A long time ago (1981) in a galaxy far, far away (Beaverdale) David W. Davidson, a young 26 year old dental school graduate, was eager to begin practicing in the Des Moines area. After a quick six month stint as an associate in a local dental practice, Dr. Davidson took his 1980 University of Iowa Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree with him on a chance meeting with Dr. Joseph A Cortese, Des Moines’ first pediatric dentist.
Dr. Cortese was 59 years old and was looking ahead to his own retirement and Dr. Dave was looking for a place of his own to enter his chosen profession. Dr. Davidson and Dr. Cortese worked out an office sharing agreement that they cemented with a handshake. Dr. Cortese would often tell Dr. Davidson “I have three sons but none wanted to be a dentist, now I have a fourth son who is a dentist”. Dr. Dave and Dr. Joe practiced together for 5 years before Dr. Cortese retired in January of 1984.
Dr. Davidson and Dr. Cortese were very close and enjoyed the comradery of working together and sharing common experiences. They had mutual respect for each other and were willing to help each other at all times. Dr. Dave tells the story of Dr. Cortese choosing when to retire…”Joe came in one morning (January, 1984) and said his 64th birthday was in two weeks so he was going to the social security office to check on the government rules for retirement. He came back that afternoon and told me he was retiring in 2 weeks.” Now that was the ultimate two week notice! As the years passed, they would recall that day and laughed at the unexpected suddenness of his decision.
The office at that time had 3 treatment rooms and Dr. Dave had 2 employees. He called his dental practice “Beaverdale Family Dentistry”. (Dr. Dave still uses drbeaverdale as his email address.) As the years passed, the practice grew and expanded into space in the adjacent building. Beaverdale Family Dentistry then had 5 treatment rooms, 7 employees, and nothing but blue sky into the future.
Everything changed when Dr. Davidson’s son, Michael, was studying at Iowa State University. Michael applied and was accepted into dental school at The University of Iowa College of Dentistry and told his father, he would like to practice dentistry with him when he graduated.
Michael’s (Dr. Michael Davidson) acceptance into dental school was good news but the 5 treatment rooms in the Beaverdale office were going to be quite inadequate for two full-time dentists. The search began for real estate to rent/purchase or land to purchase for building a new office. The natural place to look was in Beaverdale. After considerable examination, Dr. Dave was unable to find a suitable location in Beaverdale so the search was widened.
Utilizing patient zip codes as a base for the search, our Urbandale location was found. It was right in the center of the target for the majority of our patient base. Dr. Dave and (Dr.) Michael then traveled the state to visit and study dental offices that would be a similar size to our future needs and offices that had moved from one location to another. Additionally, they wanted to glean knowledge of other father/son dental practices.
Any kind of a move or building project is stressful. Dr. Davidson had neither moved a dental clinic nor had he built a dental clinic but he was fortunate to have his attorney & wife, Diane, who was able to step in and help with both. Diane had 25 years of experience in the world of real estate law and at the time was general counsel for a large real estate developer in Des Moines.
After 25 years practicing dentistry in Beaverdale, Dr. Davidson opened the current dental clinic in Urbandale and changed the name from Beaverdale Family Dentistry to Davidson Family Dentistry. The clinic went from 5 to 9 treatment rooms.
In the Beaverdale days, Dr. Davidson had had two different dental friends work as associate dentists in the clinic on a limited, part-time basis. Dr. Thomas Treska was a friend of Dr. Dave from his days in the Iowa Army National Guard and Dr. Thu Ha Dixon was a friend from church. Dr. Treska had retired from the VA Hospital and helped out a few days a month for 6 months before his final career retirement. Dr. Dixon worked a few hours a week and during her 6 years with Dr. Dave, she and her husband had 4 babies. When her youngest was born, she left the dental workforce to stay home with her children. Dr. Dave is still close friends with both Dr. Treska and Dr. Dixon.
When the clinic moved from Beaverdale, Dr. Susan Nguyen was hired as the first full-time dentist working for Dr. Davidson. They knew each other from Dr. Davidson’s teaching senior dental students from The University of Iowa at Broadlawns Medical Center where she worked. Dr. Nguyen was from Illinois and worked at Davidson Family Dentistry for 4 years before moving back to the Chicago area to be closer to her family.
Dr. Amanda Vonnahme joined Davidson Family Dentistry in 2008 followed by Dr. Michael Davidson in 2009. Dr. Andrew Majaren worked part-time for a year and a half (2013-2015) until he found a permanent position across town. Dr. Justine Stemper came in 2014 followed by Dr. John Biegert in 2015 and Dr. Alyson (Siegrist) Baier in 2016.
