From the desk of Allan M. Acton, DDS
Cary Family Dental
This month marks Cary Family Dental’s 14th-year anniversary. Each year I try to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of the office to step back and think about the role of Cary Family Dental in the world. Over the years my vision for this practice has changed tremendously. When I think back to those days in 2003, I could not have imagined the impact that starting this practice would have on myself, my patients, our community and our team members.
Back then it was just me and two employees. My practice administrator, Beth, has been with me since nearly day one and has helped guide our growth along the way. Now we have a total of 6 amazing dentists that I get to work with every day and nearly 30 team members that pull this entire practice together.
Since starting the practice, I have gotten married, had 2 children, moved into a new house and moved the practice to a newer, larger location. It’s hard to believe that my 10-year-old daughter is now closer to leaving home than she was to being born. My how time flies!
What do I want to do with my life?
When I was in high school and college, like many people, I wanted a job where I could help change the world. I think a lot of people have had that same thought and, like me, were not really sure how to make that happen. Through a variety of random events (including 4 years as an analyst for Capital One), I eventually made it to dental school in Richmond, VA. While I was excited about my new career, it took some time before I realized that I could use my skill as a dentist to make an impact on the world.
In the last 14 years I have seen over 13,000 people come through our doors. While each person has their own individual story, I do see patterns emerge. It seems that the biggest ways we make a difference to these patients is by (1) changing the way they feel about their teeth and (2) changing the way they feel about going to the dentist.
Over the past year alone I have seen people look into the mirror at their new teeth and start crying because they were so happy with their new smile. They had hated their teeth for years and now they feel they can smile again. I have also seen people that once had an aversion to going to the dentist because of bad (even horrible) experiences at previous dental offices become transformed after experiencing our care and customer service. They are now able to walk through our doors without fear.
Changing the way people feel about their teeth
There are many people that love their teeth and wouldn’t change anything about them, but there are thousands of people that are self-conscious about the way their teeth look. This has always bothered me because I know the impact that having a confident, attractive smile can have on a person’s relationships, career, and overall health. I recently wrote about the 5 most common things people hate about their teeth. In this article, I discussed how your smile can impact the way you see yourself.
Thankfully, my job allows me to play a part in changing this for the better by helping others see the potential in their smile. Recently I’ve noticed more and more people coming through our doors asking about cosmetic procedures. I admire these people because I know it takes a lot of courage to share their insecurities with a stranger. Not to mention the time and energy they take out of their lives to create something better for themselves.
With this in mind, I wanted to find a way to create more opportunities where people could see the potential in their smile — without disrupting their already busy lifestyle. That is why I started offering the virtual consult. This free smile consult allows patients to fill out a form detailing what they dislike about their smile. They can even upload photographs of themselves to show me what they dislike and what they want to do.
Once I receive their form, I study their case and come up with several options to help the get where they want to be. Then I make and send a video explaining their treatment options, timeline and approximate costs. I’ve found my patients really appreciate the ability to get this information without having to leave the comforts of their home. It also allows for time to share and talk with their loved ones before deciding to move forward. Since I strongly believe there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, I think this is a great opportunity for patients to hear options that will address their needs and work within their budget.
I have an amazing job that allows me to come to work each day invigorated and excited about who I am going to meet and who we can help that day. It’s a lot of fun to be able to work with someone, where in just a few weeks you can change the way they have thought about themselves for years.
I’d love to share some of these stories with you. If you want to see some of our smile makeover patients, download our before and after e-book with photos of our patients who’ve found their perfect smile. I can’t wait for you to see these stories, where people (maybe even you) go from hating their teeth, to loving their smile!
Dr. Allan Acton
Owner & Founder
Cary Family Dental