The year was 2002. George W. Bush was president, and Eminem is on top of the pop-music charts. Spiderman, and Lord of the Rings: the twin towers were in theatres, and the Anaheim Angels defeated the San Francisco Giants to win the World Series. At 8:00 a.m. on October 14, 2002, I, Brian D. Vancil DMD opened the door to Mall of Georgia Dentistry, LLC to begin a wonderful relationship with the people of Buford Georgia and its surrounding communities.
Spread throughout 1250 square feet, a lot of things have changed over the past 10 years, yet so many things have not. While it goes without saying, we have had a few staff changes. Whenever we hire anyone, we intend on them being with us forever. Afterall, it is a second family to me. I had the pleasure of reuniting with my first employee ever, Christy, about 4 months ago. She has since moved from Georgia, to Mississippi, and back. She is still in the dental field, and is serving our troops defending our country. Each employee we’ve worked with through the years has brought many smiles not only to my face, but to the faces of so many of our wonderful patients. We started out just open 3 days a week, and sometimes not even all of those days. I spent my time split between seeing patients at our office, and covering for other dentists in the area, or volunteering time at an Atlanta based charity clinic. Our very first patient was a 6 year old little girl with a toothache. It’s crazy to think she’ll be driving this year.
When we opened in October of 2002, I was married to the love of my life, well, I’m still married to her, and she’s more awesome then ever, so that much hasn’t changed. What has changed is my family. Allison was teaching math at Collins Hill High School, and she would come to the office after work. We have since had 2 little boys, and while Allison doesn’t teach at Collins Hill any longer, she still teaches as she home schools our 2nd grader, and yes, she still comes to the office after teaching.
We have gone from dial up internet access to high speed internet access. We have gone from conventional phone lines, to Voice over Internet, and also have changed from print marketing, though we still do some, to online marketing including Facebook and Twitter. We used to only call our patients, now we contact them through email, text, and facebook as well. I designed our very first website on AOL, and now we utilize a webhosting company because lets face it – I’m a dentist, not a web designer.
When we first opened we had 2 dental chairs and the walls were stark white. We’ve tried to spruce the colors up a little bit to make it feel warm and inviting, and we added a 3rd dental chair to continue seeing so many wonderful patients and put up a few walls to give us a little better storage facility. We had 3 computers in the office, now we have 10, and flat screens T.V.’s didn’t exist at an affordable rate. When we first opened, I didn’t even have our DVD player connected to the T.V.’s. so we could watch movies. The patients and I would listen to the radio while doing dentistry.
There was at one time a red camaro convertible that used to park in the first spot of the 2nd row, and so many of our wonderful patients would know if I was at office or not based on whether my car was parked in front. I held onto that car like a mom holds on to her baby, but I had to lay it to rest last year.
With so many things that have changed over the past 10 years, including my passion for coffee, and flossing, a few things have not changed. My commitment to our patients is everlasting. It sounds like a cliché when I say “I love our patients”, but my wife, my kids, my family, and our staff would attest to it. I have so thoroughly enjoyed developing relationships with people that it is sometimes incomprehensible at how fun this is. Granted, there are times I wonder – what in the world was I thinking. I think sometimes, “it must be easier just working for a corporate dental company”. Then Allison smiles at me and says “You wouldn’t like it”. I know she’s right, because that would not allow me the time to develop the relationships that I so greatly cherish. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences with so many of our patients I couldn’t even begin to list them. I think of our patients as friends and family, certainly NOT just patients. In my heart that is one thing that has not changed, and will never change. I realize that people, whether patients or friends, may come into your life, sometimes for a day, sometimes for a season, and others for a lifetime. It’s my goal to treat every patient as a person, as a part of my own family, and enjoy the times we have together.
I was in 7th grade when I decided to become a dentist. That year was 1984. There is no way I could have predicted how this would have turned out thus far. I thought I was just going to help people feel better about themselves, by enhancing their smiles, just like my dentist Dr. Shaw did. The past 10 years we have helped quite a few people smile. We’ve even had a few cry because they were so happy. The past 10 years, you all have made me smile as well. I wake up, a little sleepy sometimes, but excited to see our patients. It’s a joy to call you not only my patients, but my friends. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your family over the past 10 years, and I look forward to our families growing together for the next 10, 20 or 30 years. Thank you for letting me be your dentist and your friend.
As always… brush, floss and keep smiling.