Hello David! Thank you for taking some time out of your schedule to talk to us.

Q: What brought you to this conference?

I’m currently in the early planning stages for a non-profit foundation dealing with pediatric dentistry and this conference has given me some remarkable insights into the European dental system and preventive care for children.

Q: What made you become a dentist?

Actually, this was all my mothers fault. She noticed early on that I was very good with my hands and so when the time came to decide which way to go after college, she always encouraged me to get good grades and work hard on my term papers to be able to study dentistry. I think all she wanted was a dentist in the family.

Q: And did you follow her advice?

Well, obviously I did. I finished college College of Charleston and continued my education there, at the Medical University of SC where I graduated as a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 1985.

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Q: What do you like most about being a dentist?

As corny as it might sound, I love all of it. I consider myself blessed to wake up in the morning to work in a profession I truly love and I am able to help my patients. Dentistry to me is like a canvas to an artist. I enjoy the creative process of being a dentist, the craftsmanship and the challenges that I have to face every day. It’s always new, never boring and it continuously challenges me to be on top of my game.

Q: Please describe for our readers the two most important customer service concepts you’ve implemented in your practice.

Number 1: We Listen! Oftentimes patients feel rushed and ignored when they go to a doctor’s office? We understand that feeling. That’s why, at our office, we make it a daily commitment to listen to our patients needs. Come and visit us, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Number 2: “We are gentle!” The most important issue in our approach to dentistry is gentleness. The main factor is taking time to be gentle and careful. We’re not under any constraints to rush through a certain quota of patients in order to meet our “production goal”. We like to take our time, do a terrific job on your teeth, and get to know you as a patient and as a friend. It’s important that you, as the client, have the ultimate decision to choose to (1) do nothing, (2) to do some of the dentistry we recommend, or (3) to complete all of the fine dentistry that we feel is ideal for you!”

Q: David, I know you are happily married and a father of three. I assume my next question is one, you have asked yourself a few times over the years. Many children are frightened to go to the dentist. What should parents do to reduce the anxiety and the fear in their kids?

My best advice is very simple: “Don’t wait until it hurts!” in other words, bring children for preventive care, let them experience a visit to the dentist as something positive, non-threatening and even humorous or entertaining. Try, under all circumstances, to be positive about it. Under no circumstances relate to your own experiences as painful, hurting or even nightmarish.

dr. CottyQ: That’s a good point right there, David. It’s not only the children that are afraid of the visit to the dentist. There are many adults that freak just thinking about it. How does your practice deal with fear in adult patients?

First of all my staff has received specialized training for situations like the one you described. We are prepared to treat patients, adult or juvenile, with any fear level. The main tools we use to overcome these fears are different sedation methods, reducing anxiety and limiting pain to a point where the patient may not even remember going to the dentist. We have pills that the patient can take while the are still at home and this will help to get him “through the door”.

We can follow up with conscious sedation methods that are safe and very effective and oftentimes help patients to overcome their anxieties for good. We had one patient who used the full “anxiety package” once and decided after that, that visiting the dentist wasn’t half as bad as she thought. She never needed any special sedation again.

Q: “Going to the dentist is way too expensive!” – how do you respond to a remark like that?

Once again, it’s all about timing. If you want to avoid high dental costs, make dental hygiene and preventive visits to your dentist the cornerstones of your dental routine.

Preventive dentistry is not costly. Just look at our EasySmile program. Get all the preventive treatments for a year, for less than a cup of coffee a day. That’s a small price to pay knowing you can avoid high bills and unforeseen problems in the future. It’s sad to see that some people invest more money in having their car detailed than into their dental hygiene and prevention.

Q: What is your take on the new wave of “dental makeovers”?

Well, what you see on TV is usually the top of the line, A+ treatment. In a poker round you would say: “I’m all in!” That being said, targeted dental makeovers are a viable option for many patients, because they can make a big difference in the life of the individual person. If you look into cosmetic procedures like veneers, bleaching or orthodontics there are numerous financing options available that allow almost everyone to pursue this route.

Q: You told us about your love for dentistry. Here’s a follow-up question for you. If you could take some time off to learn something new in the field of dentistry, what topic would you like to pursue?

I plan to learn more in the area of dental implants. Implants have evolved from an experimental procedure to a fully recognized and predictable treatment option. Although there are many ways to replace crowns on teeth, only dental implants can replace the entire tooth, including both crown and root. Dental implants look, feel and function like your own natural teeth, and they eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures.

Q: Last question David. What does a “work-loving” dentist do for relaxation?

I know you’ll laugh when I tell you – it’s such a cliché. I love to play golf. But I played golf even before I became a dentist. I actually thought at one time I could become a pro, but after Tiger Woods entered the game I decided to follow my moms advice (laughs).

Thank you for this interview.

Education
  • Bachelor of Science, College of Charleston
  • Doctorate of Dental Medicine, Medical University of SC
  • Advanced Training in Implant Placement at Implant Seminars – Dr. Arun Garg
  • Comprehensive Orthodontic Training at Progressive Orthodontics
Training and Certifications
    • Dental Implants
    • Orthodontics
    • Invisalign
    • Lumineers
    • Endodontics
    • Periodontics
    • Sedation Dentistry – DOCS Certified
Professional Memberships
      • American Dental Association (ADA)
      • American Orthodontic Society
      • International Dental Implant Association
      • North Carolina Dental Society
      • Isothermal Dental Society (Past President)
      • Greenville County Dental Society
      • Crown Council
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