When I graduated from dental school, I worked at two different practices that were high volume treatment offices. I quickly realized that I didn’t like how people were treated at these practices. It was one of the best learning experiences of my life! The focus of everything was about doing as much dental treatment as possible in the shortest amount of time than it was about customizing a plan to meet the needs of our patients.
This is a key part of my story about how I came to start my own dental practice, and the growing demand in our community that I found needed to be addressed.
Many of the practices are primarily focused on squeezing every nickel and insurance benefit out of patients, rather than providing them with the best possible care. This can lead to long wait times, rushed appointments, and a lack of attention to detail. They are businesses and of course need to make money, but not somewhere I would want to refer my family to. Unfortunately dentistry is going they way of managed healthcare as “big box” and private equity corporations step in and take over.
Frankly, I was disgusted with the way that patients were treated as numbers rather than individuals when I jumped into working for these companies. In these types of offices, patients are often seen as a means to an end, and their needs and concerns are often secondary to the bottom line. I saw things happening with the way treatment was being delivered by “cutting corners” and not following the principles I had so meticulously studied and promised to uphold as a code of ethics in my dental training to ensure the best outcomes possible. I was incredibly discouraged and let down by what I witnessed. Maybe you have felt or experienced something similar as a patient. It just doesn’t feel right!
I was puzzled by the internal conflict I never thought I’d have to experience when I went into real world dentistry. I just wanted to help people by working with my hands to create confidence and lasting smiles. But I could feel my insides churning as I was starting to think “maybe it’s ok” to compromise on the level of service and quality of dentistry like everyone else here seems to be comfortable with? But every day I stayed with those offices, it worsened. I knew that I wanted to provide my patients with the best possible care, but I felt like I was being held back by the way they let “the man” dictate treatment.
After 18 months, I decided to leave those offices and commit to my own, new practice full time. I knew that I wanted to create a practice that was different from the drill-fill-bill offices that I had worked in. I felt both challenged and excited to create a practice that was focused on providing patients with the best possible care, and to design an environment that treated patients with the customized and personal respect and dignity they deserved.
When I was training in dental school, I was taught that the most important thing was to provide quality care that was approved by and in the best interest of you – our patient. But after I graduated and started working in heavy insurance-based practices, I quickly realized that something was wrong. It was backwards. People weren’t the main focus at all! People want a smile they can be confident about. Whether you want that Hollywood Smile, or just to stay healthy and functional. You deserve more.
I have reflected on this quote and what it means to me, and how I can best serve you:
The focus on billing, insurance, and cramming as much as we could into as little time as possible was taking away from the focus on care. People were being treated as numbers, not as individuals. Financial options were not explained well, or not even offered. And the acceptable quality of care and time allowed to do the job right was shocking.
I knew it would be a challenge to continue to build my own path from the ground up, but I was determined to make it work. And most importantly to only work for you – our patient, not for a 3rd party who is untrained in dental care. Sure, we would be (and still are) insurance friendly. But this isn’t medical insurance we are talking about, it’s dental insurance, which isn’t actually insurance at all. It’s a prepaid benefit, that if only followed from A to Z, is a trap that can limit or restrict your options. I also was talked out of offering membership plans to my patients, which I later realized was a bad move. So we created the Pinecrest Smile Club which is in it’s 8th year and better than ever.
I started my own journey with a clear vision of what I wanted it to be. I wanted to create a practice that was patient-centered, that offered high-quality care, and that offered financial and treatment options for everyone who truly cared about their own health and smile. With a very small team of dedicated professionals who shared my vision, this thing took off!
At the same time, I also began to realize that there were way too many bad experiences, painful root canals, overtreated crowns and average quality dentistry taking over our profession. This isn’t how we were trained! Unfortunately, the combination of real world problems and pleasing shareholders drew in way more compromises than I’m comfortable treating you with. You simply deserve more.
We have continually evolved our techniques and technology, but most importantly our philosophy – one that promotes the best outcomes by avoiding aggressive and excessive treatment. Sometimes much treatment is required, but most of the time it can be avoided. As I studied and embraced the principles of Biomimetic Dentistry and developed our PRISM protocol, we began to see even better results, and way fewer root canals. As of this date, we have saved over 13,000 teeth from being lost or root canaled, and we look forward to avoiding 13,000 more!
SO, WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
GOLD STAR 2.0
We are committed to be the opposite of the corporate-style, only about numbers, practices that I had worked for. We are building an environment that will be even more warm and inviting for you, and where my patients like you will be a name and a story, not just another set of teeth.
You have a team of amazing staff, providers and doctors who are dedicated to providing you with the best possible care. We offer you niche Smile Transformation and Oral Health Map preventive services, and have put together some unique and updated membership programs to serve you best (with over an 89% renewal rating for our current members as of today).
But most importantly, you should expect us to always treat you with respect and a meaningful experience. You receive options based on what is best for you, and never a one size fits all approach. As long as you are a patient here, you will always be treated with kindness and compassion, and to be taken care of with a complete and progressive treatment plan.
I’d also like to commit to you that we are launching our Gold Star Service 2.0 program, where your dental team will be upping our game and service to the next level. This will involve a combination of advanced clinical training and guest service that will provide you with the best of both worlds – fantastic care and meaningful relationships.
You are a crucial ingredient in what we do, and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to create at my office. We’ve helped thousands of patients improve their oral health, and we’ve made a real difference in their lives.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope it has inspired you to only accept and receive treatment that is customized and right for you, not what some unnamed CEO in an ivory tower expects you to do.
Dr. Tyler Williams