Personal Touch in Dentistry Is the Priority for the Doctors SteinApr 27, 2018 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson
Dr. Burton J. Stein and Dr. Sarah R. Stein
P A I D B U S I N E S S F E A T U R Earticle & photo by Pamela Johnson, Bulletin Publisher
In this age of chain dental clinics that often include as many dentists as some hair salons include stylists, it’s becoming increasingly rare to find a family dental business with their own name on the brand.
Forty years ago, Burton J. Stein, DMD, opened his dental practice in Bellingham because “it was a place that had a need.” The community responded, and now Dr. Stein is actually treating the children--indeed, the grandchildren--of those original patients. In September of 2017, Dr. Stein’s daughter, Sarah R. Stein, DDS, joined her father in his practice.
Becoming a dentist isn’t something she grew up wanting to be, explains the younger Dr. Stein. “I did have an interest in dentistry,” she reflected. “As a child, my dad worked long hours building his practice, so as a way to spend time with him, I would report any loose tooth and he would take me into his office for ‘treatment.’ It was just a fun bonding-type thing we did, but I thought it was interesting. In college [she went to UPenn] I wanted something more mainstream, so I majored in economics and then worked in investment real estate for a couple of years. I realized it wasn’t for me, and that’s when I decided to become a dentist.”
Sarah Stein graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and did a hospital-based dentistry residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, NY. “I got to work under some great attending specialists, and I got to see and do a wide variety of procedures that I might not have experienced elsewhere.”
After her residency, she worked in a private practice in New York for a year and then, realizing that her father had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, she joined his practice.
Dr. Sarah fit seamlessly into the Bellingham office. She says it’s because the office runs so smoothly after 40 years—”like a well-oiled machine.” “Everyone was so welcoming. Eleanor, the office manager, has been here almost since day one. She’s great at dealing with insurances and getting as much of the cost covered for the patient as possible. And Shea, our dental assistant, has been with the office for 15 years. The patients have a lot of trust in us, which is our first priority.”
Stein also noted that when she first arrived, local endodontists, oral surgeons and orthodontists welcomed her, often inviting her to lunch. “We do root canals and oral surgery here, but we also refer patients out from time to time. Getting to know these specialists helps us to better work as a team for the benefit of our patients.”
Dr. Sarah spent time in New York shadowing a pediatric dentist in Westchester, where, she says with a chuckle, she learned the three tenets of pediatric dentistry: lying, bribing and distraction. “Much of pediatric dentistry is building a rapport, and the best time to do that is before any actual dental work is needed.”
Besides referrals from her father, Sarah is expanding her own patient base. She offers Invisalign®, which, as the name suggests, is an almost invisible aligning system that straightens teeth fast and contains no metal. It can help with overcrowding, large gaps between teeth, crossbite, overbite and underbite. “Invisalign is very effective if you catch the situation early,” she noted.
Drs. Sarah and Burton Stein also remind patients, “Don’t Ignore the Snore” because it is one of the symptoms of Sleep Apnea. Dr. Burton Stein is a member of the prestigious American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. He and Sarah attend seminars on the latest methods of treatment and can design custom oral appliances to help treat sleep apnea and snoring.
As one who suffers from dental phobia, I asked Dr. Sarah how she felt about people being afraid of the dentist. She said, “I think it’s fair. A lot of people have had bad experiences at the dentist’s in childhood. So much has changed—in dental school, I was taught a more holistic approach: develop trust, respect and a level of comfort with the patient. “Today we can use oral sedative medications and nitrous oxide to aid in the reduction of anxiety.”
She continued, “We are not a fast-paced, high-production office. We always explain everything in advance, and if a patient gets anxious during a procedure, we can take a break and give them time to work through it.”
Dr. Burton J. and Dr. Sarah R. Stein welcome new patients. The office, located at 88 David Road (across from the Bellingham Post Office) is open Mon-Friday, 8 am—6 pm; Saturday, 8 am—12 pm. Tel: 508-966-2990. For more information, visit www.BurtonjSteinDMD.com. (See their ad on page 13 of the May print edition.)