It  has  been  said  that,  “If  you  can’t  find what  you  want,  create  it  yourself!” So when  Dr. Melina  Cozby,  founder of  Forney Family Dentistry and Orthodontics,  found  that  so  many  of  her  fresh-out-of-school  dental  assistant applicants
seemed to lack the complete training they needed to be the best in the field, she decided to provide that training herself.

“Some had gone through an externship, but had never done any actual tasks. They had the certification, but no one had actually given them the appropriate, hands-on training necessary to be ready to work as a dental assistant,” she explains.

So she would hire the best candidates—those with the desire, intelligence, goals, and passion—and train them to be the best.  “We took them under our wing,” she explains. “But there needed to be better quality training and teaching out there.”

After much research, Dr. Cozby began a three-year long process that culminated in January, 2014, with the certification of the new Elite Dental Assisting School. In March, instructor Julie Sloan began the first class, housed in the new conference room in Forney Family Dentistry’s expanded facility, and Elite graduated its first class in June.

Sloan has more than 12 years experience in dental assisting, and has traveled extensively to  train  dentists  and  staff.  Not  only  is  she extremely knowledgeable; she has worked in every area of dentistry—surgery, family, orthodontics, endodontic, etc.

“What’s great about Julie is that she relates to how a person learns, breaks tasks down, and adapts her teaching methods to each individual person,” says Dr. Cozby. “She finds enormous fulfillment in teaching—Julie was made to do this!”

Students at Elite have the opportunity to experience all aspects of dental work, allowing them to find their own best job fit.

“If they want to know more about surgery, we bring in guest speakers to explain the requirements, and what it means to be a surgical assistant,” Dr. Cozby explains. “Because our team is so large, focused, and specialized, we can send our students to the expert they need—orthodontic, hygiene, periodontics, charting, sterilization.… We can show them all of that, and more.”

Most importantly, students are encouraged to be hands-on, not simply to stand in a corner and watch. When one student really wanted to practice impressions, Dr. Hyatt got in the chair had the student practice impressions over and over while Dr. Hyatt gave feedback and helped the student perfect the technique.

After Elite’s 14-week certification program, students are well-equipped to enter the real world. They know what area of dentistry they want to practice. They have worked with life coaches to learn about résumés and interviewing skills. These graduates are “good to go”!

The second Elite class started in July with a maximum enrollment, and the third will begin November 4. Prospective students are already hearing about the school’s benefits, and can learn more at either of two open houses planned for Thursday evenings, August 28 and September 25, from 6:00-8:00 at Forney Family Dentistry.

Elite Dental Assisting School offers convenient evening classes. And while other schools have widely-varying costs ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, Elite’s affordable price is well below these, and covers all books, tuition, fees, and take-home study materials. Says Dr. Cozby, “We want to offer exceptional education, training, and experience at an affordable cost that anyone with a passion for this career can obtain.”

Dr. Cozby encourages everyone with an interest in becoming a dental assistant to attend one of the open houses. “Our office is one of four in the nation to be awarded for patient-centered care, design, quality, and latest technology. Our team is the best of the best! We encourage you join the ranks of the elite and come check out Elite Dental Assisting School.”

To learn more about the Elite Dental Assisting School, visit