On My Profession
The most rewarding aspect of being a dentist — specifically, of being a pediatric dentist — is the opportunity to help so many people. I enjoy working with many patients each day and guiding children through their treatment while teaching them how to care for their teeth. I try to improve the dental health of each youngster at every appointment, with education, encouragement, and lots of laughter. Those healthy, happy, heartfelt smiles are the best!
I grew up in Louisa, Kentucky, and attended Eastern Kentucky University, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology in 1976. I obtained my Doctorate of Dental Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1983.
Following dental school, I practiced general dentistry in rural Kentucky for 14 years. During that time, I realized I really enjoyed working with children and the importance of establishing a dental home and good oral health habits at an early age. I decided to further my education, this time at Indiana University School of Dentistry, where I completed a rigorous two-year pediatric dental residency from 1997 to 1999.
My residency included in-depth training at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Throughout my specialty residency, I learned how to address the unique and sometimes complex dental needs of infants, children, teens, and individuals with special needs. In addition to tooth development and clinical aspects of a growing mouth, I also received advanced education in behavior management and modification.
In the more than 20 years I have practiced pediatric dentistry, I have approached each patient with the same thought: If this was my child, what would I do to help them? How can I make sure they feel safe, so they know they are heard and valued, and how best can I teach them why oral health is important and how to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy?
That patient-centered approach is a constant in our office. Seeing how each child responds when they realize they are in a secure space and have the full attention of our staff and myself, is incredible. When a kid feels at home, they associate us with positive things, and that allows us to teach them how to keep their smile healthy. Preventive dentistry is my passion and it’s the main focus of my practice.
One of the most exciting aspects of pediatric dentistry is the constant advancement that results from ongoing research. I regularly complete continuing education courses, and attend meetings, seminars, and lectures, in order to stay current on the latest options, new restorative techniques, and emerging trends.
I’m an active member of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, American Dental Association, and Indiana Dental Association. I’m also past president of the Indiana Society of Pediatric Dentistry. These organizations present numerous opportunities for me to learn from the leaders in general dentistry, and the pediatric specialty, and I take advantage of each.
Family time is a priority when I’m not at the office. My wife Lavada and I have been married for more than 45 years. We have three grown children:
- Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in elementary education, a master’s in educational learning and technology, and a degree in dental hygiene. She works in the practice in the business and clinical areas.
- Joseph is currently an anesthesiology resident at the University of Kentucky.
- John Robert is working toward an MD/Ph.D. at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
We also have four wonderful grandchildren.