Meet Mika. If she were to choose, she would be Lara Croft, the female version of James Bond. Side note: Mika’s hair is similar to Merida in the movie "Brave", so maybe you can call her “Lamerida.”
Mika’s soft spot is animals. If you have a strange pet, make sure to tell her. She’s had many kinds of pets in her life, and I bet she can relate to your strange affection for snakes, lizards, and spiders. She adores kids even more than animals and has a true gift of making them feel right at home in the office. This is why she is irreplaceable at Dental Essence, and we’re so glad she is there to greet you and your little ones at the door. Don't worry, she likes adults too. If you are an adult in an animal or kid costume—even better.
Mika holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from South Dakota State University where she also minored in Chemistry. After spending more than ten years in customer service-related roles, she is happy to join the team as Office Manager.
Jeannie, Dental Assistant
If Jeannie could have it her way, she’d be able to see into the future, win the lottery, and then knock off her top bucket list item of eating vanilla ice cream and fancy chocolate while reading her favorite novel in Ireland.
Watch her carefully when she isn’t looking and you may find her shaking it to Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” over the speakers in the office.
Jeannie received her degree in California in 1997, and later graduated from the USD Dental Hygiene program in 2006.
Sara, Dental Hygienist
Sara loves triathlons as long as she gets to use a floaty. She’s quite the runner, a pretty solid biker, but lacks a bit in the swimming department. Some day, just like Ashley, she hopes to gain the skills that are natural for a fish. Until that day arrives, she’ll be sitting on the beach (or in a floaty), soaking up the sun, and (ironically) eating Phish Food ice cream.
If it were up to her, everyone would be required to wear a watch, or preferably a gigantic clock necklace like Flava Flav, so that everyone could see the time and nobody would have an excuse to be late.
Sara is a renowned kickboxer and her talents were recently featured in the Argus Leader. Her great energy is contagious and we have to remind her from time to time that we are not sparring partners.
Janet, Administrative Assistant
“Come on down, Janet! You are the next contestant on the Price is Right!” Janet used to have this dream weekly, but now that Bob Barker is retired, she’s looking to dream about better things like Wheel of Fortune as long as Pat Sajak sticks around.
Do you know what scares her? Heights. You know what really scares her? Heights with rushing water below.
Even though it doesn’t quite make sense with aforementioned information, if she had a superhero power she’d fly. Even though she’s scared of heights. So she’d fly really low. And avoid rushing water. Kind of like Dusty Crophopper.
It’s a good thing we have Janet. Her positive and uplifting energy will make you smile and show those wonderful teeth of yours, even if you’re talking with her on the phone.
Janet is a jack-of-all trades at the office and joined Dental Essence in 2010.
Ashley, Dental Hygienist
Ashley can make her face look like a monkey. This is important and you should ask her to do it. Unfortunately, monkeys can’t swim, and she can’t either, so please don’t ask her to do that. Interestingly enough, she would prefer to grow extra arms as a super power. Of all the super powers one could imagine, she chose this one. Perhaps she could swing even faster through the trees. Or maybe she could swim like an octopus. You might want to ask her exactly why she chose extra arms as a super power.
Ireland is on the top of her bucket list, so you might find her plotting a way to fit into Jeannie’s suitcase since they both want to go there so bad. This is really making me curious about Ireland…should it be on the top of all of our bucket lists?
Ashely has a magnetic smile…just look at it! You have to smile when she does and she does a lot which is why we adore her presence at Dental Essence.
Ashley worked as a surgical technologist for over six years prior to becoming a dental hygienist in 2010.
Sonja, Dental Assistant
Sonja is the trilingual Jenny McCarthy of the office. At least that is who plays Sonja in the movie of her life. The movie might reveal Sonja’s sense of humor and ability to tell jokes. I only wish I could convince her to tell them in English.
Sonja recently checked off her #1 bucket list item when she met singer Sebastian Bach. Not the famous, world-renowned classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach (who also dons flowing long locks of hair). Rather, we’re talking about the other Sebastian Bach who is “the original voice” of Skid Row.
You can probably tell that Sonja is truly a fun-loving smart spirit, has fun relating to people and is incredibly good at it (she speaks three languages for goodness sake.) It’s great having her around. Bring her your favorite joke in German, Spanish, or even English. Or a scoop of Haagen-Daaz Coffe ice cream will do too.
Sonja’s education background includes Heritage Institute of Medical and Dental Careers and University of Colorado/ Front Range College.
Rachel, Dental Hygienist
If you're looking to make Rachel laugh, come in for your appointment right after you've eaten a handful of Oreos. Don't worry, even though your teeth are black, she'll forgive you because she loves them too. If you really want to win her over, come to the office bearing an Oreo blizzard or a chocolate sampler platter.
