Wai Yee Koo


English, Cantonese
AAS in Dental Hygiene
Hostos Community College

Most people either loved going to the dentist as a kid—or absolutely hated it. Where did you fall? How come?

My dad used to bring me to the dentist periodically for a cleaning, and I absolutely hated it! I stopped going, but then developed severe gingivitis and was about to start losing my teeth...I didn't know at the time how a simple dental cleaning is the greatest oral prevention. From that experience, I grew to love going to the dentist because I wanted to keep my teeth!

What (or who) inspired you to get into dentistry? How so?

My dentist, Dr. Wong, inspired me to become a hygienist. She hired me as a dental assistant one summer when I was still in high school and taught me how to do laboratory work, which I found very interesting. Since then, I've worked with general, periodontist, orthodontist, pediatric, and maxillofacial surgeons.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Receiving a compliment is the most rewarding part of my job. It means I have helped someone understand and appreciate the importance of their oral health. It's the best feeling to have someone trust me with their teeth — plus, I want everyone to have a better smile!

What’s your dream toothpaste flavor?

Champagne! I would like my patients to have a relaxing dental cleaning with a taste of champagne and a good show on TV.

What’s something your patients might be surprised to learn about you?

In addition to being a hygienist, I'm a wire sculpture artist.

What’s something that really, really, really makes you smile? Like, really?

Something that really, really makes me smile is a smile back! A good compliment will warm my heart. That tells me I’m doing my job right.