Kool Smiles Spotlight: Clinical Team Leader Isla Mendoza

Position: Clinical Team Leader
Location: El Paso, TX
School: El Paso Community College
Number of years working for Kool Smiles: 9 years

What inspired you to join the dental field?
I wanted to be a part of a career that provides plenty of challenges and rewards as well as the opportunity to help people and make communities a healthier place.

What made you decide to join Kool Smiles?
As a former Dental Assistant instructor, one of my students encouraged me to apply in a new location opening.

Describe your experience as a CTL/hygienist in one word.

What is a common misconception about dentistry that you wish to clarify?
A common misconception is that if you have no pain, your teeth are fine.  For example, tooth decay usually doesn’t cause pain until it becomes very severe and when it gets to this stage it could lead to more invasive treatment or even losing a tooth.

How do you plan to live out the Kool Smiles mission on your trip?
I will live out the Kool Smiles mission by reaching out and educating the village community so they can have access to quality dental care and understand the importance of oral health.

How do you hope to impact the lives of your patients on your trip?
I hope to impact their lives by being a positive influence and ultimately inspire them to improve their quality of life.

What Kinds of experiences do you hope to have on this trip? What do you hope to learn?
I look forward to having an experience of a lifetime.  I hope to experience the development of the villages by teaching them the skills they need to help motivate them to progress as a community especially in dental health. I would also like to experience the beauty of the land and hospitality of the people.  I want to return from this mission with a new perspective on life and return more committed to helping improve my own community.

How do you think this trip will impact your career going forward?
I hope this trip helps to impact my ability to inspire and encourage others to give it their best.  I also hope this will encourage me to be a leader by example and continue to have compassion and genuine concern for others throughout my career.

What’s a final piece of advice you have for people trying to make a difference in the world of dentistry?
Look for opportunities to make a difference and work toward a goal of being sensitive and supportive to others.

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