Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

Shopper Client Stories


MIDGETTE FAMILY DENTISTRY

Where every patient is a welcomed neighbor

by Rob Lauer


Drs. Ryan Shuck, Brian Midgette, James Baker, and Kelly Paxton

Drs. Ryan Shuck, Brian Midgette, James Baker, and Kelly Paxton

It is a beautiful summer day in the neighborhood of Western Branch, the type that inspires a spring in one's step and smiles to passers-by. That sunny disposition doesn't fade even as one strolls toward shaded front doors of Midgette Family Dentistry on Taylor Road. Stepping inside, one is greeted with a smile from the receptionist that is so warm one might conclude the atmosphere inside this dental office is sunny regardless of the weather outside.

"There is a special air to this office," Dr. Kelly Paxton concedes. "It hit me when I first walked through the door. The atmosphere is relaxed, friendly, and welcoming. It feels like home. When I moved to Hampton Roads from Michigan, I interviewed with several dental offices. What made Midgette Family Dentistry stand out was the community feeling here. I was also impressed by the fact that the practice embraces the latest technology and innovations."

Dr. Paxton has been with the practice for 13 years and is committed to building upon its outstanding reputation. As she shares her first impressions of the practice with a number of her colleagues, her remarks draw nods from all present.

"It's been a little over a year since I joined the practice," Dr. Ryan Shuck adds," but the sense of being part of a community- a family- is very powerful here. Everyone is so friendly; we all get along so well. And yes, the technology that we use here is top-notch."


"There is a special air to this office.
It hit me when I first
walked through the door.
The atmosphere is relaxed,
friendly, and welcoming.
It feels like home."

- Dr. Kelly Paxton


Dr. James W. Baker, who recently began his forty-third year in dentistry, agrees: "We work well together. It's so good to have colleagues who can evaluate my work and offer constructive criticism. We truly work together as a team, and our patients come here because of the services that we provide- not just implants and crowns, but also Invisalign and dentures. And we treat sleep apnea- a condition that many general dentists do not treat. We truly are a comprehensive dental practice."

Dr. Brian P. Midgette, the founder of the practice, listens to his colleagues with a warm, satisfied smile. "I definitely feel we have the most loyal patients imaginable," he says. "Many have been with us since we first opened nearly three decades ago. A large number of our new patients come to us because they have been recommended by people we've been treating for years. When our patients say so many nice things about us, we feel that we must be doing something right."


"The sense of being part of a community- a family- is very powerful here.
Everyone is so friendly;
we all get along so well.
And yes, the technology that we use here
is top-notch."

- Dr. Ryan Shuck


"We are a true community dental practice," staff-member Karen DeJesus observes. "We've been located here in Western Branch since first opening. Not only do we have long-term relationships with many of our patients, but now we also treat their children and their grandchildren. We're a highly visible part of the local neighborhood. Nearly every patient who steps into our waiting room ends up seeing someone they know."

Karen is very familiar with the neighborhood. Having grown up in Western Branch, her connection with Dr. Midgette extends back to their teenage years.

"Dr. Midgette and I were students at Western Branch High School at the same time, though he was a year behind me," Karen explains. "I remember him as being quiet, studious, and very conscientious. Even as a kid, he carried himself very much as he does today.

"Years later, when I heard that he had opened a practice here, I thought it would be awesome to work there," she continues. "I applied to work as a dental assistant, and during my first three years here, that is what I did. That was 17 years ago. Now, having worked here that long, I tend to know what needs to be done before others do. So, I've moved from being a dental assistant to being known as the Office Guru," she says with a laugh. "I do whatever needs to be done."

Hygienist and Western Branch native, Cathy Gray, has also enjoyed a long association with Dr. Midgette. 

"When I was growing up, Dr. Midgette was my family's dentist," Cathy shares. "I thought he was the most wonderful dentist in the world, so I always enjoyed coming here for checkups. When I was in high school, I decided to become a dental hygienist. Once I was certified, I found out that there was an opening in this office. I wanted to work in Western Branch, so I applied and was hired. That was 20 years ago."

Like other members of the staff, Cathy loves the fact that Midgette Family Dentistry enjoys such visibility in the local community. "Western Branch is my neighborhood, so I know most of our patients," she says. "When I go to the grocery store, I usually run into some of them. It's wonderful to work somewhere that re-enforces such a strong connection with my neighbors."

Given the deep connection the doctors and staff feel toward one another and the local community, it's hard to imagine anyone being afraid of visiting this particular dental office. But the doctors are quick to say that they completely understand why so many people dread visiting a dentist.


"When I was growing up,
Dr. Midgette was my family's dentist.
I thought he was
the most wonderful dentist in the world,
so I always enjoyed coming here...
When I was in high school,
I decided to become a dental hygienist."

- Cathy Gray


"A lot of anxieties stem from experiences during childhood," Dr. Midgette explains. "Patients of a certain age might recall having cavities filled when they were children, years before most dentists began using Novocain to prevent pain. Economics may also have something to do with it. If, when growing up, the cost kept one from going to the dentist except when having a toothache, it only stands to reason that going to the dentist would be associated with pain."

"Environment is also a factor," Dr. Shuck offers. "We're in a patient's personal space. That can be very intimidating for some people, even when just cleaning their teeth. Some people have a fear of choking. Others get nervous about dentists coming at them with drills. A lot of people assume that a procedure is going to hurt- before, during, and after.  But honestly, nowadays, almost any dental procedure is relatively pain-free. We work to make a visit to our office as enjoyable as possible."


