Dr. Joe, congratulations on your 30-year anniversary as a dentist. The community recently named your practice, Aspen Grove Dental, top in the area. To what do you attribute your long-standing success?
My philosophy has always been to treat people like you want to be treated and that has really resonated with the community. Now, I find myself treating kids of kids I treated when they were young. I’ve had an amazing career. I am so blessed that I’ve been able to do what I love for so many years.
What do you love best about being a dentist?
That’s easy. I get to make a difference in people’s lives every day. No one should have to suffer self-esteem issues because of a bad smile and no one should have to suffer from the pain bad teeth can cause. My work takes all that out of the picture and gives people their smiles back. What could be more rewarding than that?
What surprises you after all these years?
Thirty years ago, Franklin was a small community, independent of Nashville. In downtown Franklin, it was the norm for businesses to be closed on Saturdays and Wednesday afternoons. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now it’s a big metropolitan area. It’s been an incredible ride to be part of that growth.
That growth has changed the mix of people that we serve. Right now, something like 82 new people move into Franklin every day and we’re seeing more young families than ever. Because we’re so established, people know they can trust us and that makes us feel like a valuable part of the community.
What made you want to become a dentist?
In the small town in Tennessee where I grew up, we had a family friend who was the dentist in our small community. I really respected that man. I loved his personality and his ability to interact with all kinds of people. I thought, “That’s the kind of person I want to be.” It all started there.
Of course, dentistry was a lot different back then. It was more about treating problems. My friend was a sole proprietor with a small office and one chair that only opened when someone needed help. The rest of the time, he served the community in other capacities.
Today at Aspen Grove Dental, we’re more prevention-oriented so people visit more regularly and more often. When we’d been established here for a while, my childhood dentist came to visit me. He was stunned by the amount of traffic that flowed through our doors.
What are you most fortunate for?
Our patients have very high dental IQs. They are concerned with living healthy lives and having a healthy smile is a big part of that. They are really doing their research and want to do the best they can to maintain their oral health. In the early years, people waited until there was a problem before they came to the dentist. What it all means is I get to do more of the best type of dentistry on people – the kind that prevents pain and makes them feel good.
Of course, we realize that everyone’s different and some people don’t come to the dentist regularly for a lot of reasons.They may not feel they can afford it or they may just be afraid to come. We don’t shame anyone who walks through our doors. No matter what the situation is. We’re just here to help.
What’s in the future for you and Aspen Grove Dental? What are you excited about?
Again, my goal is to always treat my patients the way I want to be treated and even I don’t want to spend a lot of time at the dentist’s office! That’s why I’m so excited about the advances that are making it possible for us to deliver faster and more effective dentistry.
We just purchased a new machine that makes ceramic crowns. It will allow us to deliver same-day dentistry for many of our patients who need crowns because we can make them in minutes — right on site! We had one a few years ago but the industry needed time for the technology to mature. Now, it’s really been proven and the materials are much better.
The science of dentistry just keeps getting better. In addition to the crown maker, we’re on the forefront of some fantastic diagnostic capabilities that allow us to better place new implants for more stability and comfort.
This is an exciting time to be in the dental field. One thing’s for sure; the next thirty years promise to be as exciting as the first.