Dr. Johnny Miller still keeps photos of one of his most memorable patients. They remind him just how big a difference he and his team can make in their patients’ lives.
It was nearly a decade ago, and the young woman was frantic. She was getting married in three weeks and her dental bridge had broken. She couldn’t bear the thought of walking down the aisle without a new one, but there was a problem. The bridge, which was made in another country, was longer than most bridges made in the U.S. It spanned the woman’s six front teeth, from canine to canine.
She didn’t want a partial denture, and there wasn’t enough time for implants. Making a new bridge was the only option. Dr. Miller and his team worked with a lab two states away to expedite the unusual request. They were able to get her the bridge in time for the big day.
“It came out really, really nice,” said Dr. Miller, who practices at Franklin Dental and Braces in Buford, Ga. “She was so excited. She hugged the whole staff. Her smile was in great shape. It touched all of us to be able to do that.”
Dr. Miller hadn’t always planned to be a dentist. When he was younger, his sights were set on medical school, but his father encouraged him to pursue dentistry. A local orthodontist and Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry graduate became his mentor and suggested Dr. Miller apply to the Historically Black College and University (HBCU).
“I had a chance to visit Meharry and talk to a lot of people,” he said. “I really was blown away by it. I tell people, dentistry more or less chose me. It was the greatest thing I could have done, I’m very happy with where I am.” Working at an Atlanta-area community health center early in his career, Dr. Miller quickly earned a reputation as the dentist who was good with kids. His gift for treating younger patients is what led him to Benevis, where he’s practiced for nearly five years. “The other dentists would send me their kids, so I said ‘Man, I need to go somewhere that treats kids,’” he said.
Working for a Dental Services Organization (DSO) is a great fit because it allows him to balance his work and family life. He can focus on his patients, without the worries of managing payroll, supplies, or other responsibilities associated with owning a dental practice. That balance is essential for Dr. Miller because he believes strongly in working hard, living with integrity, spending as much time as possible with family and loved ones, and truly enjoying life. “God gives us the gift of life every day and you just have to maximize that day because life is short, time is short,” he said.
In his years of practice, Dr. Miller has learned the importance of treating each case individually. Just like the young bride-to-be whose smile he helped to save for her wedding day years ago, every patient is unique. “Not all procedures are the same because not all patients are the same,” he said. “I can do the same procedure on two different patients and get two different reactions. You have to treat every patient and every procedure independently, regardless of how many years you’ve practiced or how many times you have done the procedure.”
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