Thursday, January 17th, 2019

S Shopper Stories


MIDGETTE FAMILY DENTISTRY

A new face continues to uphold tried and true values

by Sean Fitzpatrick


Dr. Ryan Shuck and  Dr. Brian Midgette

Dr. Ryan Shuck and Dr. Brian Midgette

From the very first moment that one walks through the front door, one feels an undeniable sense of warmth at Midgette Family Dentistry. The reason for this can be found in the practice’s name.

“It’s been about family since the beginning,” Dr. Brian Midgette says with a glowing smile befitting a dentist. “Nothing’s changed in that regard. It’s all about quality, integrity, and treating our patients as if they are members of our own family.”

The concept of being a family also applies to the staff. For over 30 years, Dr. Midgette has assembled a team of talented, passionate professionals whose sense of kinship is rooted in their shared commitment to the highest standards in dentistry. Dr. James Baker, who has worked as a dentist for more than 40 years, joined the team in 2002. Dr. Kelly Paxton, who has worked in dentistry since 2006, and Dr. Eric Niver, a periodontist (gum specialist), have also provided the sort of exceptional care that patients have come to expect from Midgette Family Dentistry.


“There’s something great
about being a part of something
like Dr. Midgette’s team.
I really love it.
I feel like I’m a part of something bigger.
The environment is great,
and I feel that greatness
spreading out to our community as well.”    
    
—Dr. Ryan Shuck


With their commitment to offering exceptional care, Dr. Midgette and his associates are always looking for other committed professionals to join their team. Dr. Ryan Shuck, formerly of central Virginia’s Colonial Heights, came on board over a year ago, and Dr. Midgette himself is the first to praise the positive impact that he has had on the practice.

“Dr. Shuck is exactly what we look for in a team member,” Dr. Midgette declares with an affirming nod. “He has a great chairside manner. We knew from very early on that he would be a good fit, and he continues to show us just how much he can bring to our community.”

Dr. Shuck, sitting adjacent to Dr. Midgette’s office desk, also nods, his brilliant smile beaming. “I knew early on that this practice was a good fit for me—from the very first phone call,” he declares. “When I first walked in, I found a warm, welcoming feeling here that I hadn’t really felt in other offices,” Dr. Shuck recalls. “There was a real sense of honesty here; everything was upfront. It’s pretty special. Not to mention that the office itself was incredibly well put together.”

Before joining the Midgette family, Dr. Shuck earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan, one of the top dental schools in the country. This was no easy feat given the amount of hard work required to complete the University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s rigorous curriculum.  This was also a surprising accomplishment given that originally Dr. Shuck attended Christopher Newport University, graduating with a B.S. in Business Administration Management.

“I liked business school, but I wasn’t a big fan of the business hierarchy and everything else that usually comes with it,” Dr. Shuck recollects. “While I was an undergrad here in Hampton Roads, my brother (a dentist practicing in Williamsburg) and I got involved with Missions of Mercy—a group that was working to help people in need.”


Drs. Kelly Paxton, Brian Midgette and James Baker <BR> Photo by The Girl Tyler

Drs. Kelly Paxton, Brian Midgette and James Baker
Photo by The Girl Tyler


With help from the Virginia Dental Association and Virginia Commonwealth University’s dental school, Missions of Mercy offers free dental care to people in need throughout Virginia. Dr. Shuck became intrigued with dentistry when he and his brother provided dental services during one of the organization’s events on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.

“In seeing what Missions of Mercy did for the community, my eyes were opened to just how much need is out there.” Dr. Shuck recalls. “We helped over twenty people who were suffering because of severe tooth decay.”

While an undergrad at CNU, Dr. Shuck fell in love with Hampton Roads—due in no small part to his love of the ocean and surfing. He was able to later indulge that love while completing his pre-dental curriculum at San Diego State University. When not studying or hitting the waves, he served as marketing director for the student dental association and volunteered in the local community.

“While I lived in San Diego, I had the great opportunity of volunteering at Saint Leo Dental Clinic, providing dental care and treatment to underserved women and children,” Dr. Shuck reveals. “So many children were in need of help. And there were women just coming out of prison who needed dental work. It’s sad, but there are more people than we realize who are not getting the medical care that they need.”

With that experience volunteering on the frontline, Dr. Shuck made it his personal mission to educate young and old about the importance of dental hygiene and how it can prevent unneeded suffering.

“Some people complain that they never see the dentist,” Dr. Shuck explains. “It’s a major problem since many harmful ailments can arise from not seeing a dentist periodically. Dry mouth, for example, is a major issue for people—and much of it can be caused by the medications that they are taking. But there are ways to prevent it.”

One of Midgette Family Dentistry’s goals is to help more people understand the necessity of preventative care—care that not only includes a daily at-home regimen of brushing and flossing, but also routine dental checkups.

 “Your mouth is like a construction site,” Dr. Shuck explains. “Sometimes older buildings need some work, and to do that work you need to clear out the concrete. Home care—mainly done by brushing your teeth with fluoride toothpaste—breaks down the soft concrete. But to get rid of the hard concrete, you have to visit your dentist’s office. That way, your mouth stays clean and healthy.”

