Dress Your Part

Written by: Debora Carrier, RDH
women in dentistry


“When you feel better about how you are dressed, I believe you carry yourself better, perform better, and project a more professional image to your patients and colleagues.”

women in dentistry

Debora Carrier, RDH

Right or wrong, humans take the first 30 seconds upon meeting you to form an opinion about you. What do they have to go by? Your attire, your smile, your posture, your overall image. The way you look and carry yourself speaks volumes to those around you. You can gain instant credibility by looking put together and appropriate for all occasions. Studies show that well-dressed people are more confident and respected by their colleagues. Your work wardrobe is a huge part of this, and it shows if you haven’t put much effort into your uniforms.

Dentistry is one of the only professions in which we can go to work in baggy, wrinkled, ill-fitting scrubs. This is not okay. We are highly skilled, highly educated professionals, and we need to dress the part. As more and more women are graduating from dental school, there can be a few challenges with patient acceptance and respect. Please think about what image you would like to project. If you want respect, command respect.

Paying careful attention to detail and thinking about projecting power can affect your success, especially as a female or young male dentist. You have worked so hard to get to this point that you want your patients to feel confident in you and respect you. So, put on that lovely white lab coat with your embroidered logo, name, and credentials. Studies show that professionals wearing lab coats gain instant respect from their patients.

Your image is also your branding. It is a part of your visual representation of your company, culture, services, values, and so much more. Your company’s branding isn’t just used for marketing and advertising but also in your physical space and body. Branding is about connecting and adapting your physical space and person to match your organization’s core mission. It can strengthen your work relationships, tell your company values, inspire your clients’ and employees’ confidence, directly affecting your bottom line. When dressing for work, think about your mission statement, and be complimentary of your colors and environment. 

You want this to be an aesthetic flow. What kind of vibe do you want to project? Modern, eclectic, or conservative? Dress to that.

Clothing can also build your personal brand by showing others that you are powerful, approachable, confident, trustworthy, competent, and professional. At the same time, you have to remember to be true to yourself. So, when dressing for work, think about adding your personal touch. With your image, are you very serious, whimsical, funny, detailed, etc? Patients will appreciate and relate to this, giving you instant rapport. Dress great, feel great, be great!


Ms. Carrier has 40-plus years of experience as a clinical dental hygienist. She is co-founder of The CPR Sisters and founder and CEO of Twice as Nice Uniforms. In 2014, Ms. Carrier developed and patented a temperature-regulating, moisture-wicking, antimicrobial uniform and founded Twice as Nice Uniforms. In addition to her many years working as a dental hygienist, she was also a high-fashion model.

She took her experience and love of fashion to New York City, where she worked with and learned from industry experts about fabrics, fit, and manufacturing before setting out to create a new, stylish, technologically advanced approach to medical and dental apparel that is safe, professional, stylish, and comfortable. She also speaks nationwide on the importance of dressing professionally. Her program, “Twice the Life” donates gently used uniforms to dental and medical mission trips. She is a key opinion leader and international spokesperson for Oral-B.