(L to R Jennifer Toole, Kathy Heath, Patricia Poyser, Andrew Schweiger, Dr. Angela Schweiger, Nicole Beavers, Sue Shear, Katie Butler
Since 2009, Angela and Andrew Schweiger have been doing what they love – making people smile by taking care of, well, their smiles. Focusing on prevention, the husband-and-wife team actually strives to keep patients out of the dental chair at Rice Creek Family Dentistry instead of cashing in on the times when patients are forced to sit in it.
“The goal here is to really get people’s mouths in good shape and keep them out of the dental chair – other than every six months for check ups,” says Andrew, who runs the business side of the practice, while Angela, a DMD, tends to the patients. “We want to give you the tools to maintain your own oral wellness.”
Before opening their first office off Hardscrabble Road in Northeast Columbia, the Schweigers conducted surveys through which they found that people felt a trip to the dentist was a royal pain – sometimes literally. When they weren’t in physical pain, patients often felt uncomfortable or rushed. “A lot of people have dental anxiety. They want to be comfortable and they want to be listened to,” Andrew says.
To cater to these feelings, the Schweigers designed Rice Creek Family Dentistry’s office to look like a comfortable house, and they treat current and potential patients like guests in their home. New adult patients are treated to a two-hour initial appointment to assess their current oral health and future desires for their smile.
“We take time for the hygienist and my wife to really sit down and talk with people and figure out what they want to do with their mouths,” he says. “We’re here not to force dentistry down people’s throats, but to make sure people are comfortable with their mouths and to keep them healthy. At the end of the day, it’s really about what’s best for the patient here. We make sure that we spend time educating people rather than just cleaning their teeth and shipping them out.”
The response to this approach has been great, Andrew says, so much so that the couple has been able to open a new practice in Lexington called South Lake Family Dental. “We’re bringing the same thing to Lexington that we did to Northeast Columbia,” Andrew says.
South Lake’s office space will be about twice the size of the Northeast office to better serve the market. And even though Angela won’t be manning the dentist’s chair at the new office, the basic philosophy will translate into the same high level of patient care. While the
practice’s core competency is prevention, there are times when more extensive dental work is needed. Instead of attempting to fix all problems herself, Angela knows when to tell her patients they’d be in better hands with a specialist.
That type of hands-on care, honesty and true passion for the practice is what has allowed Rice Creek Family Dentistry to thrive – and what will soon do the same for South Lake Family Dental.
“This model has worked for us. People seem to like us,” Andrew says. “Every staff member really, legitimately cares about the people we see, and we believe that’s the way dentistry should be done.”
To schedule an appointment at Rice Creek Family Dentistry in Northeast Columbia, call (803) 788-2676. Or call (803) 520-5580 to schedule an appointment at the brand new South Lake Family Dental in Lexington/White Knoll.