UNHS Dental Hygienists keep patients’ mouths healthy, smiles bright
Before Marsha Curley was a senior in high school she knew her future would include a career in the field of dentistry at some level and she called her shot perfectly.
Marsha grew up in Blanding and graduated from San Juan High School in 1999. In her junior year she spent time in a shadowing program with Dr. Paul Macdonald, DDS, as a dental assistant. Her journey into the wonderful world of dentistry has come full circle, now that she is a Dental Hygienist in Dr. Macdonald’s Blanding Family Dental Office with Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.
Marsha’s high school experience as a dental assistant convinced her that she wanted to do something more with her career. She attended the College of Eastern Utah-San Juan Campus, in Blanding, after high school, where she completed her pre-requisite courses to become a Dental Hygienist in 2001. She later attended Dixie State College and became a Dental Hygienist in 2005. She worked as a Dental Hygienist at the UNHS Montezuma Creek Community Health Center for two years, before meeting her future husband via an on-line dating site called myspace. She left UNHS in 2008 and moved to Wisconsin with her fiancé, who received an honorable discharge from the Navy. In Wisconsin, the couple lived near his home for several years and she worked as a Dental Hygienist.
In 2014 Marsha and her husband moved back to Blanding with their oldest daughter and she went back to work for UNHS. She also had her second daughter in 2014. She now works Mondays and Tuesdays at Dr. Macdonald’s office, in Blanding, and Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Monument Valley Community Health Center. She said she enjoys working for UNHS and is impressed with the improvements and more comprehensive services offered by the UNHS Dental Department. She is also glad to see her job becoming more important.
“Over the past year, they’ve made my job, what I do, like treating periodontal disease, more of a priority,” she said.
She likes the drive to Monument Valley and loves working with Dr. Crystal Sepaquaptewa, DDS.
“She’s really neat,” Marsha said. “She does beautiful dental work.”
Marsha said her decision to pursue a dental career was influenced by Kathie Patterson, a former dental assistant who now works in Dr. Macdonald’s office, in Blanding.
“Kathie used to be a dental assistant back with Dr. Miller, where I got all my dental work done as a kid, and she was always so nice. I told my mom, ‘I think that’s what I’d like to do.’”
Marsha said the best part about working with UNHS is the people she gets to meet. She said when people come in for treatment, they’re not just teeth and gums.
“I ask myself, what can I do to help them? It’s like, ‘how are you doing? I really want to know. I just want to create those personal relationships with people,” Marsha explained. “And once I do I know they’ll come back to see me more and they’ll want to. That’s something I learned working back in Wisconsin. It’s not just dental and cleaning teeth for me. I like people coming in and building a relationship.
“People come in and they’re embarrassed about their teeth and I tell them not to worry, we’re just doing some catch up,” she added. “‘You’ll be a regular in no time, and I’ll look out the window and see you getting out of your truck and I’ll say, there’s so and so here for their recall.’ And I tell them, ‘we’ll get to that point, just be patient.’”
Andy Adams was born and raised in Blanding and was also a member of the 1999 San Juan High School graduating class. After graduation, Andy served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines. Following his mission he attended the College of Eastern Utah-San Juan Campus and received his Associates Degree.
Andy spent the next several years in the Gilbert, Arizona area working mostly for a company called Classy Closets. While there, he met his wife Annette, a native of Willcox, Arizona. They were married in August, 2003. While in Arizona, he also heard about the dental hygiene field from a friend, and decided to pursue a career as a Dental Hygienist. He attended the Utah College of Dental Hygiene, in Orem, and graduated in May, 2010. Soon after, the family was packed and moving to Blanding, where Andy went to work for Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. that July.
He worked for UNHS for three years, before moving to Farmington, New Mexico, in 2013, to work in Dr. Ryan Wilson’s dental office. Andy said he received a lot of good experience working in Farmington, but after two years he and his wife decided to move back to Blanding. He was welcomed back to the UNHS Dental Department in April, and said he’s glad to be back in Blanding.
“There’s no better place to raise kids,” Adams said. “Everyone looks out for everyone else. And UNHS is a great organization to work for.”
Andy and Annette have two boys and a girl with a fourth child, a girl, due in November. Owen is 9, Madilynn is 7 and Weston is 2.
Andy works at the UNHS Monument Valley Community Health Center on Mondays and Tuesdays. He works in Dr. Macdonald’s UNHS Blanding Family Dental office on Wednesdays and Thursdays.