In 1981, Dr. Davidson had 2 part-time employees, 2 treatment rooms and started with family members as patients. In 2018, Davidson Family Dentistry has 37 part-time or full-time employees, 15 treatment rooms and several thousand patients. Dr. Davidson often laughs and says we are going to put a McDonalds type sign up that says “Billions and Billions of Teeth Treated”. It is a bit of an exaggeration but still funny.
Throughout the years, the philosophy of Davidson Family has always stayed the same. We treat all our patients as family and live by our mission statement: Quality Dentistry, Affordable Service and Compassionate Care.
Posted April 6th, 2018
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Seasons Greetings from all of us at Davidson Family Dentistry. In all of my 63 years, I have never written a Christmas or holiday message to anyone. My wife, Diane, of 42 years has always written our family’s yearly message to our friends and family until now. Let me share with you about our “news” from Davidson Family Dentistry in 2017.
Charissa T is our newest dental hygienist. She is originally from Boone and did her hygiene training at Iowa Central Community College in Ft Dodge. She hit the ground running as our assistants and other hygienists took her under their wings from the git-go. Her very first patient asked to be rescheduled with her in 6 months – this hasn’t been her only unsolicited testimonial.
Linda G joined us the in business office. She is a very experienced in the dental field. She worked as an office manager in her previous dental office in Washington DC. We are so fortunate to have such an experienced employee with so much knowledge about dentistry, dental insurance and patient care.
Dr. Alyson Baier (Dr. Alyson Siegrist) married Andrew Baier on April 22. Andrew and Alyson have made their home in Johnston. Andrew will obviously make a great life partner for Dr. Alyson. As you recall, Dr. Baier joined us in 2016 after my shoulder surgery. Many of you have already had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Alyson and have experienced her gentle touch.
Laura T and her husband Joe had a son born on January 5. Joshua weighed in at 8 pounds 1 ounce. Joshua joins older sisters Tenley and Emma. Laura and Joe are wonderful, loving parents. You will know Laura as a friendly voice on the telephone or by her beautiful smile at the front desk.
Sarah B and her husband Trent also had a son. Grady weighed in at 7 pounds 14 ounces and was born on October 25. Sarah is part of our dental hygiene team. Grady is Sarah and Trent’s first child and they are learning the wonders, joys and sleeplessness of parenthood. Sarah is still on her maternity leave and we look forward to her return after Christmas.
Elizabeth M and her husband Stephen had a son. Elizabeth is Dr. David Davidson and Diane Davidson’s favorite and only daughter. Charles Walker Miller was born on January 20 and tipped the scales at 8 pounds 12 ounces. Charles is their first child. Walker is a family name in Dr. Davidson’s family. If Elizabeth had been a boy, Walker was to be her middle name. Elizabeth and Stephen live in Cedar Falls.
There is nothing like a baby to give us all hope for the future and to have three babies is triple the blessing!
Babies of the Future
Dr. John Biegert and his wife Erin are expecting a daughter in January. She will be their first child and they are understandingly beyond excited.
Dr. Amanda Vonnahme and her husband Shane are also expecting a baby in January. They have decided to be surprised by their new arrival’s gender. Dr. Amanda and Shane already have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Sarah.
With all these babies, there must be something in the water. What do you think?
We had several equipment purchases this year which includes a machine to make nightguards, a soft tissue laser, a new intraoral x-ray machine and a couple of new intraoral cameras. The machine to make nightguards has meant we have lowered the fee for that service since we no longer have a laboratory charge. We are also looking to purchase a 3D x-ray (cone beam) machine. As always, our equipment purchases are to enhance the care we deliver to you.
Dr. Michael Davidson has been doing extensive training in implant dentistry through Implant Maxicourse. It is one of leading implant training centers in the U.S. When he finishes his training he will be eligible for the distinction as a Fellow in the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Dr. Justine Stemper and I attended the American Dental Association’s annual meeting that was held in Atlanta. I focused most of my coursework in cone beam digital x-ray diagnosis and technology. Dr. Stemper and I attended a seminar on dental forensics and mass casualty identification.
Dr. Stemper also completed education in laser dentistry and new technology in the dental field. Additionally, she represented the Iowa Dental Association as Iowa’s representative to the Young Dentists Conference.
Dr. Michael Davidson and Dr. John Biegert attended a conference in Las Vegas that focused on new technology in dentistry. Dr. Stemper attended the same course in laser dentistry in Minneapolis that Dr. Biegert and Dr. Michael Davidson had previously attended.