Dr. Shuck offers another analogy: “When a car has been driven a few thousand miles, it makes sense to check the oil and wax the hood. The same is true of dental care. A trip to the dentist’s office should be as routine as a physical exam. Coming in for a checkup can prevent cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, and much more. If a dentist can catch a problem early, future work—which could be more expensive—is avoided and the patient is kept happy and healthy.”


Dr. Ryan Shuck,  who recently joined the team at Midgette Family Dentistry, <BR>was attracted to the practice by its atmosphere of familial warmth and openness.

Dr. Ryan Shuck, who recently joined the team at Midgette Family Dentistry,
was attracted to the practice by its atmosphere of familial warmth and openness.

“We know that some people get very worried about coming to see the dentist,” Dr. Midgette observes. “That’s why we strive to make our patients feel comfortable. We have a very sensitive staff who are able to recognize when someone may have concerns. Dr. Shuck absolutely has that skill, which is so special because it’s not something one can learn by taking a class.”

Dr. Shuck always takes the extra step of making sure that his patients are comfortable and at ease, and he is always ready to address any concerns they might have regarding whatever dental work they may be having done.

 “At the end of the day, what it’s all about—before even being a dentist—is family,” Dr. Shuck insists. “We always make an effort to listen to our patients; to make sure that they’re comfortable; to pinpoint what may be giving them trouble, and, above all, to treat them as if they are family. We’re making a concentrated effort to turn the dentist’s office into a place where people will want to come.”

Along with the hard work of trusted professionals like Dr. Midgette and Dr. Shuck, there have been huge strides in the fields of medical technology which not only improve the overall experience of visiting the dentist’s office, but also improve one’s prospects for good overall dental health. The sheer number of innovations in recent years has been staggering.

Computerized technology revolutionized dentistry as a whole, making the process of scanning a patient’s mouth easier; procedures which before could have taken multiple appointments may now be completed in a single day. Teeth which have been badly broken down can receive a crown in a single appointment. Cavities can also be filled just as quickly. Root canals can be performed more easily, quickly and comfortably.

Speaking of comfort, some may remember (perhaps those who have not visited their dentist in years) an anesthetic that dentists once used that went by the name of Novocain.

 “Oh, that,” Dr. Midgette says, shaking his head with a chuckle. “Well, I can assure everyone that anesthetic hasn’t been used in years. We have much better anesthetics now. They become active much more quickly, and they are much better at making procedures painless.”


“We know that some people
get very worried
about coming to see the dentist...
We have a very sensitive staff
who are able to recognize
when someone may have concerns.
Dr. Shuck absolutely has that skill,
which is so special
because it’s not something
one can learn by taking a class.”

—Dr. Brian Midgette


Overall progress in technology extends even further to the taking of x-rays.

 “Dentists once produced x-rays using film,” Dr. Shuck notes. “Now, x-rays are processed through a computer. This new process is remarkably efficient, providing better diagnostics than film ever could, and reducing exposure to the harmful elements found in the older technology.”

Each advance in technology has raised overall standards in dentistry. Employing the latest innovations as well as the talents of a variety of specialists, the Midgette Family Dentistry team can take care of any of their patient’s dental needs.


Midgette Family Dentistry’s office in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake.

Midgette Family Dentistry’s office in the Western Branch area of Chesapeake.


 “It’s really something.” Dr. Shuck says excitedly. “In the area of orthodontics, we can apply Invisalign to straighten teeth. In the area of periodontics, our colleague Dr. Niver can improve the structure of people’s teeth and treat gums—and, of course, we can clean teeth more easily than ever before. We provide all of this and more all under one roof, which makes things so much more convenient for our patients.”

 “All of this new technology has led to something that we may now take for granted,” Dr. Midgette points out. “Before the remarkable techniques we use today, around 30 years ago, people simply lost their teeth as they aged; their teeth would fall out! It’s incredible how many ailments we are now able to prevent.”

However, a new challenge has arisen because of technological innovation. Since people are living so much longer and not losing their teeth as they age, new hurdles have arisen.

Many people now deal with age-related conditions such as dry mouth (in which the mouth cannot produce enough saliva), gum disease, cavities, and teeth crowding toward the front of the mouth. Yet Midgette’s family of professionals is always adapting to new challenges. Through procedures such as Invisalign, the dentistry can correct this crowding, ensuring that one’s smile remains in tip-top shape.

Just as important as the improvements in technologies and treatments are the commitment and dedication at the heart of Midgette’s family-focused mission. Dr. Midgette and his team know that by working together with caring professionals such as Dr. Shuck, they will continue to maintain an atmosphere of goodwill and familial affection in which the best interests of their patients will always come first.

“There’s something great about being a part of something like Dr. Midgette’s team,” Dr. Shuck concludes with a smile. “I really love it. I feel like I’m a part of something bigger. The environment is great, and I feel that greatness spreading out to our community as well.”

“That’s absolutely right.” Dr. Midgette responds. “That’s what it will always be for us. Making sure we’re able to treat people right and ensure they stay healthy.”




Midgette Family Dentistry

3326 Taylor Road
Chesapeake, VA 23321

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