Bettye Bolding’s life has come down to two things; learning how to take care of herself, and learning how to take care of others. A dental field veteran of some 30 years, Bettye has worked in all aspects of dentistry and with patients from all walks of life. In fact, she’s been caring for others for as long as she can remember.
Bettye was the fifth of six children born to parents who moved their family from Texas to Enid, Oklahoma during the Oil Boom of the late 1970s. But when the boom went bust in the 1980s, Bettye’s parents lost everything and had to relocate for work, leaving Bettye with the choice to stay and finish high school or move with uncertain outcomes.
So, at the age of 15, Bettye got a job, got an apartment, and finished high school. She joined the Navy after graduation and served as a dental assistant throughout the length of her enlistment, before returning to civilian life in Florida. There, she attended a dental assisting program with her internship completed through an orthodontist. Graduating with honors and expanded duties, Bettye earned her national certificate for both general and orthodontic duties.
When she and her daughter moved to Oklahoma, she came to work for an oral surgeon at a private practice and further certified herself for six-handed dentistry and endodontics. When her oral surgeon retired, she moved to assist in hygiene – because of no matter the task, Bettye says she’s always been a sponge ready to take in more information.
So, when the time came for Bettye to spread her wings again, she decided to take on a position in the front of the office working at Dental Depot as a patient care coordinator at our West OKC location. It wasn’t long before Bettye caught the attention of leadership and was promoted to a Leadership in Training or LIT position. Now, she’s been named the assistant manager at Dental Depot Northwest Expressway, which opened in the fall of 2019.
“I love the rewarding feeling you get when you’re able to help others, and I think that’s what I really love about the dental field because you can give someone their smile back,” said Bettye. “We don’t really know what our purpose is, but I think mine is to continue helping others.”
Bettye says she’s always had a soft spot in particular, for patients who may not be able to advocate for themselves, such as the elderly, children, and the developmentally challenged. And despite a degree in criminal justice, Bettye has never had the desire to leave dentistry.
“The dental field has been very good to me. I went into this so I would never make minimum wage. That was my goal as a young mother, was to always reach for more,” Bettye said. “I’ve wanted to work with teen moms and adoption agencies – I’m very passionate about that – but I’m very comfortable in dentistry.”
And while Bettye foresees staying in dental work, she’s made it a point to volunteer when and where she’s able.
“I was an ombudsman volunteer for six years and traveled to three counties,” Bettye explained. “If you’re not familiar, an ombudsman is someone who goes into nursing homes or assisted living centers and fights for the rights of the residents to make sure they’re being heard. We come unannounced and just observe the staff and visit with residents.”
She even spent 18 months as a house-mom at Peppers Ranch, a boys home turned foster-family center where she met her own foster son.
“Ryan was 14 when we met and he became a part of my life,” Bettye recalled. “The place was changing and he was probably going to have to move. He kept calling me back to come and visit after I left. I asked him if he just wanted to come out and live with me instead and he did. So I did the whole process to become a foster mom and was able to bring him home permanently and watch him graduate.”
Bettye and Ryan stayed connected even after he graduated and she attended his wedding as his mother. Today, he still lives nearby and has three beautiful children. Combined with her own daughter, Samantha, Bettye is a grandmother of five.
Of the many lessons life has taught her, Bettye says that quality of life is more important than quantity, and strives to give 110% every day that she is able. It’s clear she doesn’t take anything for granted, including surviving not one, but two aneurisms.
“No matter what happened yesterday, you just carry on. Every new day is a fresh start,” Bettye said. “I definitely run on quality because time can so easily be stolen from you.”
When Bettye isn’t at work, she enjoys getting outdoors, staying active, and bowling. She loves spending time with her family and grandchildren. She looks for ways to make connections with other aneurysm survivors and caretakers, eager to educate others on the warning signs and care needed.
Bettye was nominated by her coworkers at Dental Depot Northwest Expressway for the January 2020 Employee of the Month award. Here’s some of what they had to say:
“Bettye Bolding is always ready to jump in and help out here where ever she is need. She is great with the patients and all the staff. She goes above and beyond to follow the Dental Depot way.” – Stephanie Caldwell, office manager
“Bettye is always ready to help; no matter what it is. She has a ‘can do’ attitude. Our patients and employees all love her!” – Destiny Gordon, dental assistant
“Bettye is a hard worker and puts 110% in anything she does with a good attitude and helps everyone out when she can and as much as she can,” – Gloria Hernandez, dental assistant
“She works her hardest every day, always shows up on time and ready to pitch in to go the extra mile,” – Dr. Josh Phillips
“Bettye is a very hard-working person and does a fabulous job!” – Marisa Valle, dental assistant
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 January, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Employee of the Month Bettye Bolding.