Dr. Vonnahme and Dr. Baier completed their continuing education here in Des Moines sponsored by the Des Moines District Dental Society and the Iowa Dental Association. The instruction was an update on prescription drugs and their interactions and contraindications in dental care.
If you didn’t know already, I had my left knee replaced in August. It wasn’t because of arthritis but it was because of a fracture in the condyle of my femur (end of the thigh bone). It’s not quite apparent how I broke my leg, but it was not the greatest 8 months of my life. (It took several months to make the correct diagnosis.) Needless to say, I am doing well and my quality of life has improved dramatically. I was off work for 2 months in healing and rehab.
In the three months prior to my knee replacement surgery, we did a testimonial contest: “What do you like about Davidson Family Dentistry?” We had over a hundred entries. During my convalescence, I read through the entries and chose the winners. I could have had 10,000 get well cards that wouldn’t have had the effect the beautiful entries gave me. Thank you all for your love. It was and continues to be greatly appreciated!
After my shoulder surgery in 2016 and my knee replacement in 2017, I have decided to “slow down” a bit more. My typical work schedule is Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. Jokingly I like to tell our patients that they now know the magic formula to either be in the office when I work or to avoid my work times. LOL. I have no plans to completely retire at this time and fully expect to work this schedule for quite some time.
Finally, I have two requests.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings again to you all. We are so grateful you have chosen to place your dental health with us. We wish for you a blessed season and a healthy and prosperous 2018.
Dr. David Davidson
Posted December 8th, 2017
Since we began our dental practice in 1981, we have been Medicaid providers. Over the decades, we have treated hundreds of patients needing a hand up. Because of the low reimbursement rate, approximately 30%, we have to limit the numbers of patients on Medicaid. We lose money on every Medicaid appointment.
My entire life I have believed in the Biblical principal of the tithe. For those of you unfamiliar with this, I commit 10% of my income to further the work of the church, help those in need, or being a Good Samaritan to those who have gotten in trouble through no fault of their own. This is one reason for the flag display in our office. These are countries where I have done missionary dentistry. The flags remind me of the many people I have been able to help. It is also a reason that I have been instrumental in the formation of the IMOM (Iowa Mission of Mercy) free dental clinic in Iowa including being the President of the Foundation a few years ago.
New Medicaid rules for patients over the age of 18 have placed us in a real dilemma. If we continue to participate in Medicaid with the new rules, we will be unable to limit the number of patients we treat who are on Medicaid. Since we don’t have the ability to treat every Medicaid patient who calls and I have no interest in violating federal law with respect to this or any other program, we have decided after 3 ½ decades of Medicaid participation to end our participation in Medicaid for those over the age of 18.
We have many, many patients who have special needs and are part of the Medicaid program. We will not abandon them, ever. I have chosen to continue treating them on a pro-bono basis as part of our charitable works. We will continue to do what’s right and will do it for the right reason.
As ever, thank you all for understanding we run a business. The new rules have forced our hand in a new direction.
Dr. David DavidsonPosted August 25th, 2017
A common question we hear is “If I’m pregnant can I have dental work done?” Preventative dental cleanings and annual exams are not only safe, but recommended. Preventative dental work while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections such as gum disease, which has been linked to preterm birth. Cavity fillings and crowns should be treated to reduce the chance of infection.
If dental work is done during pregnancy, the second trimester is preferred. The safest course of action is to postpone all cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening until after the baby is born.
Lidocaine is the most common medication used during dental work. Even though it does cross the placenta after administration, it is not toxic to the developing baby. Dental work often requires antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin to prevent or treat infections. These are labeled as safe during pregnancy.
Routine x-rays can usually be postponed until after the birth. In the case of an emergency the American Dental Association has stated that no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus.
Be on the lookout for these common conditions during pregnancy:
So, brush and floss daily. More if you experience morning sickness. Keep your appointments. Maintaining dental hygiene visits every 3 to 6 months is important to minimizing gingivitis and the problems that can result. Morning sickness often fades after the first trimester, so many women find the second trimester the best time for dental visits.Posted June 7th, 2017
The condition of your mouth is closely tied to your overall health. Taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a nice smile and pleasant breath. Gum disease is a problem that not only affects your mouth but also your entire body, often before you have any idea that it’s happening.
There has been increased interest in possible links between oral health and body health. In one recent study, people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic condition on top of it.
Bacteria that builds up on teeth make gums prone to infection. The immune system moves in to attack the infection and the gums become inflamed. The inflammation continues unless the infection is brought under control.
