30 May ELITE DENTAL SCHOOL We Train Superheroes CELEBRATING SEVEN YEARS IN 2021, ELITE DENTAL SCHOOL IS BETTER THAN EVER. PHOTO BY DNT PHOTOGRAPHYBY LISA JENKINS-MOORE
Dr. Melina Morrison, owner and operator of Forney Family Dentistry, opened the school years ago with a specific vision in mind, and has succeeded in making that dream a reality. As the sole proprietor of her own dental practice, she has interviewed dozens of dental assistants over the years, and noticed a key missing ingredient in their training. While all had diplomas, passion, and a desire to excel, most lacked hands-on-experience. Dr. Morrison decided to be the solution to the problem and built a dental school that would not just train from textbooks, but would teach patient care.
Some may not realize the important roles dental assistants fill in a practice, but Dr. Morrison likens assistants to “Superheroes.” She explains, “Good dental assistants are critical to patient care. They help the doctor be a better doctor.” Assistants connect with the patients, make them feel at ease, anticipate the needs of the dentist, and make the entire interaction between dentist and patient even better. In some ways, “they come to the patients rescue” by offering the extra time and care needed before, during and after treatment. Because dental assistants are the heartbeat of the office, Dr. Morrison hand-selected her team from graduates of her school. She, along with another instructor, Tyler Farver (Lead Assistant at Forney Family Dentistry), teach the students of Elite.
Unlike corporate schools, the autonomy Dr. Morrison enjoys allows her to go over and above what most schools offer. “At Elite Dental, we teach students to understand the ‘why’ not just the ‘how,’ says Dr. Morrison. “Textbook knowledge can be gained independently and the language of dentistry memorized, but hands-on experience with patients in real-life situations is a must have.” She goes on to explain the importance of working with one’s hands. “Dental assistants need a firm grasp of textile functions, not just book sense. They must teach their hands to engage completely, relying not on just their dominant hand, but learning how to work both hands efficiently during procedures.” Dr. Morrison is passionate about the difference between observing and doing. She explains, “I compare it to learning a language. You can learn French in the classroom, through audio, or other media. However, being immersed in the culture is a more impactful learning experience.”
Elite Dental School boasts small class sizes for focused individualized training. Elite was once a 14-week program but has reorganized to become a 10-week program, offering more extensive training but meeting only one day per week, Monday 9-5 (Next class begins in June). The school offers four sessions each year with approximately 18-20 students per class. Over 600 students have graduated from Elite, and nearly a dozen have gone on to continue their education in hygiene and doctor programs. All graduates of Elite have a distinct advantage in the work place over those from schools who focus mainly on didactic learning. Dr. Morrison says, “We don’t churn out robots through our school, but rather fully equipped dental assistants who can thrive in any office with a thorough grasp of every area of dentistry.”
Like in her practice, Dr. Morrison maintains ownership of the dental school which gives her full autonomy to make the best decisions regarding the students’ education. Her desire for excellence coupled with the passion of the students who enroll is a recipe for success. Dr. Morrison’s reputation proceeds her, and her patient’s love her—an important distinction for a successful dental practice. She explains, “I want to impart a love for the patient to the dental assistant students. If they understand why we do what we do, they can do it better and with more concern and compassion. Some say bedside manner can’t be taught, but I disagree. We teach our students how to care for their patients and the difference it makes in the patients’ experience is undeniable.”
Dr. Morrison’s dedication to her patients and her students is obvious. Having come from a challenging background early in life, she loves the opportunity to make other’s dreams of a better future come true. “I don’t ever want financing to be the reason someone can’t follow their dreams.” To that end, Elite Dental School offers many low interest, low payment financing options. Dental Assisting is one of the fastest growing careers in the healthcare industry and has one of the lowest unemployment rates. With an average yearly salary of $40,000, there’s never been a better time to begin a new career!
108 East Hwy 80, Suite 190 | Forney, TX 75126 | 972-564-7575
Conveniently located between FM 740and FM 548 (Next to Applebee’s)