainecare, something she says works very well for her practice.
“I know it sounds a little hokey,” she says, but I truly just love making people smile.”