Gillespie's approach to patient care makes it easy to visit the dentist
(Posted: Jan. 15, 2011)
Pay a visit to Liberty Hill Dental on any Friday and everyone will be clad in purple.
But, the Panther attire isn’t just a football thing for the dentist and his staff -- it’s about community pride and for Dr. Thad Gillespie, hometown spirit means a lot.
“I enjoy giving back to the community,” he said. “Liberty Hill is a lot about family and children, and it’s easy to put our focus there.”
Every year, Gillespie sponsors numerous youth sports teams, special school activities and organizations, and his staff is always on the lookout for opportunities to keep Liberty Hill Dental actively involved in the community.
Gillespie, who proudly displays a host of appreciation plaques throughout the dentist office, says he may have to expand his office to create space to hang more plaques.
“It’s fun to see all the kids and follow them from team to team, year after year,” he said.
Gillespie moved to Liberty Hill from Austin eight years ago and was the first dentist to open a practice here. He said he and his wife, Kerstin, grew weary of sitting on the back porch of their Austin home and looking at other rooftops, he said. Their plan was to build a home on some acreage and Gillespie would commute to his dentist office in Austin.
“Once we got here, we immediately started trying to figure out how to stay,” he said.
In Liberty Hill, Gillespie said he found a niche that was as much about personal growth as it was about growing a business.
For the first time, he had time and developed a real interest in his children’s school activities. In Austin, he said it difficult to feel a connection and harder to get involved.
The Gillespies have four children and Dr. Gillespie has three older children and one grandchild. This year, the Gillespies adopted a 12-year-old daughter.
“I guess you could say we have a large family,” he said with a smile, proudly sharing the names and ages of his children and their various interests and extra-curricular activities.
Making time to stay involved with his children is important, he said. While he enjoys all of their activites, he admits that coaching is a challenge he has come to enjoy. This winter, he is coaching a youth basketball team.
Dr. Gillespie says his involvement in the community has likely helped grow his dental practice. But, he believes patients keep coming back because he has a different kind of approach to dental care.
“I accept people for who they are when they walk through the door,” he said.
Gillespie said that while a healthy diet and lifestyle can stem most dental problems, he does not criticize patients when they don’t always do the right thing.
“I like candy, too,” he says.
“Historically, people go to the dentist and feel humiliated and talked down to,” he said.
Gillespie said that kind of punitive approach to dentistry turns people off and leads to more health problems.
He said when someone comes in with a problem, he is honest with them about the alternatives. But listens and looks to them for the solution.
Gillespie said he understands that some families are not able to pay for regular dental visits; and in many cases, he only sees patients when there is a problem.
“If a tooth can be saved and a patient needs me to try it rather than pull it, then I do my best,” he said. “I listen to what they need and put solutions in context for them.”
Out of concern for his Liberty Hill patients, Gillespie said he is bringing new technology to his practice and increasing the services he provides so that patients will not have to look elsewhere for advanced dental care.
Liberty Hill Dental is already able to provide most services, including oral surgery and high-end aesthetis.He said more details will be forthcoming on additional services and technology that will soon become available to benefit the community.
And for those who are staying away from the dentist office for fear of pain, Gillespie says that’s really not a very good excuse anymore.
“We do oral and IV sedations. Our goal is to keep a patient calm long enough for us to treat the problem and we do what we can to put those who are nervous at ease,” he said.
To learn more about Dr. Gillespie and Liberty Hill Dental, visit www.libertyhilldental.com.