Story by Kevin Henry, Editor. Photos by Brian Beard, Creative Images Photography.
Drs. Joseph Maggio and Robert LoGiudice have a unique practice. With a patient base consisting of school-age children from low-income families, developmental disability and special needs patients, and private patients, there is rarely a dull day in the duo’s practice. With the wide range of needs, the new home of Adaptive Dental Associates in Phillipsburg, N.J., was built in September of 2003 with the hope of constructing a practice that would meet their patients’ needs without looking like a dental practice especially built for patients with special needs. Working with Pennsylvania-based dealer A. Leventhal & Sons, the duo feels they accomplished their mission.
“I believe that if you walked into this building and didn’t know what it was, you wouldn’t think it was a special needs dental practice - and that’s exactly what we wanted,” said Dr. Maggio, who has been in practice for 23 years. “There are some subtle differences here and there, and we are very happy with the layout and the physical plan. It has surpassed our expectations.”
Included in the layout is the opportunity for three dentists to each be treating a different kind of patient, without the other patients knowing who was in the next operatory.
“We have one operatory that was built with wide dimensions. In that operatory, we can treat patients who have to be brought in by wheelchair or even by gurney,” Dr. Maggio explained. “While work is being done in there, we can also be treating children and general patients. It works well for everyone because everyone is given privacy. The different blend of patients works well for us. The blending of the different socioeconomic pools works here.”
The treatment of disabled adults is a rarity in the Phillipsburg area. While some may shy away from working with these special needs patients, Adaptive Dental Associates has embraced the challenge.
“There are honestly just a handful of offices in the area who will even see these patients,” Dr. Maggio said. “Basically, until a few years ago, these patients had nowhere to go. When they come into our practice, we often see rampant caries and abscesses. Our goal is to restore them to good health. Many of these patients can’t verbalize the pain that they are suffering, but we can see it in their eyes when we help them. That’s the reward for us. There is such a feeling of satisfaction to know you have helped someone feel better.”
And a great sense of satisfaction is also felt by helping his younger patients who are also in desperate need of care.
“When children come into the practice with a mouth filled with rampant decay, it is particularly distressing,” Dr. Maggio continued. “It is horrible to have to take out decayed molars knowing that they will never be restored. We do everything we can to help them and teach them about oral health. Again, the rewards are there because we are providing care to a segment of the community that, prior to our practice, didn’t receive it.”
While juggling schedules to see all types of patients may seem stressful, Dr. Maggio is quick to point out the rewards outweigh any amount of strife.
“I really like what I do because I get to treat different types of patients,” he said. “We are treating patients who otherwise wouldn’t get dental care and that gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction. We’re lucky to have a wonderful staff that cares as much about the patients as I do.”
Helping Dr. Maggio, Dr. LoGiudice, and their staff members give great service to their patients is a high-tech office. When the doctors knew it was time to build a new office, there was no hesitation that technology would be one of the practice’s cornerstones.
“We knew we were going to be building from the ground up, and we knew we needed technology for the future of our practice,” Dr. Maggio remembered. “Warren Hospital (a local hospital with which Adaptive Dental Associates is affiliated) had electronic charting and digital X-rays, so we felt we needed the same. We jumped in and went digital in everything, including turning our office into a paperless office. It took about two weeks for us to feel comfortable with the digital aspects of the office, but it quickly became second nature.
“The vast majority of our patients come from offices that function with hard film and paper. They see our office, notice that it’s high-tech, and then they’ll go and tell their friends about us. We get a number of referrals simply because patients perceive our office as being high-tech.”
Among the high-tech features of the office are computers and two monitors in every operatory, a Scan-X digital X-ray system, and practice-management, imaging, and charting software from Adstra.
“Our patients appreciate the fact that they are receiving treatment in a state-of-the-art office,” Dr. Maggio said of his 3,000-square-foot, seven-operatory practice. “The patients are very impressed with the digital X-rays and charting systems. Our staff enjoys working with the new equipment and software systems.”
And that enjoyment from patients and staff is the basis for the advice Dr. Maggio would pass on to any other dentist looking to build a new office.
“I would tell him or her to plan for future growth, utilize digital management, imaging, and charting systems, and buy the best equipment he or she could afford,” he said.