Our people

April 25th, 2016

Ty Jefferson and the Dream Team

Talk with Ty Jefferson, and it’s quite possible you’ll hear at least one sentence trail off into song. It’s subtle, but there’s the hint of a melody, and it’s sure to lift your spirits.

After all, that is one of her job responsibilities.

“I consider one of my duties maintaining a positive environment for my doctors, my co-workers, and my implant fellow,” says Jefferson, lead dental assistant in the Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry.

As lead, she is responsible for assisting in all aspects of implant and restorative dentistry: educating patients on their appliances and hygiene, tracking lab cases, and maintaining appointment flow throughout the day. But her first major task when she arrived was reinforcing what she calls the “Dream Team,” composed of the center’s two faculty members, implant fellow, two dental assistants, and an office associate. By the time she started in August 2014, her position had been vacant for several months, so there was ample reorganizing and rearranging on her to-do list. And rebuilding.

Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics team

The Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics “Dream Team,” left to right: Dr. Manrique Fonseca, Suzanne Verma, Ty Jefferson, Dr. Jorge Gonzalez and Brandi Soto. Not pictured: Vianec Olvera.

“My greatest accomplishment here has been reinforcing the CMP team,” Jefferson says. “I ask myself, ‘How can we work together? How can we communicate better?’” Appointment volume and patient recall at the center are bustling, and the team has expanded, most recently with the addition of dental assistant Vianec Olvera, whom Jefferson recruited.

“I tell everyone that we’re the Dream Team,” Jefferson says. “Every Monday at 8 we all have a meeting where we go over the week’s cases. We shout ‘CMP on 3!’ And everyone puts their hands in. It makes everyone feel happy; it starts your week out so positively.”

Jefferson recruited Olvera, left, to join the CMP.

Jefferson recruited Olvera, left, the CMP’s newest team member.

Jefferson’s Mondays didn’t always begin this way. She spent three years as a dental assistant in a private practice setting, when her workdays began at 7 a.m. and often stretched until 9 p.m., up to six days a week. The workload was exhausting; not to mention it didn’t afford her much time to spend with daughters, Peyton, 6, and Aubrii, 4.

“Before I came here, it was all about production,” says Jefferson. “When I got to the CMP clinic, I noticed it was not about production; it was about quality. It was about making your patients happy — and taking the time to make them happy.”

There are other differences, too. Since the center assists patients in need of facial reconstruction, there’s constant variety. One morning she may assist on a hybrid case — implant-supported dentures — and by afternoon, will help as impressions are taken to fit a patient with a palatal obturator, commonly used following oral cancer surgeries.

“I never knew that this type of dentistry existed outside of here,” Jefferson says. “It’s like being a part of history. We are really revolutionizing implant dentistry. We change people’s lives every day.”

What is it like to work with Ty? Here’s what some of her co-workers told us.

“Ty is such a joy to work with. She has a wonderful positive attitude and self-driven work ethic.”

-Suzanne Verma, assistant professor and anaplastologist

“Just great! Her incredible positive attitude and cheerful personality are contagious and create a very pleasant work environment. She is definitely one of the best assistants I have ever worked with!”

-Dr. Manrique Fonseca, implant fellow

“Our jobs have been a lot easier since Ty joined the CMP team; as she says every day, ‘Let’s remove an electron and feel positive today!'”

-Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, assistant professor and director, Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics

“I can truly say I appreciate the knowledge and positive attitude Ty inspires day by day in the clinic. Her attitude toward every patient is extraordinary, providing happiness and hope.”

-Vianec Olvera, dental assistant

— Jennifer Fuentes