When the order came to limit dental practices to emergencies only in March and April, many of our teams faced the difficult decision of whether or not they would continue to work during this time. So when Amy Mascote, a dental assistant at West OKC, heard that another Dental Depot office was without any assistants – she stepped up to make a big impact on the team at Northwest Expressway in a time when they needed help the most.
But she’s more than just an assistant. Amy has been a part of the Dental Depot family for the last five years, and while she’s leaving soon – on her way to becoming a registered dental hygienist, starting classes this Fall – we wanted to celebrate all of the hard work she’s put in and honor her as our Employee of the Month!
“I started in Midwest City as a BOA (business office assistant) and moved up into a PCC (patient care coordinator) position. Then in 2018, I came over here to the West OKC office to do my dental assisting internship through Dental Depot,” Amy explained. “I was originally supposed to go back to Midwest City after completing the internship, but my team here wanted to keep me. Dr. [Austin] Keaster added a fourth column and made it my decision – if I wanted to go back to Midwest City or stay at West OKC. I ended up staying here because we all get along really well. Dr. Keaster is an amazing doctor to work for, it wasn’t a hard decision to make.”
As the first wave of COVID-19 closures made its way through Oklahoma in Mid-March and April, Dental Depot transitioned into providing emergency-only dentistry per the recommendations of the ADA and Oklahoma Dental Associations. All of our team members were given the choice to continue working or to return once we resumed normal business hours. Dr. Joshua Phillips at our Northwest Expressway office was without any assistants, and while emergencies-only meant a lighter patient load, our teams are used to working together in “four-handed dentistry,” – with both a dentist and dental assistant.
“Glenna [West OKC office manager,] had asked everybody one morning if any of us were willing to go over there to help out,” Amy said. “I had actually worked with Dr. Phillips when I was his PCC back at Midwest City. It was right when he’d graduated from OU and he was pretty cool.”
“The first day I went over there it was calm. The schedule was light. We’d work in the mornings and be off in the afternoons. I ended up working there a day, and Dr. Phillips asked me if I wanted to come back again the next day and I did,” Amy continued. “After about a week of that, they asked if I wouldn’t mind just staying until everything calmed back down to normal – which was originally supposed to be mid-April. And I was like, ‘Sure, that’s fine!’”
“Dr. Phillips is similar to Dr. Keaster in how they do their procedures, so I was comfortable and it was easy to assist for him. He is left-handed, so that was a little bit of an adaptation! So, I just asked him for tips on how his assistants normally help him,” Amy said. “He’s great, very friendly and patient, even though it was just me there at first. The manager there – Stephanie Caldwell – she was able to get assistants from other offices, including mine, to come and help me. I even ended up doing all of their OSHA and ordering for them. When I left, they even got me a gift for helping out.”
All in all, Amy spent about a month and a half at Northwest Expressway. Originally, she and her team had planned to alternate, but she ended up staying. Dr. Phillips even offered to make the position more permanent with the addition of a fourth chair.
“I told him that if I wasn’t already working with Dr. Keaster I would, but Dr. Keaster is awesome,” Amy said.
But her dental assisting days are wrapping up anyway. Amy has been accepted to Rose State’s dental hygiene program and will begin classes this fall, putting her on track for even better career opportunities. Amy is one of many examples of how anyone who wants to move up, try new things, or explore other options has that opportunity at Dental Depot.
“In 2015, I graduated from UCO with a bachelor’s in biology. I was kind of thinking dental school or dental hygiene, but I wanted to get more experience in the dental field first,” she explained. “So I ended up working up front and just throughout being here and looking at both, I went more towards hygiene. I knew I always wanted to come to the clinical side and at the time I knew they had the internship program.”
“When I got pregnant I had to wait and adjust to being a single mom and adjust my classes after. Everything was an adjustment. But then once I had a routine, I ended up applying to the internship and getting in and it’s been great,” Amy said. “And I feel like being up front and dealing with scheduling and insurance, I definitely had an appreciation for it from the clinical side. It ties everything together and it gives you a really well-rounded appreciation for it.”
Amy herself is a very well-rounded young woman, taking both halves of Arts & Sciences seriously.
“I love to work with my hands. I love science and biology and I feel like the two just go really well together. And during this whole COVID thing, I started picking up drawing again and I really got into it. I’ve been drawing since maybe middle school or high school and with all of the free time we had in the afternoons when we closed, I just had more time to pick it back up,” she said, presenting a nearly photorealistic pencil drawing of a sea turtle.
Of course, hygiene school brings with it more opportunities and stability, and Amy is ready to take full advantage. Her focus? Incredible. Her drive? Unquestionable. Her support system? Just about as amazing as any of us could hope for.
“I’m just thankful. I have a very supportive family. I get a lot of help from my parents and they’re fantastic. We’re so close. My mom and I talked about hygiene and she wanted to make sure I had help and had time to study,” Amy said. “I’m so blessed with, especially my mom, she helps me a lot.”
And as for her team at Dental Depot?
“They’re so supportive too, even when I was still going to school part-time. I know Ashley goes to school part-time, too, and Jacoby also. So it was three of us that were going to school after work. We just help each other and we just keep motivating each other,” Amy recalled. “We’ll study during lunch, everybody just does their homework. It was great. I feel like we just kept pushing ourselves. I feel like we’re all just sponges here, ready to soak up as much knowledge as we can.”
“They’re all pretty great. Jennifer was my trainer during my internship and I still look to her for you know, guidance, and advice on certain things that I still don’t know you know. And Ashley, she’s my coworker and she’s become my best friend. I feel like we all have a really good connection here.”
It will be very hard for Amy to say goodbye to her team (and vice-versa), but it’s not forever. On breaks and weekends, Amy still plans to work part-time at her office, and when she’s finished with hygiene school, she says she’d love to come back.
All of us here at Dental Depot wish her the best and know that she’ll flourish in school. We’re so proud of her and her accomplishments. And when those two years are over? We’ll be ready to welcome her back as “Amy Mascote, RDH.”
When Amy isn’t at work or school, she’s finding new ways to keep her three-year-old son busy. Currently, he’s learning how to ride his bike and the two of them are having a blast. When it comes to her me-time, Amy loves going to the gym to get in cardio or strength training. Even though she’s sweating, she says, working out is very relaxing. And as a family, they spend lots of time with her parents doing cookouts and dancing and listening to music.
Amy was nominated for Employee of the Month by her coworkers at the West OKC office and by those at the Northwest Expressway office, who she helped out during the spring.
Dental Depot is a locally owned and operated family company. As such, we believe that the incredible group of doctors, hygienists, assistants and staff that make up Dental Depot are more than their job titles; they’re members of our extended family. In our family, we like to recognize when someone goes above and beyond, living the Dental Depot values. This June, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Employee of the Month Amy Mascote.