Meet Michelle, your TePe Educator
Hi, my name is Michelle Strange, and I’ll be your guide on all things TePe. I’m here to be a resource for hygienists and dentists and to support patients in taking the best care of their teeth they can.
But first, a little background on my history with TePe and how I became so incredibly passionate about these products.
I am a born and raised southern girl from Charleston, SC. I have a love for dentistry and my dental hygiene career. A career that is fueled by learning new techniques, discovering new products and the feeling you get when a patient FINALLY “gets it!” I have been in the dental field since 2000. I began as an on-the-job trained orthodontic assistant with my childhood orthodontist. I graduated as a dental hygienist in 2005 in Charleston, SC. I went straight into Periodontics where I was a hygienist and a surgical assistant. In 2008, I graduated from The Medical University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s in Health Science. That year, I became an adjunct faculty member at Trident Technical College, my alma mater. This heightened my desire to further my education. In 2012, I graduated from Fones School of Dental Hygiene (yes, the original hygiene school where Mrs. Irene Newman graduated) with my Master’s in Dental Hygiene Education.
Now, this list of degrees may seem like I had my future all planned out, but that is just not the case. As a student trying to finish my prerequisites, if you had asked whether I saw myself completing a Master’s degree in dental hygiene I would have laughed and said something ridiculous like, “why do I have to take all these classes to just clean teeth”. I had no idea the passion I would develop for this field. The more I understood the science behind dentistry and the connection to a person’s overall health, the more I craved to learn.
My career with TePe formed organically. When I was a hygienist and surgical assistant, I was able to see a patient in hygiene and then see them during their surgical procedure. This taught me so much as a young hygienist. I could see where I missed calculus because the tissue was flapped and I could comprehend what I was feeling (or not feeling) when I scaled. I learned how to maneuver my instrument to remove the calculus during those “deep cleanings.” This made me a very strong scaler. After I left this office and began a full-time hygiene schedule at another periodontal office, I learned that it really didn’t matter if I was the best scaler in the history of dental hygiene. If I didn’t teach my patients, demonstrate the proper home care aids, and find a way to be a motivator and not be seen as a “nagger” then the patient would never be successful. What I did while they were in the chair only took them so far, it was what I taught them that made the difference. The typical “teach them how to fish” scenario, but in this case it was “brush a person’s teeth and their teeth are clean for a day; teach them how to brush and their teeth are clean for a lifetime.”
This is when I knew I was definitely on “Team TePe.” I was using the product for about 6 years, religiously, and with much success and the most compliance from patients I had ever received with a product. I believed in these products so much that I demanded they give me a position! Well, “demand” might be an exaggeration, but I am so glad they did!
I am happy to be here as a resource for you and your office. I know the product, I use the product, and I have tried every way possible to find what works best for the client. If you have questions, please send them in. I am here to help!