MT&A Interviews Local Small Business: Fenton Family Dentistry
Lee: Hello, my name is Lee Jackson from MT&A. This is Jessica Neiva. I think I spelled it wrong.
Lee: N-I-E-V-A. Thank you for allowing us to come interview you today.
Jessica: Oh my pleasure! I’m happy to participate!
Lee: So what made you decide to become a dentist?
Jessica: I’m a dentist. And I decided to become a dentist because I love working with my hands. Plus the art and the science. Dentistry allows me to combine the art and the science aspects. I’m Deaf, and so I love the one on one interaction I can have as a doctor with my patients.
Lee: Where did you attend dentistry school?
Jessica: I went to the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Dentistry. And I think I graduated in 2001.
Lee: So you started in Hazelwood, MO. And what was the name of your practice there?
Jessica: Dental Care for Kids.
Lee: And you worked there for just a short time?
Jessica: I worked there for about 3-4 years before I opened my own private practice.
Lee: When you worked there once you finished dental school, college, did you feel you got a lot of support from both the Deaf and Hearing Communities?
Jessica: I guess some, not a lot compared to now. But I was just getting started. I had to get my feet wet get comfortable. I had to get comfortable with my skills and confident in my dental work. So not much in the beginning but mostly that was because of me.
Lee: You moved from Hazelwood to open this business Fenton Family Dentistry. When did you make that move and how has it grown?
Jessica: I opened this office in the Fall of 2008 because I wanted my own practice so I could… because I wanted the best for my patients and to serve the Deaf Community as well.
Lee: What makes this office, your office, different than others?
Jessica: A few things. I am Deaf so I am able to communicate with Deaf individuals and the Community. I am very comfortable with technology. So I keep up on the latest dental materials and technology. I also do implants which I didn’t learn at dental school, but I learned it along the way throughout my time as a dentist. I’m very educated.
In my own practice, I try to create a family environment with my staff, with my patients. I try to have a family-feel in the office so each individual feels like they are part of the family, not just a number. And I try to know each individual so I can help them make the best decisions for their oral health.
Lee: She’s one of the best dentists. She’s my dentist, too. Yay!
Do other dental offices affect your office?
Jessica: Oh, like competition? No, no. We stay very, very busy.
Lee: I noticed you use the monitor here to communicate with your Deaf patients. Do you use anything else like this in the office?
Jessica: For communication with Deaf patients, we have email and text messaging. We’re also open to other Deaf patients who call us through VP, videophone. I try to educate my staff on how to communicate with each Deaf patient.
Lee: What are the top three skills you need in order to be a successful dentist?
Jessica: Um, I think one is communication with your patients and educate them about the importance of good dental health. The second would be, like I said earlier, technology. Dentistry is made really simple now, not complicated or hard like the old days. We have x-ray machines that take digital x-rays. They take 18 pictures in 2 minutes. Really fast. So yeah, just keeping up with technology. Third is make the patients feel comfortable, have trust in me and trust in my staff.
Lee: Who has been your inspiration?
Jessica: I would say my husband. He always pushes me, leads me, pushes me to be better, to have a good day. He inspires me to always…He always says, oh every day’s my birthday. That’s how he lives life so I’m trying to follow that.
Lee: Do you have any ‘satisfied customers’ who come here?
Jessica: Yes, a lot.
Lee: Could you share one?
Jessica: I have one patient who drives 3 hours to see me. She comes here every 4 months for a cleaning and checkup.
Lee: I drive 1 hour!
Jessica: Haha, yes! She feels comfortable with me; and I have an understanding of her health, her history. When she comes it’s like family with lots of hugging and we just have a good time.
Lee: How can other people contact you? Do you have a website or a Facebook?
Jessica: Yes, we have both a website and Facebook. We post a lot on Facebook so people can see what we are like. We have a very fun office. But we work very, very hard.
Lee: I’ve noticed that every time I come here. It’s a lot of fun. Like you’ll dress in Cardinals shirts, Blues shirts, and now you’re in Christmas shirts.
Jessica: Yes, Christmas shirts.
Lee: Well thank you for allowing us to come interview you!
Jessica: Absolutely. Thank you. Keep smiling!