Discovery Call

Talking Tongue Ties and More With Cheryl Shafer

Dentistry and medicine go together! After over 30 years seeing patients and impacting lives as a dental hygienist, Cheryl Shafer has changed her professional path and is now a Certified Orofacial Myologist focusing on airway, breathing, and tongue function. In this candid conversation, Cheryl addresses her burnout as a hygienist and thoughts for how we should measure the worth of our hygienists, discusses new services we should include in regular exams, and wants us all to remain focused on “The mission that we have is the health and welfare of our patients.”

As practice owners and healthcare providers, our roles continue to evolve regarding what we should be doing for our patients. Cheryl believes that dental offices should be viewed as any other medical specialists treating patients; a dentist is a member of an individual’s medical team. So, it is critical that the care that can and should be given in dental visits is well known. Some of these issues include sleep screening, how people are breathing, if they have sleep apnea, or if they have tongue ties. Cheryl shares her story of ultimately stepping away from being a hygienist and becoming a Myofunctional Therapist focusing on tongues and the impact that tongue issues can have on patients’ overall health. Cheryl recounts a story of how she saved a patient’s life, and says, “We need to value what we do and how we change lives.” Listen to this episode to hear some great ways you can measure the worth of your hygienists and provide higher levels of care for your patients!

Highlights from this episode:

  • Challenges that hygienists face through their daily work
  • Things dentists can do to help hygienists not burn out
  • Recognizing and valuing the impactful work that hygienists and other dental office team members do
  • Changing the perception of dental visits to include more essential medical screening
  • Cheryl’s personal family experience that led her to focusing on the tongue
  • The benefits of releasing a tongue
  • A dentist’s role regarding focusing on tongues and recognizing concerns of the tongue
  • Next steps for dentists to take to help their patients

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~ Laura