Our Core Philosophy – Bonita Springs, FL
Why Do We Do It? Glad You Asked!
Dr. Melanie Pugh and our team strongly believe that patients know best about what makes a good dental care experience. That's why we've listened well over the years to their unique preferences, concerns, and priorities. Certain ideas kept coming up again and again, and as a result, we established a true Dental Promise to make it crystal-clear that we would never forget to follow these important guidelines for ALL patients. We have distilled our philosophy into several basic tenets, and they clearly outline what makes our practice different and why you’ll be proud to call yourself our patient.
Our Story & Our Philosophy
Dr. Pugh is from one of the smallest, poorest, counties in Appalachian eastern Kentucky. Her mother was a social worker for the state and taught her to never judge people because she did not know what they have gone through or what their life was like. Her father worked road construction and was meticulous in everything he did, from keeping their property clean to how he grilled their steaks and burgers. Growing up, she attended Bethel Baptist Church in her hometown of 700 people.
She attended the University of Kentucky for both undergraduate and dental school. Before owning her first practice in a small town in east/central Kentucky, Dr. Pugh worked in both Appalachian and inner-city, low-income clinics.
Why is this important to share on our web page? While most websites these days are templates that seem to all say the same things with the same stock photos, we want our community to know just where we come from as a practice. Dr. Pugh’s upbringing and experience frame the philosophy of the practice. Do not judge people. CARE for people. Do not fake empathy-have genuine empathy. As her childhood dentist told her when she decided to go to dental school, “Just do good dentistry and the patients will come.”
In 2005, Dr. Pugh and her husband, Jody, made a big decision in their life. They had moved to Florida in 2003 and Dr. Pugh had been an employee where she was not happy with the way patients were treated. She and Jody decided that Jody would leave the corporate world to get him “off of the road” and they would start a dental practice and start a family.
Over the years, the practice has grown and today there are three dentists in addition to Dr. Pugh - Dr. Ariel Westervelt, Dr. Mary Midence, and Dr. Tracy Couillard. Each doctor is right in step with Dr. Pugh’s philosophy, and today, most of our patients are seen by these incredible associate dentists.
Also over the years, we have crafted a formal business philosophy that every staff member must know and believe in. While this has always been intended for our staff, we have decided to share it with our community. We want you to know what our staff knows, and that is what we believe and how we do business.
Not everyone is looking for a practice like ours. But we want to make sure that when people who ARE looking for a practice like ours to see our website, they will know they found their new dental home!
Our Mission - Healthy, Happy Smiles
Dr. Pugh’s purpose is simple, and best described in her own words. “You know what is really my passion for dentistry? While I enjoy the art and craftsmanship of dentistry, and I really enjoy helping people function better, eat better, and sleep better, what really excites me is when I help a person who is self-conscious about their smile, be able to feel proud of their smile. You can see it in their eyes, in their posture, in their attitude. It is amazing! It has nothing to do with money or how challenging the case is. It could be as simple as rounding the corner of a tooth to make it look more natural. I just can’t put into words how it makes me feel to help someone overcome their self-consciousness about their smile!”
So, as a practice, this is how we put Dr. Pugh’s heart-felt mission into action.
HEALTHY means that we make sure that our patients’ gums are healthy, that they can fully function when eating, and they keep their teeth for life. Although, sometimes the healthy thing is to remove harmful or unnecessary teeth for best health.
HAPPY means that we challenge ourselves to make patients FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES when they leave the office than when they arrived!
Our Core Values - Do the Right Thing, Tell the Truth
To us, Core Values are like guardrails. They keep us from going in the wrong direction. More than anything else in our Philosophy, our team knows our Core Values.
Everything we do, every decision we make, has one ultimate priority. Is it the right thing to do? Sometimes in life we have hard decisions to make. But rarely is it difficult in our practice because we live by this guiding value. Whether it is a patient-related, employee-related, or a business-related decision, we always start with, “What is the right thing to do?”
On the surface, it would seem that telling the truth IS the right thing to do. We believe so firmly in this value, however, that we intentionally state it. We never intentionally mislead a patient, employee, or each other. We never diagnose anything that is not truly needed. We are transparent and honest in everything we do.
We know that when we live by these Core Values, decisions are easier to make, and life is far less stressful.
Quality Dentistry and Sterilization
The first and most important thing that we do is high-quality dentistry and sterilization (infection control). More important than our culture is our dentistry and infection control. We do not use off-brand or generic products, aftermarket implant parts, or cheap, overseas labs. We do not do “patch 'em up” dentistry. We have state-of-the-art equipment and are up to date with all COVID-19 infection control protocols.
The second most important is our culture. We (the entire staff) create a culture where we as individuals make important contributions to each other, to our patients, and to our community, each day. Our team is engaged and passionate about their careers.
Quality Patient Experience
The third layer of Our Credo is our patient experience. We don’t want to exceed our patients’ expectations. We try to blow our patients' expectations, of what they can expect in a dental practice, out of the water! We want to see our patients leave our practice saying “Wow! I didn’t even know I could expect this level of care and service in a dental practice! I need to go find someone to tell!” We don’t always get it right, but we always try, and we always listen!
So why is Patient Experience last in our Credo? Because we know that if we do the highest quality dentistry, with a staff that is highly engaged and cares deeply about their contribution in the practice, that we will produce a MUCH better patient experience than if we focus on Patient Experience first!
Our Dental Promise
Throughout the years, we've had a lot of time to listen to our patients. And in that time, there have been five things that patients consistently list as things most important to them. The result is what we call "Our Promise" to you. Our team aims to change the way you feel about dentistry in a positive way. How? We have a promise that consists of several important tenets: being conservative and trustworthy, providing high-quality care, maintaining a dental team that genuinely cares, and creating a professional experience at all times. If you'd like to learn more about these promises and how we implement them, check out our dedicated page!