Introducing the Modern Dental Assistant Editorial Advisory Board

Issue 1

I’m very proud to have these individuals serving as the inaugural members of the Modern Dental Assistant Editorial Advisory Board.

I’m very proud to have these individuals serving as the inaugural members of the Modern Dental Assistant Editorial Advisory Board.

I’ve worked with many of these individuals for years and I know first-hand their passion for dental assistants and advancing the dental assisting profession. I am honored to not only call them champions for dental assistants throughout the nation, but also my friends.

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I will be relying heavily upon them for ideas and input into the editorial direction of Modern Dental Assistant. Together, we will work to make MDA the go-to source for dental assistants to learn how to improve their personal and professional lives and 

fully understand the role they can play in the success of the dental practice as a dental assistant.

Angela (Guanzini) Severance, RDA, CDD

Severance is a national speaker, educator and author with more than 14 years of clinical experience specializing in digital dentistry and CAD/CAM technology along with its utilization and integration into the modern dental practice. She was instrumental in forming a certification program for auxiliaries and technicians, the CDD, Certified in Digital Dentistry program, which provides a recognized advanced competency in the digital space. She is also leading the profession through promotion of NINJA™ Dentistry – "No, I’m Not Just any Assistant”, expanding the utilization of the digital dental team through delegation and advanced education. Learn more at

Heather Hennen, DAII

Heather Hennen is a resident of Raleigh, N.C., and has worn many hats in general and pediatric dental practices. Her positions ranged from Business and Marketing Coordinator to Clinical Dental Assistant full time within the dental practice for the last 15 years. Outside of the practice, she operates as an independent consultant and lecturer on various levels within the field of dentistry. Heather is a published author and both national and international lecturer on various topics ranging from chair side assisting techniques, CAD/CAM (both clinical and practice integration), treatment acceptance and many more. She is also currently serving as a KOL for several manufacturers. In addition, she is also the co-founder of the Fifth Gear programs, which provide hands-on clinical training for doctors and their entire team. 

Heather is currently the Business/Treatment Coordinator and Dental Assistant for Dr. Edmond Suh in Wake Forest, N.C. She is passionate about dentistry and focuses on practical, relevant and contemporary techniques when lecturing or consulting.

Click here to see the latest salary numbers for dental assistants around the country

Tija Hunter is the office manager of Boardwalk Family Dental and has worked there as a dental assistant since 2003. She is a 1981 graduate of the Missouri College and is a member of the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) and the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries (ADIA). She is also the director of the Dental Career Institute dental assisting schools.

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Jena L. Payne is a native of north Georgia and began her dental career by graduating from a CODA Accredited Dental Assisting Program in 1988. She continued her passion for dentistry by graduating with a Dental Hygiene

Degree in 1991. In 2003 she co-founded a dental practice management company, OWA Management Services, LLC, which she continues to lead as CEO. She obtained several credentials in dental assisting by taking DANB exams and has served on the CRFDA DANB Exam Task Force which aided with the development of that board exam. She has achieved Fellowship, and then Mastership Awards within the American Dental Assistants Association. In 2014, she continued her educational journey by finally obtaining her Bachelor of Science Degree in Oral Health Promotion. Jena has held several leadership positions within her professional and personal life. Serving as Speaker of the House for the GDHA multiple terms, President and Vice President respectfully for the GDAA and will be inducted as President of her local Rotary Club in 2015. Her motto: “Keep Smiling, It’s Marketing”. She is honored and proud to now be included in an elite group of dental professionals who make up The Modern Dental Assistant (MDA) Editorial Advisory Board.

Ask a dental assistant: Can cold sterile (Glutaraldehyde) still be used in the dental practice?

Angela D. Smith
Angela D. Smith is an adjunct professor in Dental Assisting at Reynolds Community College in Richmond Virginia. She received her B.S in Biology from High Point University in 1991. After a short career as a clinical laboratory scientist at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, Va., she returned to dentistry, became a Certified Dental Assistant, and, in 2008, she started teaching. In addition to teaching, Ms. Smith is a member of ADAA, a fan of film, TV, and sports, especially baseball and the New York Yankees. She currently resides in the Richmond area with her husband Brian and their dog Copernicus (Copper).

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Sergeant Major (Ret.) Stephen E. Spadaro
Sergeant Major (Ret.) Stephen E. Spadaro was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and entered the United States Army in August of 1978. He attended basic combat training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., followed by advanced individual training as a Dental Specialist at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in business. He served 31 years in the United States Army Dental Command cumulating as the 4th United States Army Dental Command Sergeant Major. He developed the first Federal Trustee position in the ADAA in 2001 and served in that capacity for seven years. He served as president of the ADAA from 2008-2009. He currently serves as Senior Board Member of the Association of Army Dentistry.

Spadaro is a business owner of two businesses in San Antonio, Texas, where he resides with his wife Nancy and daughter Giavanna.

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