Graduate Blends Pediatric Dentistry, Military Career
By Catherine Duncan
When Amanda N. Robles began college, she desired a profession in the medical field with the initial thought of becoming a nurse. However, she eventually considered a career in the dental field after her mother mentioned a friend who loved her job as a dental hygienist.
After researching dental hygiene education, Robles applied to the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene Program at the School of Dentistry at UT Health San Antonio. “I was so excited to be accepted, but truly thought I was just going to become a pro-tooth cleaner and that was it. I was so wrong! There was so much more to learn, and I soon realized that I could do so much more with this degree.”
She said she enjoys every aspect of her job such as conducting patient screenings, taking dental x-rays, removing calculus and plaque from all surfaces of the teeth, applying preventive materials like sealants and fluorides, and teaching patients’ oral hygiene.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the program. I had great professors like Judy Alvarado (MEd, RDH). She exudes patience with all her students and knows how to make each student feel calm, cool, and confident during the hardest parts of the program. I attest much of my success in the program to the sincere care our professors had for each student’s success.”
Director Jo Ann Jordan, MA, RDH, brought in the tough love. “We all needed a reality check at some point while going through the program. It is a tough two years, and Director Jordan no doubt helped us to stay on top of everything. Of course, the tough love was all out of love and support and a push toward success. She wants all her students to not only succeed but excel! I can honestly say I left the program feeling extremely appreciative of her leadership as our director.”
Robles earned her BSDH in 2019 and was hired immediately at a pediatric dental practice in her hometown of San Antonio at Wildey Pediatric Dentistry. “I adore being around kids. I was a cheerleading coach for six years at Holy Cross of San Antonio and have always loved seeing children develop in all skills from cheerleading and leadership to oral hygiene. Knowing I have some part in their development brings me so much joy.”
She recently started working at Villalon Callis Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in Sugar Land near Houston. In addition to her work as a dental hygienist, Robles is a member of the Texas Air National Guard. She joined the National Guard eight years ago initially to help pay for her education. Robles recently returned home after being deployed to Kuwait from January through July 2021 and will soon be sent to the border in support of Operation Lone Star.
Although she does not work in dentistry in the National Guard, she said the experience has taught her leadership skills that she has been able to take to the dental practice.
“I have had really great leaders who look out for me, and that is why I continue to stay in the Guard. The Air National Guard has become a part of my family,” Robles said. “I am honored to be able to serve my country while also getting to enjoy a career as a pediatric dental hygienist. It is the best of both worlds.”