Rachel plans to travel the world some day, and Fiji is at the top of her destination list. Oh hold on a second--I guess cruising the Mediterranean is at the top of her bucket list (and that trumps all other lists, right?). I think it's safe to say that she's quite familiar with a globe.
If she's not jet-setting off to a land unknown (or daydreaming about it), she's probably scrap-booking, hanging with the family, watching wheel of fortune with Janet, or learning to play the violin. Rachel does not dance, but her favorite movie is Dirty Dancing. Something seems fishy there.
Rachel is originally from Sioux Falls and graduated from USD Hygiene in 2004.
Jessica, Dental Hygienist
Jessica goes by "Jess" because those two extra syllables are exhausting. On second thought, saying her name faster gives her more time to smile, which she always does. That is if she's not snapping pictures, swimming, or hip-hopping down the hallway. I bet she smiles doing those things too I guess.
Her biggest pet peeve is when people chew with their mouths open. She takes the most pride in how much she can eat. This is a strange combination. This is really strange if she eats with her mouth open.
Her biggest nightmare is nightmares--worse yet, if she dreams of a spider having a nightmare. Mind blown.
Before her arrival, Jess was a dental assistant for ten years in both pediatric and general dentistry and recently earned her Dental Hygiene degree from USD.
Linda, Office Manager
Who's that new face smiling at you when you walk through the door? That's Linda. Most likely, she's smiling at you, but there is a slight chance she is reminiscing about her quality time on a Panama island porch watching sloths.
It's been more than a year since she started here at Dental Essence despite the fact that she doesn't like ice cream. Her infectious warm personality is not unlike Charlize Theron who plans to play Linda in an upcoming biopic.
While Linda claims to have a fascination with baseball hats and hair ties, bodies of water always seem to be on her mind. She has a love of the great outdoors and jams to music while she teaches water aerobics. Yet for some reason, deep sea diving is her worst nightmare. I guess you'll never hear the Jaws theme during her water aerobics class.
Linda graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead and brings loads of experience while working for Oscar Howe Elementary.
Haley, Dental Hygienist
In case you're wondering, Haley would take a glass of milk over a glass of water. If you've got cookies and cream ice cream, well, that would be extra awesome. If you can also put on "America Says" which airs on the gameshow network, she will be in heaven. I've never seen it, but, I'm guessing it might be some sort of gameshow where "Hamilton" meets "Hollywood Squares" or something like that.
She wishes she could fly to work to cut out the drive, wants to travel the world, and wants to learn how to fly a plane. Yet if she could have one superhero power, she'd "have speed." Let's ponder this for a minute. If she could fly, she'd nail all of these, so maybe I'll let her re-submit her final superpower answer.
Haley takes pride in her health and jams out to Whitney Houston during her workouts. When "I Want to Dance with Somebody" comes on, trust me, you'll know it--dumbbells may fly. She looks forward to hearing about your favorite Whitney Houston song.
CJ, Dental Assistant
Who's that jumping out of a plane? Who's that in the shark cage? Of course it's CJ! Well, these are all things on her bucket list of course. I wonder if she'd bungee jump into a shark cage? It might be worth asking.
Perhaps she will be on the Red Bull stunt team some day, but for now, she's having plenty of fun as a dental assistant. She plans to extend her education to become a dental hygienist.
CJ is fond of sports and enjoys spending as many hours at the lake as possible. Come tell her your best lake stories and she'll one-up you.
Kayla, Dental Hygienist
Bring your brain-melting trivia questions, because Kayla is ready for them. She rarely misses a game of Jeopardy, and she's learned an awful lot of "useful" facts that really only come in handy for this very moment. Don't disappoint her. Keep in mind she speaks a little Spanish and Creole, so for extra bonus points, ask her the question in one of those languages.
Kayla chose (voluntarily) to run for hours during a marathon, yet her favorite movie is "8 Seconds" a film obsessing about riding a devil-beast bull with one hand for a mere eight seconds. So does Kayla really prefer pain slowly or quickly? It's hard to tell from these contradictions.
Whatever you do, don't challenge Kayla to a game of HORSE. She played collegiate basketball at USD and your athletic ego may take a hit after she makes quick work of you. What you can do, however, is invite her to go whitewater rafting. It's her number one buck-list item. She's not looking for a calm, lazy ride though. Instead, it better be on the brink of insanity...like riding a devil-beast bull perhaps?
Kayla's thing is to set goals and be organized. Sounds responsible. She's been perfecting her dental craft for ten years. Sounds like dedication. For these very reasons and more, we are grateful to have her be a part of our team.