Helen Braley, B.S., R.D.H.
I am so glad to return to Dr. Sherwin and Dr. Hammitt’s team as a dental hygienist! I previously assisted Dr. Sherwin before attending dental hygiene school. I absolutely love our patients and staff. Being part of such an exceptional private practice is a dream come true. I was born and raised in Culpeper and have the pleasure of calling Dr. Sherwin family (he is my uncle)! He was very inspirational early in my education when I was initially attracted to a career in dentistry. Dr. Sherwin has been supportive of my every step. I enjoy spending my free time with my husband, Jon and our furry pets. We look forward to the adventures of growing old together!
I attended James Madison University and received a bachelor’s of science in biology in 2012. I love science and relished in challenging courses like organic chemistry (it’s in my blood as I’m the child of two chemists). I knew in school I was interested in dentistry and pursued a job as a dental assistant to Dr. Sherwin after I graduated. After two amazing years with his staff, I was inspired by my mentor, Bettina Gigliello, to attend dental hygiene school and obtain further education in periodontal disease, oral pathology and dental care. In school I served as vice-president of the Lord Fairfax Community College's Student American Dental Hygiene Association. Our SADHA chapter was very active in the community, educating the public at health fairs, performing hours of community service and volunteering at events such as the 'Give Kids a Smile' program. I enjoyed the rigorous coursework and seeing patients in clinicals. I graduated in 2016, cum laude, with an applied associates in dental hygiene.
Dental Hygiene Philosophy
I chose the profession of dental hygiene to make a change in someone’s day or even life. Being afforded the opportunity to work as a dental assistant prior to entering the field of dental hygiene opened my eyes to the importance of the roles of a dental hygienist. I saw the dental hygienist helping individuals improve their systemic health and brighten their day while creating long standing relationships with the patients. This profession as a true healthcare practitioner can help individuals fighting the oral side effects of diabetes, heart disease and oral cancer. A hygienist should be knowledgeable and truly care about patient needs. I value the importance of being a good listener and a friend to a patient in need.
I still see these expectations, but I truly appreciate the effort that is put in to create this trusting environment. I value the education that has been given to me and the opportunities to grow throughout my career. I also value the opportunity to practice with autonomy between patients, while offering the highest quality of care. Throughout my experience, I appreciate the extent of our ability to treat disease and infection and am always interested in new techniques and technology to improve oral and systemic wellness.
I believe in being a lifelong learner. The understanding of dental health is constantly improving and I want to be part of disseminating this imperative information. Not only will I be helping my patients by implementing new knowledge, but I am bettering myself. I believe, as dental hygienists, we are health care providers but also the individual who can listen or make a difference in our patients’ lives. I care about my patients from my heart. Everyone deserves the highest standard of care and I want to be the hygienist who helps them achieve it.