Dentistry in Ashland reflects the community. The Ashland Directory lists 25 plus 2 orthodontists. Statistically a community has to have 1500 – 2000 potential patients per dentist. Ashland is meeting that statistic. Practices range from well-established to innovative start-ups. The Ashland Business Resource talked with several, attempting to present a cross section.
Each agree that dentistry is health care for the oral cavity, mouth, teeth, neck, jaw plus teaching prevention to younger patients. The profession succeeds in marketing prevention. Most dental insurance supports 6 month checkups with cleaning as good medicine and long term cost saving.
A strength of the industry: Everyone will have to visit a dentist. Most do not wait for unbearable pain. Dentists in Ashland work together. Dr. Dan Jackson (Ashland Dental and Oral Health) said, “In Ashland, dentistry has its own community. Each dentist brings a different set of skills to the table. There is competition within the industry but it isn’t cut throat. We are supportive of one another.”
Ashland is a dental destination. Patients travel from New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Italy and other distant cities as well as throughout Oregon for treatment. OSF actors who move to other theaters return as they get to visit friends, continue with a dentist they know, and save on dental costs. Yes, Ashland dentists are often less expensive than those in other cities. Other patients see their dentist, plays, and enjoy other Ashland amenities in one trip.
Dental schools, as is true of other professional training programs, does not prepare students for the business side of the industry. Our dentists agree that having someone else manage the business while they treat the patients adds to their success. The job description may include financial management, marketing, personnel, and other non-treatment issues.
Dr. Brandon White, White Dental Studio, PC, is the first in Southern Oregon to be in the Eco-Dentistry Association. This means that the practice meets strict standards of sustainability. He and staff want the practice to reflect their philosophy. He makes the point that your smile is the first impression. Confidence increases as oral health improves. In Ashland, “The businesses work together. In four months I’m recognized in lots of places. People don’t build relationships in larger communities. Business owners get to know each other working together,” Brandon said as he appreciated being welcomed to Ashland. He went on to say that he picked Ashland as an open minded community that welcomes innovation.
The demographics of Ashland have changed since James Benson, DDS opened his practice in 1970. He values community involvement. Active in Kiwanis (past president), volunteering at OSF, helping with schools as his children grew, Jim believes relationships make community. “Ashland is magical, the people who live here want to be here. There is a similar collective energy and awareness for health. Ashlanders are open to new things, everything is welcome.”
Dr. Benson (Ashland Dental Associates) is a founder and teaches at the Academy of Bioesthetic Dentistry in Medford. Bioesthetic Dentistry is a system of diagnosis and treatment. These tools enable his practice to work with other practitioners and help patients in diverse demographics.
Dr. Jackson, in practice since 1976, echoes the strength of Ashland as a health conscious community. “People are very health oriented in Ashland and want to take care of themselves and their physical needs. They appreciate how their teeth tie in to other parts of their health. Throughout the years they have developed great partnerships and recognized that being a part of the community if a way to success . . . being involved has helped keep their business strong.” Dan is excited to bring his nephew into the practice, Dr. Brian Kitchell. “I came back, had a family member (Uncle Dan) willing to mentor me who had a good reputation in the community. Ashland has such a sense of community I felt like it was home. ”
Doctors Brandt Cullen and Mindy Beck shopped throughout Southern Oregon before buying Ashland Family Dentistry. “We bought a good practice after looking at many in Southern Oregon. Ashland because of the amenities. Our practice has a good reputation as a solid family practice. We do not have expensive treatment plans.” They set themselves apart by not advertising. “Our WEB site tells the story with forms on line. We donate to charities, money better spent than ads. 4H, AIFF, Rotary, Chamber have benefited.” Dr. Cullen also provides services to Jackson County Corrections when prisoners require attention.
The dental segment of health care offers choices of treatment philosophies of treatment, ages and genders of doctors, and locations in the city. Select the practice that fits your treatment goals and insurance coverage.
A pattern of the dentists is common among Ashland people. We choose to live here for the many amenities and discover community.
Photos 2-4 by Graham Lewis