Breaking The Mold

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Kim Mowery about the philosophy of a typical dental practice and why she and her husband, Dr. Art Mowery, do nearly everything differently. I think you’ll find their ideas and perceptions could apply to almost any business.

Kim Mowery of Exceptional Dentistry/Gainesville
Kim Mowery of Exceptional Dentistry


Based on revenue, level of education and size of your practice, my research reveals that your Gainesville practice (Exceptional Dentistry) is one of the most successful dental practices in the country. Can you tell me as specifically as possible how you created such a successful practice?
Well…I didn’t do it alone, that’s for sure. My husband, Dr. Art Mowery, and I decided early on that we wanted one thing above all else; for our clients to receive the very best personalized dental healthcare he and I could possibly provide in comfort. We felt that healthcare in general was becoming too impersonal.

I would think that dentistry is about as personal as you can get. Can you explain what you mean by personalized or impersonal?
I’ll start with impersonal because that is what made us rethink how we could change the way traditional dentistry is done. Art and I obviously went to dentists before we became dentists. We also went to doctor’s appointments, visited friends and relatives in the hospital, etc. What we both felt so strongly about was ‘how’ we were treated in the process. We felt like we were just another patient among the masses in the waiting room, that in many cases the healthcare workers or doctors really didn’t listen and the business model was to move on to the next patient, and the next and the next. No one took the time to actually listen. Personalized medicine is when you not only treat the client like their time is valuable, but you listen intently to what their life is like…family, work, play and of course their health. We take the time to listen. After all, shouldn’t you be able to ‘talk’ to your doctor?

That makes perfect sense, but I’ve never been to a dental office were I didn’t have to wait in a crowded waiting room for my name to be called next. Why don’t other dental practices do this?
Most other practices are what we call insurance driven whereby the insurance companies dictate who you’re going to treat, what you can and cannot do for them, and how much you can charge for that procedure. We help our clients maximize their insurance benefits but we don’t allow that to limit us. We feel that our clients are entitled to know exactly what is going on in their mouths and what their options for treatment are. They get to decide what is important and what can wait.

OK, so your clients don’t have to wait a long time in a crowded room. You listen to their concerns and you tell them how it is. I’m still not sure why you’re so successful. Do you have any other thoughts on this?
Those are just the fundamentals of running a business. I think what sets us apart is our passion for what we do and I think that is the difference between being mediocre or reaching true success in any business. You can’t fake passion. We truly love what we do and our clients know it. We can’t wait to come in every day and see our client friends, and we anxiously attend continued education courses all over the country. We are both adjunct professors at the University of Florida and lecture for other dental practice teams all over North America. We love what we do.

Your practice image is well known in this area and it seems that Exceptional Dentistry is best known as the place to go for cosmetic dentistry. Is cosmetic dentistry your only focus?
No, no, no. We are first and foremost a family dental practice. We currently maintain many area family smiles. Cosmetic dentistry is not even half of our practice. We market for cosmetic, neuromuscular and reconstructive dentistry for several reasons. One is because there are a lot of people out there whose smile needs a little extra help as well as some that need major reconstruction. We want to be able to help our family clients with any aspect of dentistry they need or want. Most people don’t like to be referred to another dental office and then return for even more dental work. This way we can serve them better.

Is it fair then to describe you as a family and cosmetic dental practice?
No, we are a comprehensive family dental practice. We have invested into hundreds, if not thousands, of continued education course hours to provide our clients the latest dental procedures and techniques possible. In just the past five years we have been able to add I.V. Sedation and Implant dentistry procedures. Again, this allows our clients to be treated in one office by one doctor (or two in this case).

It sounds like you and Art are incredibly busy. As a mother, a wife and business partner, how can you possibly balance this successful business with everything else you have to do?
We definitely stay active. I guess the key word there is balance. We have great people to help us with our personal growth, in our personal lives and to work in the practice with us. This helps us to stay focused on what is important. Art and I make time to plan each day, each week, each month. During the Christmas break we like to take a few evenings to sit outside together, without the kids, and write down all the things we want to do next year. This usually encompasses further education, lectures, exercise, competitions, changes to the business, vacations and of course the children; planning and balance. I guess that’s the key for us.

Last question…with your successful practice running smoothly and every minute taken…is it time to coast a little?
Bite your tongue. When things get to where they run smoothly around here, we break the mold. You can’t stay where you are and get to the next level. Complacency can cause you to fall behind. And one of our favorite things to do is surprise our clients with new stuff that makes them even more comfortable during their visits. That is what makes us successful…our clients.

story / Jackie Rowe
photography / Johnston Photography