Editor’s intro: Dr. Bovenizer’s prescription for his successful life and practice is a healthy dose of faith, family, technology, and a talented team.
Rx for orthodontic success
What can you tell us about your background?
I grew up in rural Virginia where much of my family worked in the healthcare/medicine industry. I come from a long lineage of pharmacists, starting with my grandfather and grandmother, and continuing to my father, sister, uncle, and cousin. The unique aspect here is that they worked in family-owned and operated pharmacies. I spent my adolescent years pricing all the merchandise, loading the pop machine, and sweeping the floors. It literally was a family business.
I distinctly remember when Walmart opened in the 1980s, which was the start of the corporate pharmacy influx in my small hometown of Bluefield, Virginia. My family was obviously worried about “big business” taking over our smaller drugstore — it can be near impossible to try and compete. My father, however, is an extremely hard worker and didn’t let this intimidate him. He stayed the course, and the pharmacy is still doing well today. I credit my love for small business to his success and my family’s legacy in pharmaceuticals. Because of this, I knew that I wanted to own and start a business someday.
Why did you decide to focus on orthodontics?
I have always had an interest in science and pursued a science degree at Virginia Tech. I went into my senior year of undergrad trying to decide which degree path I should take, and my mother suggested dental school. At first, I thought she was crazy! I fought it but decided to take the DAT, and the rest was history.
In my hometown, there were very few specialists, no oral surgeons, no pedodontists or endodontists. I went into it thinking I was just going to get a dental degree and that would be the end of it. My passion for orthodontics, however, surfaced in my third year of dental school. I loved the transformations that were occurring over time and the detail of work that was involved. I also loved the vibe that came from the residents — they were always happy, self-motivated, and enthusiastic. At that point, my spark was ignited, and I am still passionate about helping people achieve the smile they have always been after.
How long have you been practicing, and what systems do you use?
I have been in private practice at Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics in Cary, North Carolina, for 13 years. I started using the Damon™ System in 2009, and since then, have used the system exclusively as a fixed appliance. I’ve enjoyed seeing its evolution over the past several years. The Damon System’s low-friction, passive self-ligating brackets, and minimally invasive treatment options have been valuable to the success of my practice — and patient satisfaction. We also use various clear aligner options for those not interested in fixed appliances.
What training have you undertaken?
I went to West Virginia University for a 3-year orthodontic program and had the opportunity to learn from so many incredible full-time and part-time faculty and staff. I was also exposed to a variety of techniques including the McLaughlin, Bennett, and Trevisi system and the Andrews system. In terms of my professional career, I became board certified in 2006 and re-certified in 2011. And finally, on top of all that, I have trained extensively in diode laser technology, temporary anchorage devices, and as I mentioned earlier, the Damon System.
Who has inspired you?
My faith in Jesus Christ has been instrumental in shaping how I live my day-to-day life. I have quickly realized that I need to seek His will and not my own. Life can be challenging, and this relationship has been key. I have been through differing layers of success, and this does not bring happiness; in the end, my faith and family will be what counts.
Additionally, my father has made many sacrifices throughout my life and remains one of my best friends. To see his heart and kindness at 72 years of age is inspiring to me. He has set a great standard for me to measure my own life. My wife and three daughters are also very instrumental. I do not think I would be where I am today without the support of my wife, Megan.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your practice?
The most satisfying aspect of my practice is being able to be authentic and real with our family of patients. Sharing my heart with this practice and building a relationship with them really makes me tick. Sometimes I have to pinch myself because it feels surreal.
Professionally, what are you most proud of?
This is a difficult question to answer. Certainly, I am proud of a lot of things; however, I believe an overinflated sense of pride can taint an individual or organization. I really think it is the authenticity that I place into my practice. I am always seeking to improve myself from a professional and a personal standpoint. Although I am confident, I try to possess a quality of humility in everything I do.
What do you think is unique about your practice?
My team is the most unique part of my practice. We have 21 team members who give it their all every single day. We are blessed with a great, hardworking, and supportive team. We also have one location and two doctors. Both Dr. Christopher Baker and I pour our lives into the office each day.
What has been your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge has been myself. Although I am always eager to learn and change, I find that the limiting factor is always myself. I am the one who becomes stubborn and complacent at times. Or often I need to look in the mirror and recognize that there are limitations but to never rest on getting better and striving for excellence.
What would you have become if you had not become a dentist?
I really believe with all my heart that God placed me in the field of orthodontics. I am exactly where I need to be. If I had to pick one, I would have been a landscape architect on a farm. I love plants and trees. It is a lot like orthodontics, with very meticulous cultivation of soil and watching the product grow.
What is the future of orthodontics and dentistry?
I think our profession is very cyclical. Now, with that said, things are changing, and practices must adapt. We now have a digital platform on which to practice — we scan and print 3D models. Practices are using more clear aligner therapy options as well. I believe that there will always be room for orthodontic practices that are striving to provide high-end and quality treatment for their patients.
What are your top tips for maintaining a successful practice?
The number one piece of advice for maintaining a successful practice is honesty. Honesty with patients, staff, and everyone in between can help build up your reputation. Remembering that each person on your team is valuable and treating him/her with respect is important in creating a prosperous work environment.
In terms of orthodontic treatment, I recommend practices using Phase I sparingly. This is because in many cases, dental correction achieved in Phase I may have to be corrected again in Phase II. To prevent this, I advise allowing all teeth to erupt into the oral cavity prior to beginning orthodontic care.
What advice would you give to budding orthodontists?
In addition to the previously mentioned advice, I recommend budding orthodontists maintain a sense of humility as they train for a professional career in orthodontics. Learning to become humble, in addition to honesty, helps build trust among both colleagues and peers, which is the key to leadership development and reputation establishment.
What are your hobbies, and what do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time outside, whether that’s traveling with my family or working in the yard. I also enjoy playing tennis and staying active. During my downtime, I love to read and study up on the latest in orthodontia.
Top 10 favorites
- My faith and family
- The Damon™ Q2 bracket
- Dave Matthews
- The water
- Ted Baker™ clothing
- My Big Green Egg® charcoal grill and pork9. Spectralase diode laser
Besides Dr. Bovenizer’s prescription for growth, read about another orthodontist who got his inspiration from his family’s roots and grew the legacy into a successful practice.