Aurelia Byrne’s invention is Filling a Dental Hygiene Need

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT

Aurelia Byrne saw a need in the dental care industry - so she filled it.

After spending her entire professional career in dentistry, the 2016 Concorde - Dallas alumna recognized the need for a "third arm" to aid in dental procedures and to help maintain the well-being of dental professionals to practice in longevity. That's how she came up with an all-new device for use in dental practices. She calls it the AflexX Assist Arm.

"The AflexX is the result of a combination of what I learned in Concorde's program and my own prior experience," Aurelia said.

"Our instructors were focused on proper instrumentation and ergonomics because they care about the health of hygiene professionals. The device is designed to hold the saliva ejector so it doesn't drag like a fish hook out of the patient's mouth or so the patient doesn't have to hold it. It serves for patient comfort as well as for proper ergonomics for practitioners."

How does it work? The AflexX mounts to the back/side of the dental chair and extends outward. The suction snaps into the opposite end and then the flexible tube can be positioned where the hygienist needs it - literally serving as a third arm.

"The AflexX is an amazing device," said Carrie Bostick, RDH. "Most practitioners struggle with numerous discomforts in the head, neck, and hands, but using the AflexX helps eliminate many of these symptoms that are contributed to the repetitive functions one performs on a daily basis."

Dental Hygienist Taylor Anderson agrees. "To have both hands available to scale and use indirect vision with my mouth mirror is amazing," Anderson said. "Not only does this help my posture, it allows me to provide a more comfortable patient experience!"

Aurelia smiled as she mused, "I just thought there should be an easier way."

Her product is currently patent-pending and in soft launch, but it's likely headed to a market near you soon!

A True Entrepreneur

Inventing new tools of the trade is not the only way Aurelia is advancing the dental hygiene field. Her entrepreneurial spirit has led her to several other major contributions to the industry.

"I started young," she said. "I worked as a dental assistant and an instructor for 25 years. That provided a great foundation, but I wanted to take my skills and passions to the next level."

At the age of 40, she enrolled in Concorde's Dental Hygiene program to become more a provider of care. And her new career has been influential in ways besides the invention of the AflexX.

Among those? She recently co-wrote and published a book called Hygiene with Heart that is rooted in the concept that oral health is linked to overall health and that the mouth is a window to the rest of the body. She also hosts a regular podcast called "SimplifiHealth," which provides news and education on the similar theme of an overall wellness approach to dentistry. She was also instrumental in establishing the non-profit Chew Foundation - an organization devoted to helping people get their oral cavity in top shape who might not otherwise have the means due to lack of insurance.

Dr. Jill Wade is Aurelia's partner for all these endeavors (and her employer at Stonebriar Smile Design in Frisco, Texas.) She says Aurelia's commitment is contagious.

"You can't train passion," she said. "Aurelia is a model of how dentistry can be managed at its highest level. She's a reflection of my own passion and entrepreneurialism. Her path has brought a rarity of experience from the range of roles she has played. She's an asset, and I feel like we're blessed to be in dentistry together because we are able to get to know our patients and make a difference in getting them to health!"

Role of Career Training

Aurelia is careful to pay proper respect to the role her career training education played in her success - particularly on the part of her instructors.

"Tammy Fisher and all the faculty at Concorde - Dallas are truly invested in the well-being of dental hygiene practitioners. They care about the long-term effects of the profession due to ergonomic concerns and repetitive motion. Their guidance regarding practitioner well-being was what prompted me to consider there was something lacking in the field. And that led me to the invention of the AflexX."

"I believe in career training," Aurelia said. "People don't realize the accreditation rigor and the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into meeting all standards and providing top-notch training - both in the classroom and in the lab."

"I'm a result of the commitment of the exceptional people Concorde hires to train the next generation of health care professionals. The Dallas Dental Hygiene program boasts an extremely high-end, experienced faculty. They are tremendous!"

Editor's note: To learn more about the AflexX, find out where you can tune in to Aurelia’s podcast or learn how to get your copy of her book, visit her website at www.aflexxassistarm.com.

Want to tell your story? If you would like to share how Concorde played a part in your journey to a new future, please reach out to alumni@concorde.edu.

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