Susan Urell has been a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) since 1985. At that time she graduated from Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, with an AA degree in Dental Hygiene Technology. In 1985 she also received certification in Advanced Periodontics. She is licensed in the administration of both local anesthetics and nitrous oxide in the State of California, where she currently resides.
Susan was born, reared, and groomed for dentistry in Columbus, Ohio. She comes from a long line of dentists in her family, including two great-uncles, two cousins, an uncle, a brother, and her father. Her dental training began in her father’s office when she was sixteen years old, assisting his assistant! She then became a dental assistant herself before going to into dental hygiene school.
A few days after college graduation, Susan drove to San Francisco, sight unseen, and lived there on and off for over twenty years. Never one to go without adventures for very long, she traveled throughout The United States and practiced clinical dental hygiene for 24 years in Ohio, New York, California, Arizona, and Florida.
In her travels over the years, Susan has met a huge variety of patients from around the country. She has provided dental hygiene treatment to thousands of people. She has taught oral hygiene skills to adults, children, the deaf, the blind, the physically challenged, and the mentally compromised. Her extensive 24-year experience has qualified her as an expert in the field of dental health care and education. Now she writes for children and their parents, sharing the information she has acquired over the years. Here, in her own words, is what she has to say about creating MolarTron as an avenue for continuing to serve the public.
Susan is a proud member of the following organizations:
The Screen Actors Guild, American Dental Hygienists Association.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN: A message from the author
I had been a dental hygienist for about 14 years and thought I had heard it all. I had the screamers in the chair, the PIA's (pains in "rear") kids who were very badly behaved, and the squirmers! For those kids, if the parent stayed out of the operatory and waited out in the waiting room, the kids usually did better and turned themselves around fairly quickly. We all knew the "permissive" parents were the worst and the kids just ran right over them (and consequently the kids ran right over us, too!).
But this one particular afternoon, in a grocery store aisle, I saw and heard someone worse than the "permissive" parent! This stranger was about to change my life.
As I walked by a woman and her crying youngster, I overheard the woman sternly say to this child, with her index finger pointed in the child's face, “If you don’t stop it, I’m taking you to the DENTIST!”
Those words brought my cereal shopping to a screeching halt.
Dentistry as punishment?!
I had seen varying degrees of fear before in the office, but I had never witnessed the tragic beating down of a four year old innocent dental spirit like I did that day in aisle 7, which in turn deeply touched my own spirit. In short, I had a quick conversation with this mother where I suggested that she consider threatening her child with a “time-out” instead of threatening her with her dental health for perhaps the rest of the child's life!
Let's face it! No one equates "fun and entertaining" with DENTISTRY!!!! Not yet, anyway! But punishment? That was way more than I could accept. I could only imagine that one day, when confronted by a looming dental appointment, that little girl would probably make the PIA's seem like peaceful powder puffs. Or worse, she may grow up to NEVER willingly step foot in a dental office unless it was an extremely dire and painful emergency! She may never even know why she gets so upset about dental visits once she grows up. My heart truly went out to this little girl. I went home and could not sleep.
By midnight I had decided my new mission in dentistry would be to demystify the formal dental experience for children like her (and their nervous, frightened grown-ups!) via fun, goofy, musical, happy, informative entertainment!
Entertainment was the only way I could imagine having a shot at redirecting negative beliefs and perceptions. Laughter really is the best medicine, right?! It worked in the office when I said corny things to nervous youngsters such as "Guess what! Great news! You don't have to floss all of your teeth. Oh my gosh! Can you believe that? How cool is that?" Oh, how their eyes would light up! Then I'd casually say, "It's true! You don't have to floss them all." "Really?" patients would ask with that delighted gleam in their eye, hopeful that the flossing chore was indeed a thing of the past. "Really," I'd say. Then I'd add, "You only have to floss the teeth you want to keep. That's all! Floss only the ones you want to keep and just forget about the rest!" wink wink! Haha! Gotcha! Then giggles! WHAT? Laughter coming from a scared kid in a dental chair? Hmmm. Yes, I am a total goofball, but maybe I was on to something here!
So that night I wrote a goofy book about getting a cavity and I wrote about the procedure to fix it. I kept writing. I wrote another book about how to brush if you're a toddler. Then I wrote a song about how to floss! I wrote about the Sleep Fairy who puts lips and tongues and teeth to sleep. I wrote about what it's like to get your teeth cleaned. I wrote about the pet hamster whose teeth grow too long and he can't eat. I wrote about odd patterns of permanent tooth eruptions. I wrote about the office noises, smells, tastes, and sensations. I found ideas, inspiration, and encouragement from the kids in schools and from my young patients to keep pushing ahead!
The kids’ requests for more information, books, a website, and invitations to return to their schools with additional episodes caused me to expand these ideas and make a serious project out of it. Next thing I knew, ideas came out of what seemed like nowhere for songs, cartoons, games, and (hopefully one day) kid-and-pet-friendly dental products! MolarTron is for the kids, by the kids! I have an advisory panel of about twenty 6-11 year olds who provide opinions and guidance to help keep me on the right track! Last year I hired an artist and finally, ten years later, my first MolarTron book, starring L’il Mo, is being published in November, 2009!
I sincerely hope that I helped the mother in the grocery store learn to stop putting her negative beliefs onto her innocent child. I hope the story can help anyone who has ever threatened a child with "I'm taking you to the doctor for a shot if you don't behave" to see how destructive those words can be in the long term.
That mother gave me something I needed, so I have to thank her and honor her for that. She infused me with a higher sense of purpose!
Therefore, a donation is made from the sale of every MolarTron® item to help needy children receive dental health care and treatment.
Helping people is what I do.
With MolarTron® & Friends, I hope I can promote great dental health for the public. I hope I can teach basic oral hygiene skills in a way that is easily remembered. I hope I can help kids (and parents) address their dental concerns in a friendly and fun way. I hope I can contribute to the greater good beyond my wildest dreams! MolarTron® advocates and encourages regular dental visits, so I hope that children of all ages (and that includes you, too, Mom and Dad!) who are nervous or afraid of dentists can use MolarTron® & Friends to just plain feel better!
Registered Dental Hygienist
Member of the American Dental Hygienists' Association