"I definitely feel we have the most loyal patients imaginable...
When our patients say so many nice things about us,
we feel that we must be doing something right."

- Dr. Brian P. Midgette


"We take time to talk to our patients and explain what we're going to do each step of the way," Dr. Paxton adds. "We encourage them to ask questions- and we ask them questions as well. Do they have any fears? Are there things that make them nervous? The sound of a dental drill scares a lot of people. If the sounds of a dental office bother a patient, they can wear earphones and listen to music. Some people worry about getting a shot of Novocain, so we reassure them that we will make that shot as quick and painless as possible."


The staff of Midgette Family Dentistry <BR>Photos by Laurie Bateman

The staff of Midgette Family Dentistry
Photos by Laurie Bateman


"When it comes to easing a patient's concerns, I have to praise Dr. Midgette," Karen interjects. "Based on the stories that some patients have shared with us, many of their fears are completely understandable. But he always assures them that he'll take good care of them. They know that he'll always try to make them comfortable. And he is such a good educator. It is a real pleasure to listen to him talk with his patients on their level- using terminology they understand to explain complex dental concepts."


"Personally, one meaningful aspect
of dentistry is the way cosmetic dentistry
can change someone's life.
When we're able to give someone
 a smile that they can be proud of,
their entire outlook on life can change."

- Dr. James W. Baker


Cathy nods in agreement, adding, "I really admire all of the doctors here. When they explain things to patients, they make it all sound so easy. I can see the patients relax as they begin to understand whatever procedure they are having done."

When asked how patients can avoid the kinds of dental emergencies that cause fear and panic, the doctors are quick to give answers.

"First off, brush and floss daily," Dr. Shuck says, adding with a laugh: "Whenever patients ask if they should floss, I always say, "You only need to floss the teeth you want to keep.'"

"Have regular dental exams every six months," Dr. Midgette says. "And allow us to take x-rays so that we can see what is happening in your teeth and under the gum line. Some people worry about the cost, but regular checkups and x-rays can save people thousands of dollars in the long run."


"People often think that if they're not feeling any dental pain, they don't need to see a dentist," Dr. Paxton explains. "The fact is most cavities don't cause pain until it's time for a root canal. We work to prevent cavities from happening in the first place."

"Eliminating sugar from one's diet- especially in sodas- is the most obvious way to prevent cavities," Dr. Baker interjects. "Everyone knows that.  But people also need to be careful with coffee and tea- even if they just add cream or milk, both of which contain complex sugars. When we put those in coffee and tea, we need to wash out our mouths with water as soon as we're finished drinking them."

"Diet soft drinks are sugar-free, but they're also acidic," Dr. Paxton notes. "So are certain nutritional foods, such as citrus fruits. Some people drink a shot of apple cider vinegar each day for their health, but vinegar coats the mouth in acid. People should always drink some water after consuming acidic foods and drink; that washes the acid off of the teeth. People don't realize that tooth decay is much more about what they are putting in their mouth than it is genetics."

"People should also avoid internet fads regarding dental care," Dr. Shuck says. "My rule of thumb is this: if you've read it online, don't do it. You can't Google search your way to dental health."

"Nothing can replace a dental exam," Dr. Baker insists. "The only way to know what is going on in one's mouth is to have a dentist perform an exam."

"That personal connection with our patients is what makes our work so rewarding," he continues. "During my 43 years in dentistry, I've seen some astounding advancements. It's been a great career, but I'm still practicing because I love interacting with my patients. As long as it's fun and I can serve others, I'm going to keep going."

When asked what he considers the most meaningful aspect of dentistry, Dr. Baker pauses for a moment. "Personally, one meaningful aspect of dentistry is the way cosmetic dentistry can change someone's life," he replies. "When we're able to give someone a smile that they can be proud of, their entire outlook on life can change."


"When it comes
to easing a patient's concerns,
I have to praise Dr. Midgette...
he is such a good educator.
It is a real pleasure to listen to him
talk with his patients on their level-
using terminology they understand
to explain complex dental concepts."

- Karen DeJesus


Dr. Shuck agrees: "A lot of people have had missing teeth for so long that they don't realize how it has affected them socially. I recently had a patient crying in my chair because she realized how her self-consciousness regarding teeth had negatively affected her self-esteem and her interactions with others. But aside from the social aspect, missing teeth affect our health. For every tooth that is lost, a person's ability to chew and digest food is compromised."

When it comes to their patient's dental health, compromise is never an option for Midgette Family Dentistry's dedicated team.

"Dr. Midgette founded this practice on very high standards," Karen insists. "He always maintains his standards. He doesn't let anyone sway him. Growing up in this neighborhood, he knows a lot of people, but he treats his friends the same way he treats a patient who he's meeting for the first time."

"We treat our patients like family," Dr. Paxton says. "I never recommend a procedure  or treatment for anyone without first asking myself, "If this was my child or my mother, would I do this?' We perform the dental procedures that our patients need and nothing more. There are plenty of cavities out there. We don't need to make up problems to treat."

Such good-natured, forthright honesty and concern have made Midgette Family Dentistry a trusted presence in Western Branch for over thirty years. If these doctors and their dedicated staff have their way, this Chesapeake neighborhood will be filled with beautiful, healthy smiles for years to come.




Midgette Family Dentistry

3326 Taylor Road
Chesapeake, VA 23321

757-483-4700
http://www.midgettefamilydentistry.com