Dr. Jonathan Clemetson, DDS, M.S. owns Personalized Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. He’s also a Clinical Associate Professor at Baylor College of Dentistry, Texas A&M, where every year he takes students out into local and international communities to do dental clinics. A native of Jamaica, Dr. Clemetson also operates a clinic there. This is his story.
Inspired by the golden rule
What prompted you to start your practice?
I had a desire to give patients what I always wanted as a patient myself: to be educated, given my options, and not be over-treated for someone else’s sole financial gain. In December of 2003, I acquired an existing practice I’d heard about through mutual friends who thought the former owner and I had similar philosophies. Once I’d purchased the practice, it was an easy transition.
Did you face any bumps in the road initially?
The biggest challenge was how to get my name and business philosophy out and how to stand apart from the other Dallas practitioners. I overcame them by being true to my practice philosophy of taking good care of my patients, so they know we truly care about them. I also made a point of being accessible, using tools like a website and Facebook business page to connect with clients.
Does your practice have a niche? How did you find it?
I did a residency called a General Practice Residency (GPR) after dental school. The residency is where we’re trained to do more advanced dentistry and focus on patients with medical problems.
I was a medical technologist before dental school, and I knew I wanted to treat patients more as a whole rather than than just their mouths and teeth.
Personalized Dentistry does handle regular general and cosmetic dentistry, however our “niche” is treating patients with special needs (terminal cancer, transplant, severe phobics, etc). We even provide care in the operating room environment for patients who need that support. Very few dentists do this.
You still have to make the time to listen and do thorough workups, but you also have to research their disorders and communicate with other professionals treating them. Each disorder might have a different approach — depending on the type of cancer and treatment, for example, the phasing of dental treatment might be different (i.e., what can be done at what time).
Founded on principle
What’s your business philosophy?
Our philosophy is to treat our patients the way we would want to be treated. Be available, respect their time, educate them, give them all their options, and try to have a fun environment whenever possible.
In addition to my dental practice, I also teach part-time at Baylor College of Dentistry, Texas A&M. I teach through the Public Health Department, where we take students out to underserved areas to do clinics.
I’m originally from Jamaica and also have a clinic set up there where we provide care in the remote areas yearly. We’ve gone to Zambia twice in conjunction with Baylor Nursing School and will be going again next year. They need dentists very badly, especially at the university there. After that, we might do Zambia again or Kenya.
Personal Dentistry’s digital tools
What online tools do you use for your business?
But our website is our window to the world — it’s how we communicate, educate, and inform our patients. It’s how we stay relevant. It’s also a key way for our patients to communicate with us.
Words of advice
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since starting Personalized Dentistry?
Teaching myself to work smarter vs. harder. Plus, humbling myself to realize that what I do is a practice — there is only so much that I can do, especially when dealing with the failing, aging human body.
If you had to do it over again, what’s one thing you’d do differently?
I would have started my dental career earlier.
Do you have any advice for other entrepreneurs?
Do your best on your best day, do your best on your worst day. It is a practice — we cannot perfect the human body!
Also published on Medium.