Because holistic dentistry is growing so much in popularity, I’ve been wanting to expand Wrigleyville Dental for a while now. I wanted to expand office hours to make going to the dentist more convenient for my patients (see box below). But it’s not just hours that are the problem; I’m sometimes so busy that I can’t see a patient several weeks (and sometimes months) in advance. I’ve wanted to bring another dentist on board to give more people access to holistic dentistry– but I couldn’t find the right one, and refuse to settle for just anyone.
Before I took over the practice, Wrigleyville Dental had its share of associate dentists. Some were good, but I wanted the BEST. So when I decided to bring on an associate dentist of my own, I spent a long time coming up with a list of traits this dentist would have to possess.
First and foremost, he/she would have to carry on our holistic ideals — and not just in theory, but in practice as well. We need someone who was passionate about living a healthy, holistic lifestyle and practices what he/she preaches.
Secondly, I needed someone who would put the patients before the profits, no matter what. Here at Wrigleyville Dental, our patients come first every time, without exception. This means recommending the best treatment, not necessarily the most expensive one.
Last, but certainly not least, he/she has to have outstanding dental and clinical skills. And I mean outstanding.
Of course, there were a few other things on my lengthy list, but those three requirements were the most important. It was a frustrating search because every time I seemed to meet such a person, he/she would already own their own practice in another city or state. And just when I didn’t think the right person existed, a letter from Dr. Martha Silva landed on my desk. She wanted to learn more about Wrigleyville Dental and holistic dentistry. I was impressed immediately because the letter that landed on my desk was detailed, personal, and nearly three pages long. Dr. Silva seemed to be just the person we were looking for.
When I met Dr. Silva in person, we had immediate connection. Her dedication, passion, and desire to lead a healthy lifestyle was more than clear. She told me that she reads a ton of health and wellness books and magazines to stay up to date on current trends and loves things that are natural and sustainable. She lives a holistic lifestyle by regularly running, doing yoga, cooking tasty gluten-free meals, and buying non-toxic products. She describes herself as a foodie, loves to cook and bake, and trying new restaurants. She discovered that dentistry was her calling even earlier than me — she was inspired to go to dental school when she was only 5 years old. She was warm, personal, and obviously cared a lot about her patients.
She claimed that she had always been interested in holistic dentistry, a claim demonstrated by her refusal to place mercury fillings since her time at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. There’s a lot of pressure in dental school, from fellow students and professors alike, to place mercury fillings. But Dr. Silva stuck to her guns and refused to take part in a practice she knew was dangerous. That refusal spoke volumes to me!
The year after she graduated from dental school, Dr. Silva did two things: She gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Bella, and she joined the Army. She was stationed at an Army base in Kansas that was located conveniently near a daycare. But when Dr. Silva learned that the daycare would not allow her to pack Bella’s lunch, she opted to take her daughter elsewhere, 25 minutes from base. She didn’t want Bella eating the pre-packaged, processed food the daycare was serving — and who can blame her. We were clearly so in-line with our personal philosophies and dental philosophies that all that was left for me to do was to prove her dental expertise.
I did some digging into her past and discovered that she had nothing but raving reviews from both her patients and the doctors she’s worked with. I also went to a Holistic Dental Association meeting and spent a whole weekend talking with experts in the field and attending lectures with Dr. Silva. One prominent holistic doctor, after discussing the clinical aspects of dentistry with Dr. Silva, turned to me and said “Hire her. She’s a keeper.” By then, I was convinced.
Starting this month, Dr. Martha Silva will join our team, and I couldn’t be happier. She’s everything I hoped my partner dentist would be, and I can’t wait to introduce her to all of you!