A nurse educator for 11 years and current critical care float (or traveling) nurse for White
River Medical Center in Batesville, Cheryl Ekenes, 58, is used to taking care of others –
and traveling between Arkansas and Missouri. Last August, Cheryl accepted a one-year
position at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU) and upon completion, moved to
Springfield, Missouri. In fact, while recently living in Horseshoe Bend, she traveled back
every two weeks to see her son who lives in Batesville.
Raised in Izard County, Arkansas, Cheryl likes to fish, duck hunt, camp and ride side-by-
sides with her friends and family. But, for the past several years, issues with TMJ, or the
temporomandibular joint, began to manifest into discomfort of her normal routine. And, with so
much travel on her schedule, she was concerned she wouldn’t be able to find the convenience
she needed in dental care, along with the quality care she wanted.
“I started seeing a TMJ specialist in Jonesboro who recommended braces immediately
following completion of jaw realignment for TMJ. This process took about 2 ½ years,”
Ekenes said. “Towards the end of that time, I received the job offer at MSSU. I wanted to
take it, but was concerned that I would not be able to get braces to continue my treatment
because I would need to be able to have access to my dentist as the need for
appointments arose, wherever I was located at the time.”
Enter Westrock Orthodontics.
“I originally heard about Westrock from my dentist in Horseshoe Bend,” Ekenes said. “He
went to school with Dr. Dake and told me he is the best in the industry. When I met with Dr.
Dake, he assured me it [getting braces to correct my TMJ] was possible because of all the
A renowned expert in the Joplin community, Dr. Mark Dake and his practice were the perfect
choice. He specializes in providing braces and Invisalign® treatment to children, teens and
adults, concentrating on creating an excellent bite that results in a more natural-looking smile.
Dr. Dake is a Missouri native and a founder of Rock Dental Brands and Westrock
Orthodontics, and he has earned Silver Tier status for his treatment in Invisalign®.
It’s been six months [out of an expected two-year process], and Ekenes has visited
Westrock offices in Joplin, West Plains, Mountain Grove, Springfield and now Batesville.
“When I met with Dr. Dake in Joplin, he assured me I could transfer between facilities as
my needs arose,” Ekenes said.
And, with so many locations on her resume of visits, Ekenes has nothing but positive
reviews for each of them. “Dr. David Sander in West Plains [who trained at the University of
Tennessee, which is the oldest orthodontic school in the south] was the first doctor I had, and
he put my braces on,” she says. “That was on a Thursday and the next day he called me
on his day off to ask how I was doing with the braces! I’ve never had a doctor call me on
his day off and ask how I was doing. This spoke volumes to me about the care I could
expect over the next two years,” she says.
With so many office locations, Ekenes has easily been able to navigate her dental care
without stress and with the quality care she was hoping for from the beginning. “What I
love most is that everywhere I’ve been I’ve received expert care,” she says. “I thought I
might end up going to a location that wouldn’t be able to continue where the last place left
off, but that has not been the case at all. It’s excellent care where you need it, and all
facilities maintain the same high standards.”
In fact, it’s been the most convenient option for Ekenes as she continues to maneuver her
job and spend time with family – all the while keeping safe during the COVID-19
“The locations I’ve been to have socially distanced their waiting rooms and provided
masks and sanitizer,” Ekenes says. “The professionals performing my care are gloved,
masked and wear goggles. Since I’m a COVID nurse, I notice if there’s a lapse in
precautions and Westrock is diligent in being safe.”
Many times, potential patients struggle with the decision to move forward, but Ekenes is
absolutely certain the choice is clear. No matter your age or circumstances, Westrock can
“I’m so happy I made the decision to get braces! All my life I have been unhappy with my
smile and suffered from TMJ,” she says. “Braces are the final step in a permanent
correction of my TMJ and my smile is turning into something I am so pleased with. I’ve
found I smile bigger now, even with the braces and bands. My teeth are already much
straighter and the pain from the malalignment is gone.”
If you’re looking for quality dental care at your convenience, a new patient appointment is
super simple and a click or phone call away. Go online and schedule an appointment or
call one of our locations. We can’t wait to see you and your smile soon!