By Kevin Henry, Editor; Cover and inside photos by David Bewley, InCamera Studios, Bowling Green, Ohio
The small town of Findlay, Ohio, may not be mentioned in the same breath as Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City when speaking of theater, sports, or nightlife. However, Dr. Gregory Heintschel and his staff are hard at work making sure Findlay is mentioned among the big cities when cosmetic dentistry is considered.
Located 45 minutes south of Toledo, Dr. Heintschel has used extensive training and membership in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) to turn the Blanchard Valley Center for Exceptional Dentistry into a cosmetic oasis in Ohio.
"I think there's a feeling that you have to go to a big city to have great cosmetic dental work done. That's just not the case," Dr. Heintschel said. "Great cosmetic dentistry can be done anywhere. I recently did a full-mouth case on a physician's wife who was going to go to New York to have her dentistry completed. She lives in the area, heard about us, and decided to give us a try. She liked our work and chose to stay local rather than go to New York."
Dr. Heintschel and his staff can treat patients with the latest advancements and techniques thanks to the staff's hunger for learning. Dr. Heintschel and his staff commit themselves to learning two new things per week, and these new techniques and concepts must be documented and shared with the staff.
"This is not a static practice. We are always incorporating new knowledge and new techniques," Dr. Heintschel said. "Everybody can't be taught everything, but knowledge can be gained a little bit at a time and put to good use in our practice."
Working in an ever-changing practice is refreshing, according to Michelle Fantone, who has worked as an assistant at the Blanchard Valley Center for Exceptional Dentistry for 10 years.
"Variety is really one of the things I.enjoy about working here. Being on the cutting edge keeps work interesting," Fantone said. "We're challenged to use our brains and we're expected to strive to be the best dental professionals we can be."
Renee Smarr, who has been an assistant at the Blanchard Valley Center for Exceptional Dentistry for six years, agrees.
"How we practice is constantly changing. Nothing is ever the same, and I.like that," said Smarr, who was a patient of Dr. Heintschel's as a young girl. "Going to LVI (the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies) was a big trip for all of us. Personally, cosmetic dentistry was completely new to me at that point. I had always focused on orthodontics. It's very important to Dr. Heintschel that if he knows something that will help patients, we all know the same procedure. When we're all on the same page, it helps things to run smoothly in all parts of the practice."
"The way that we approach our jobs keeps things fresh for the staff, day in and day out," Dr. Heintschel added. "No one wants to do the same thing, day in and day out. I feel comfortable delegating some tasks to the staff when they reach a comfort level with that task."
Another thing that has constantly changed over the last few years has been the office's address. The Blanchard Valley Center for Exceptional Dentistry is in its third location, thanks to growth of the patient base and marketing.
"We built this site two years ago. It's our third building, but we just kept outgrowing the others," Dr. Heintschel said. "We're currently located on the busiest stretch of the busiest road in Findlay. We paid a high price to have this location, but it was the right move for us. We're in a niche neighborhood where we can market and practice our cosmetic dentistry services."
Dr. Heintschel has used both internal and external marketing to let people in Findlay and throughout Ohio know about his practice. That marketing has included advertising in various forms of media as well as becoming closely involved with the Miss Ohio pageant.
"I contacted the pageant operators to ask them a question, and things just snowballed from there," Dr. Heintschel offered. "I now give a presentation to the contestants, as well as work on some of the contestants. When you do enough cases, the word gets out. It's become a major referral service for the practice."
While the pageant has been a great boost for the practice, Dr. Heintschel is quick to point out that his membership in the AACD was truly the springboard for the practice's success.
"My membership in the AACD helped me establish this as a cosmetic practice," Dr. Heintschel explained. "I had dabbled in cosmetic dentistry before I.joined the AACD in 1996, but then I saw other dentists at these meetings doing what I wanted to do. Joining AACD was really the impetus for my practice turning its focus to cosmetic dentistry."
And part of the success of the practice has come from the relationship built between Dr. Heintschel and his staff.
"We're really like brother and sister around here. We go back and forth with each other, and that makes things fun and keeps the office atmosphere light," Dr. Heintschel said. "Patients are going to be comfortable when they sense that the staff is comfortable."
"There's a lot of laughing in our office. We try to keep things fun," Fantone added. "Everyone in our office has respect for each other. I think every one of us is a team player and we all share the same goals for the practice. It's a great place to work."
Dr. Heintschel feels he has worked hard to find the perfect location and the perfect staff to complement that location. He also believes his team's hard work is paying off.
"I have a neighboring practice down the street where the assistant isn't allowed to converse with the patient. I believe that the assistant really backs up what I do and say in our practice. I also believe that my assistants really sell the case to the patient," Dr. Heintschel said. "The staff is very highly skilled and very highly trained. They have seen cosmetic work completed on our patients and thousands of other cases. Their education and teamwork is imperative to the work that I do."
For more information on Dr. Gregory Heintschel, call (419) 427-1500, e-mail Dr. Heintschel at [email protected], or log on to www.findlaydentist.com.