MBE:Kevin can you please start off by telling our readers a bit about your childhood and your education?
Kevin: I grew up in Thornhill and went to public school close to where I lived. After high school I attended the University of Western Ontario for a psychology degree and took enough sciences that I was able to get in a medicine program or dentistry program. I ended up choosing dentistry and did my training at the University of Toronto followed by my orthodontic degree at Harvard. While I was at Harvard I also did a master’s degree in public health. When I was done studying at Harvard I moved back to Toronto and started working with my father and have been doing so ever since.
MBE: Kevin can you please start of by telling our readers how your journey as an orthodontist began?
Kevin: : My father was the first orthodontist in the York region when he started in 1969. At the time he was the only orthodontist between Finch Avenue and Barrie and between Weston Road and Oshawa. The area was mostly farmland at the time but as the community grew so did the practice. I joined the practice in 1998 after completing my education at Harvard in Boston Massachusetts. I started working with my father who had an office in Richmond Hill at the time. Eventually in 2006 we purchased a second location in Woodbridge and in 2009 a third location in Newmarket. We are also in the process of opening a fourth location in downtown Toronto in the Yorkville area.
MBE: Does your father still work with you?
Kevin: Yes my father is still working with me. He does not see as many clients as he use to and only sees them on a pick up basis now. However he is in charge of the new developments and takes care of all of the contractors, suppliers etc. for our new office we are opening in Yorkville. His experience helps him do quality control in which he makes sure all of our supplies are of the highest quality and are highly efficient.
MBE: Kevin what challenges have you faced in the orthodontic industry in Canada?
Kevin: The orthodontic industry in Canada has changed a lot in the last decade or so. During my father’s early career whenever someone went to their family dentist and they had crooked teeth, the dentist would refer them to an orthodontist. However around ten years ago general dentist started doing their own orthodontic treatments. This is legal however they are not specialist. The way I can compare this is if a woman is having a baby in a small town in northern Ontario she will go to her general family doctor to have her baby delivered. However if she is in Toronto she will go to a specialist doctor who specializes in child delivery. The problem we are facing as orthodontic specialist is that these general dentists who are doing orthodontic procedures are not treating their clients at a high level due to a lack of experience or qualifications. This mistreatment of clients is tainting the orthodontic industry. In general the public is having a hard time telling the difference between an orthodontic specialist and a dentist that performs orthodontic procedures.
MBE: Can you please tell us the importance of orthodontics as compared to different forms of dentistry?
Kevin: In order to become a licensed dentist in Ontario one must study 4 years of science followed by 4 years of a dentist degree. To become an orthodontic specialist one must go back to school for an additional 3 years to study specifically orthodontics. Orthodontic specialty is the movement of teeth and jaws to improve the health and cosmetics of the bite and smile. The main two things we do are move teeth and jaw bones.
MBE: For our readers that have young children can you please tell us what is the correct age for a child to go see an orthodontist?
Kevin: The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all kids visit an orthodontist by the age of seven for their first checkup. Most orthodontist including us offer a free consultation and the reason we push for kids to come at age seven is because that is when their adult teeth start coming in. At this point we can access whether growth is a problem or if the teeth are a problem. If the teeth are a problem then we usually wait for more teeth to grow but if one jaw is growing faster than the other jaw then we want to catch this problem early before it gets worse.
MBE: In recent times insurance coverages are not covering orthodontic treatments as much. Can you tell how orthodontists are working towards having insurance cover more patients and how you are helping patients with the financial side of treatment?
Kevin: Orthodontic treatments are not inexpensive and a typical patient will pay between $4000 and $8000. However as compared to other dentist treatments this is relatively reasonable and lasts a lifetime. Here at Davis Orthodontics less than fifty percent of our patients have any kind of insurance at all and to help them what we have done is set up in interest free payment plan. In this plan the patient can pay throughout the course of their treatment and sometimes even long after their treatment is done. We try and charge what we consider fare and affordable rates and are extremely flexible as far as payment plans go. We also have a special charity program at Davis Orthodontist which is called Smile For a Lifetime. This program was set up for people who can show significant financial need who can fill out an application for completely free orthodontic treatment. Anybody that wants to get further information on this program can visit www.s4l.org.
MBE: As a business owner who has been in the orthodontic industry for many years, what is your advice for people who are looking to make an entry in this specific market?
Kevin: The orthodontic industry in Canada is rather saturated but this does not mean that it is impossible for someone to enter the industry and become successful. In order to become successful at this one has to be up to date with technology and must provide excellent service. A person looking to be successful in this industry must also provide some unique service for example opening on the weekends or in the evening into the late night.
MBE: How do you spend your time away from work?
Kevin: My family is the most important thing for me and the time I spend away from work is usually spent with them. I have a wife and three lovely children and in my free time I am usually running after my kids on a hockey rink or a dance studio. I also coach baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter and also spend some of my free time doing charity work.
MBE: Kevin can you finish of this interview by giving a message to our readers especially the younger generation who are looking to start their own careers soon?
Kevin: The most important thing is to always follow your passion and make sure you get into a program or industry that you will really love. In my case I love the industry and look forward to coming into work every single day and feel these are the keys to success.