Intuitively knowing the next step in the process is a trademark characteristic of Christina Medina, clinical director at TenBrook Orthodontics, Millville, NJ.
In 2001, after studying in the school’s dental assistant program, Medina graduated from Cumberland County Technology Education Center, Bridgeton, NJ. Shortly thereafter, she began work as a dental assistant at a general dental practice in Vineland, NJ.
Medina learned the ins-and-outs of how a successful dental practice operates, and she exceeded expectations in her position. However, after 3 years, she had an underlying desire to pursue more from her education and her career.
“I was an expanded functions dental assistant who had reached her peak, and needed more of a challenge,” she recalls.
Medina learned of an opening at TenBrook Orthodontics in Millville and decided to make orthodontics her next challenge. “I thought, ‘Wow! Yes! I want to know everything about orthodontics!’” she explains.
Shortly thereafter, Medina was hired as an orthodontic assistant at TenBrook’s office.
“[From the beginning], Christina asked questions, learned our systems quickly, and became one of our best clinicians,” says James TenBrook, DMD, MMSc. “What’s more, she is loyal and caring—those are two of her best attributes.”
It’s been 12 years since Medina joined the TenBrook team, and in that time, Medina has worked hard to evolve her career from an orthodontist assistant to a clinical director.
Working with 27 team members among nine locations, Medina has succeeded in learning a lot about orthodontics.
“Currently, Christina runs our practice; from inventory, to assistant schedules, to meeting contractors at our new orthodontic sites. She is amazing,” TenBrook notes.
Her typical day may start with answering emails to and from dental contractors and calling patients who have questions or concerns. She also oversees clinics when patients are present, and she ensures that the front desk and clinical staff are all organized and that their areas are functioning properly.
Medina’s daily agenda also includes a wide range of tasks that enable her to channel her inner drive for perfection.
She is the go-to person when parents have questions or concerns, she works closely with the head of insurance production and submissions, and she coordinates each morning with the practice’s head assistant to make sure everyone is on the same page.
It goes without saying that communication is paramount for this type of position. And Medina makes it a daily priority. In-house, she’s responsible for communicating with doctors about specific cases, she coordinates with team members about patient records, and delves into the accounts receivable department to make sure all is as it should be there as well.
“Communication is key, especially when you have multiple practices,” Medina says. “I currently help Dr TenBrook orchestrate all practices, their schedules, and their interviews among nine offices.
“I love my job. In the time I have been here, we have opened four new locations, which is very exciting. But at times it can be stressful if you’re not organized. I’ve learned that, in this field, organization and communication are the key to a successful orthodontic practice.”
Medina may have a busy workload, but she takes pride in her service and her ability to work with a gifted team.
“Our team is like a family,” she notes. “Even though we have nine locations, we still all bond and spend most of our time together.”
An enormous part of Medina’s day-to-day activities also includes an element of practice life that cannot be taught: patient empathy.
When asked about her area of expertise—after wearing so many hats—Medina doesn’t hesitate to answer: patient relations.
“It’s my job to listen to every concern from each patient or their parents,” she explains. “And I make sure that we are continuing to grow and improve so that our practices can make everyone happy. If you enter through our doors, you will be happy. It’s my job to make sure that happens. Dr TenBrook relies on me to be the face of TenBrook Orthodontics.”
Looking back over 12 years and countless career experiences, it’s interesting to recall Medina’s desire, as newly graduated dental assistant, to learn as much as she could about orthodontics. The field presented a new opportunity for her, and she leaped at the chance. The result: more than a decade’s worth of hard work, compassion, and fun.
“She is extremely valuable because she has done it all,” TenBrook adds. “She knows everything about assisting in orthodontics. She understands customer care and the importance of customer satisfaction. She has built our TenBrook team of clinical assistants. She leads by example. She is our Wonder Woman at TenBrook Orthodontics! She makes things happen.” OP
Lori Sichtermann is a freelance writer for Orthodontic Products. She can be reached at [email protected].