Over time, inflammation and the chemicals it releases eat away at the gums and bone structure that hold teeth in place. The result is severe gum disease, known as periodontitis. Inflammation can also cause problems in the rest of the body.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, about three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease. Gingivitis is an infection and inflammation of the gums caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar at the base of the teeth. Periodontitis is more severe and typically occurs when gingivitis goes untreated or when its treatment is delayed, and the infection and inflammation spread to the ligaments and bones that support the teeth, eventually causing them to loosen and fall out.
Numerous studies have shown that untreated chronic inflammation of the type that characterizes gum disease can spread and lead to more severe health complications such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, pancreatic cancer, osteoporosis, eating disorders and even Alzheimer’s disease.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease according to the AAP, which in turn can increase blood sugar and diabetic complications. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk to develop periodontal disease.
As we get older, the likelihood that we will develop gum disease increases, partly because of naturally occurring bone loss after age 40. Genetics and certain medications can reduce saliva flow and as we age our mouths produce less saliva. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.
To protect your health, practice good oral hygiene every day.
Contact Davidson Family Dentistry as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
Posted April 6th, 2017
What is a true dental emergency? An emergency is an event that can be life altering.
Examples of a true dental emergency include:
What should you do with a dental emergency?
What is a dental urgency? A dental urgency is an event that may seem innocent initially but has the potential to escalate into a more severe event.
Examples of a dental urgency include:
What should you do about a dental urgency?
What about those other worries?
We will do everything possible to see you on the same day you call with your emergencies, urgencies and other worries. Thank you for your trust in us!
Davidson Family DentistryPosted March 6th, 2017
Researchers report that 41 percent of scuba divers experience dental symptoms in the water.
Due to the constant jaw clenching and fluctuations in the atmospheric pressure underwater, divers may experience symptoms that range from tooth, jaw, and gum pain to loosened crowns and broken dental fillings.
It is suggested that recreational divers consult with their dentist before diving if they have recently received dental care. Since the air supply regulator is held in the mouth, any disorder in the oral cavity can potentially increase the diver’s risk of injury.
Vinisha Ranna conducted the research which appeared in the British Dental Journal after noticing a squeezing sensation in her teeth (a condition known as barodontalgia) while scuba diving. An unhealthy tooth underwater would be much more obvious than on the surface. One hundred feet underwater is the last place you want to be with a fractured tooth.
The study also found that pain was most commonly reported in the molars. Patients should ensure that dental decay, cracked teeth and restorations are addressed before a dive.
Source: Vinisha Ranna, lead author; University at Buffalo School of Dental MedicinePosted January 12th, 2017
Night guards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth. Clenching or grinding can occur during the daytime and/or nighttime. Not all patients are aware a habit exists. A patient may come in with facial muscle soreness, jaw fatigue, or pain in the temporalmandibular joint, also known as TMJ. Dentists may see wear facets or attrition on the teeth causing a flattened or worn down look that indicate a potential habit or past habit. Gum recession or notches in the teeth at the gumline known as abfractions can also be signs a clenching or grinding habit exists.
If a night guard has been recommended for you and you choose to not get one or don’t wear it on a consistent basis, further complications could happen. The symptoms of facial muscle soreness, jaw fatigue, pain in the TMJ can continue, along with continued wear on the teeth, headaches and breaking down of tooth structure causing cracks or mobile teeth. If cracks in teeth occur, then the added expense of a crown may be needed.
There are two types of night guards Davidson Family Dentistry recommends, either a soft or hard night guard. Both are excellent at absorbing forces placed on teeth during the clenching/grinding process. Your dentist will take a look at your bite and recommend the one that is best for you. The soft night guard is made in our office and is custom fit to each patient. It is soft and compressible so it can have a tendency to wear out and need replaced more quickly. A rigid night guard is made at a lab outside the office and is also custom fit to each patient. Because it is rigid and non-compressible, it is stronger and generally doesn’t need replaced as often. The rigid night guards can be blue, green, pink or clear in color. Due to the materials used and the involvement of an outside lab, the cost of hard night guards is substantially more expensive.
For either the soft or hard night guard, it takes two appointments to complete the procedure. The first appointment is to take an impression of the teeth, which is where impression material is placed in a tray and then held in place on the teeth until the material sets. If a hard night guard is being made, we will also do a bite registration which is just simply biting down on some impression material in order for us to get a reading on how your teeth fit together. The second appointment is 10-14 days later, possibly sooner, to place the night guard and assure it fits properly. At this appointment, you will also receive a traveling case and homecare instructions. Once you receive your night guard, you are free to bring it in at any time for a complimentary night guard cleaning.
