BUSINESS: Dr. Kent Smith
Smiles are contagious, show confidence and are rarely refused. One of Dr. M. Kent Smith’s favorite reasons for being a dentist is being able to restore someone’s self-image by restoring their smile. “I enjoy seeing someone gain self-confidence who’s had broken or missing teeth. People say ‘It’d take a miracle to fix my mouth’ but today we have different methods that weren’t available 10 or 20 years ago that can correct almost anything,” said Smith. As a general family dentist, his practice takes care of routine dental work including root canals, crowns, teeth whitening, dentures and more.
Smith’s original career plans didn’t include dentistry. In high school he received congressional and presidential nominations to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and both the Air Force and Naval academies. After failing the physical because of an overbite, his first long-term exposure to dentistry began. “As I went through the process of having braces, I realized dentistry offered something that could make a long and profound effect on someone,” he said.
After graduating from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Smith was accepted to residency at OU Medical Center and moved to Edmond in 1986 with his wife, Leslye. “We thought we’d move back to Texas after residency but we loved it here,” said Smith. In 1988, they started their dental practice with Leslye assisting her husband.
The number one goal for Smith and his staff is for patients to have the best dental experience possible. Sedation therapy is an alternative to patients who may be nervous prior to procedures. “Some patients would rather sleep through a procedure or be very relaxed. Sedation therapy is not for everyone; we do what works best for each patient. People realize dentistry can be easier than they thought,” said Smith.
The Smiths have four children, so they spend a lot of time at softball or baseball games. Even during these family events, Smith finds his knowledge being put to use. “During a game, a girl had three teeth knocked out. We put them back in while on the field behind the dugout. It’s critical to rinse them off and get them back in the socket as fast as possible,” said Smith.
Smith attributes his greatest accomplishment to an experience during a mission trip to Paraguay. “Dr. Andrew Guthrie and I went to a village where there’d never been a dentist. We helped 250 people in five days. A boy named Hector had an infection that split his jaw open. A few days after giving him antibiotics and extracting teeth, he looked like a different kid,” he said. “I don’t speak Spanish but through our interpreter he told me ‘I love you and I’ll never forget you.’ Without hesitation, it’s the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.”
Smith’s office is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For an appointment, call 341-7773 or go to www.dentistedmondok.com.