Elizabeth Wilson, the five-foot-even, orthodontic assistant popping from one operatory to the next, with a never-fading smile on her face is one of those people you can’t help but want to know. It’s as if she has a neon sign above her head that reads, “This girl is AWESOME!”
But even she admits, she has come a long way in the past few years – a trait that has allowed her to connect with her patients in extraordinary ways.
“I got my braces off in July of last year. Best. Day. Ever,” Elizabeth said. “People always thought that I was 16 before I got my braces off.”
An orthodontic assistant personally wearing braces is certainly someone who would understand what their patients are going through. Still, Elizabeth’s understanding goes deeper and spreads further, connecting her with her patients in a variety of ways.
“About three years ago, I lost 50 pounds,” Elizabeth explained. “When you’re five feet tall, it’s a lot.”
Now, Elizabeth said she keeps the weight off by running, which she said she can’t live without. Each morning, she wakes at 4:30 a.m. to fit in a three mile run on her treadmill before heading into the office. Then, when the weather is nice and time allows, she said she enjoys running outside with her friend, and former Dental Depot teammate, training for races.
“The longest one I’ve ever run at this point was a 10k,” Elizabeth said. “But we have a half marathon – the Route 66 marathon – in November, and I want to do the half marathon Memorial Run in April.”
Both her accomplishments and goals serve as an inspiration to patients who may be struggling with their weight in addition to their orthodontic treatments.
What’s more, Elizabeth also has a special connection with her more unique patients.
“I had Asperger’s as a child,” she explained. “Those kids usually stick with me too. I let them know I had it too, and they seem to feel better.”
All of these life experiences have helped to make Elizabeth the genuine person and orthodontic assistant that she is today. So, it’s no wonder that she says her favorite part of her job is the opportunity she has to help and build relationships with her patients.
“Patients are generally in treatment for about two years,” Elizabeth said. “I just finished someone last week who I did their first consult and their last appointment.”
“There’s a family of sisters who come to see us,” Elizabeth said. “One of them had braces and I got to do her adjustments. Then when she finished, her younger sister started Invisalign. Their mom will be next for treatment. She comes in and says, ‘You’re gonna take care of me, right?’”
It is this ability to build a special level of trust and care – to be able to care, not only for individuals throughout their treatment plan, but also to be able to connect and build relationships with entire families – that Elizabeth said makes her job so rewarding.
“I just like being able to ask them about their lives when they come back,” she said. “Things like, ‘How was your softball game? What happened with so-and-so?’ … Things that let them know I care.”
“And there’s a brother and sister who genuinely ask how I’m doing,” Elizabeth continued. “I’m supposed to be the one to ask them how they are doing! That just means so much to me.”
“We have a lot of ‘Lizzie only’ patients,” said Heather Mills, orthodontics manager at Dental Depot North OKC. “They really like to see her.”
Elizabeth’s helpful nature isn’t limited to the North OKC Dental Depot office where she normally works. She also helps out in other offices when she’s needed.
“When you go back (to another office), you have a friend at each office where you’ve worked,” she said. “It makes it (Dental Depot and work) feel more like family when you have friends wherever you go.”
It is patients and orthodontic professionals like these who prove that orthodontics isn’t just about straightening teeth; it is about helping people and having an impact on their lives – a lesson which goes both ways.
When Elizabeth isn’t working, she enjoys her Saturdays in peace and quiet, playing with her “half-wienie-half-Shih Tzu” puppy, who she said looks like a mop; and her Sundays hanging out with her husband.
Elizabeth Wilson was nominated for Dental Depot Employee of the Month by Dr. Romero, orthodontist at the North OKC and Yukon offices:
“Elizabeth has been on the team for two years now. She has learned how to perform all the positions in orthodontic (both front and back), always arrives early and is one of the last people to leave the office. She not only goes above and beyond for her patients, but for anyone on the team. She came to us with no previous orthodontic assisting experience and now she excels at her duties and helps training new assistants. She is eager to learn, and is always excited about coming to work every morning.” –Dr. Alejandro A. Romero-DelMastro, Orthodontist
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 February, we are proud to shine a spotlight on Employee of the Month Elizabeth Wilson.