Some insurances cover a percentage of the night guard cost. We would be happy to look into your insurance coverage for you. Night guards are discounted under the Davidson membership plan at 15%.
Posted November 30th, 2016
As we have grown at Davidson Family Dentistry, it has been important to develop our organization structure so that we can continue to deliver the same level of customer service that we had when it was just Dr. David Davidson and a staff of 3.
One of the ways we do that is with team leads who coordinate our activities and make sure we are consistent in delivering a high level of patient care. Another is through continued training for all staff both in and out of the office. The third way is by having coordinators who manage some of the specialty functions of the office. We thought we would discuss the role of the coordinators in the office with this blog.
Scheduling Coordinator – Nancy is our scheduling coordinator and it is her responsibility to keep watch on the 21 columns of patient care. While any of our front desk staff can schedule patients, Nancy double checks to make sure that patients are with the doctor or hygienist they requested, that the correct amount of time has been scheduled, and people who are on our call list for specific times or days are contacted. She also confirms a number of appointments each day. Nancy is well suited for this function since she is one of the friendliest people you will meet.
Invisalign and Marketing Coordinator – Mary Ann is our Invisalign and Marketing Coordinator. While the marketing portion of the job has little interaction with patients, the Invisalign portion gives her closer contact over a year or more with patients who are doing orthodontia through Invisalign. Mary Ann is a huge believer in using Invisalign since she used it many years ago and has been extremely satisfied with the results.
Sedation Coordinator – Tracy is our sedation coordinator and has a love for helping patients go from fearful to comfortable with dental procedures. Since many times sedation patients need a number of dental procedures done, she helps them coordinate both insurance and financials. She also works closely with Dr. Michael Davidson and his two primary dental assistants. As a trained dental assistant, she can also step in and assist with sedation if need be.
Equipment and Supply Coordinator – Chrissy is our equipment and supply coordinator and she makes sure all 15 of our patient operatories, as well as the sterilization and lab areas, have properly functioning equipment and that all necessary supplies are available. As one of the dental assistants at Davidson Family Dentistry, her coordinator’s job is not one you see unless equipment is not working or supply prices go up. However, be assured she and the other dental assistants are very good at shopping for great pricing and staying on top of repair orders.
Insurance Specialist – Kathy is our insurance specialist and works one on one with many patients to coordinate insurance coverage for dental work. Dental work, because of the equipment and supply costs, lab expenses and time involved, can be expensive. Many patients who have dental insurance coverage want to know what assistance, if any, their dental benefits will provide. Kathy heads up our preauthorization process and is very good at calling patients to explain the Estimate of Benefits received from their insurance companies. After spending years as an officer in the insurance industry, we are pleased that Kathy is at Davidson Family Dentistry.Posted November 10th, 2016
The end of the year is rapidly approaching and is a busy time of the year for everyone. However, most insurance and flexible benefit plans work on a calendar year basis and if you don’t use your benefits before year end, they are gone and new benefits start next year.
If you know you have dental work that needs to be done or if you suspect that you have some work that needs done, now is the time to get it scheduled. This is especially true for those of you where your coverage limitations under your insurance policy is set at $1000 or $1500. In the dental world, it doesn’t take long for those benefits to be used up.
By waiting you can end up needing to pay the cost of needed dental work out of pocket or paying for more procedures (i.e. a root canal and a crown vs. just a crown.)
We have lists of patients with dental work which has been preauthorized by insurance companies but not yet scheduled. Some of you are waiting to see if you will have other dental work that you need to get done in 2016 (i.e. something is hurting) before going forward with dental work on teeth that are not currently hurting. Now is the time to schedule that work. Remember that crown and bridge work takes at least two appointment times with space between them. Implants, partials and dentures take more appointments than that and everything must be finished by December 31st.
Sedation appointments for wisdom teeth removal or other procedures for Thanksgiving week and winter holiday are also filling up quickly. The hygiene schedule fills quickly during that time as well for workers and students who find it difficult to get away during non-holiday times.
Finally, remember that while most insurance companies provide that cleanings need to be six months apart, some provide two cleanings at any time during a calendar year. It is always important to figure out what your individual dental insurance policy provides. Flex programs are almost always on a calendar year and if your benefits are not used during the year, they are lost.
Our six dentists and nine hygienists are available Thanksgiving week and the whole month of December so that we can help you meet your dental needs in the most financially advantageous manner possible. Please give us a call.Posted October 26th, 2016