|Name: Michael Hoffman, DDS
Graduate from: The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, 1987;
Specialty in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery: MetroHealth Medical Center, 1992
Name: W. Stephen Barnes, DMD
Graduate from: Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, 2004;
Specialty in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery: MetroHealth Medical Center, 2008
Name: Lewis Winston, DDS, retired
Graduate from: Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry, 1973; Specialty in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery: MetroHealth Medical Center, 1982
Practice Name: Falls Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center
Practice Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Practice Opened: 1962 by Leon Wyant, DDS
Staff: 13 full-time, plus two surgeons
Why do you think dental implants are important to the dental profession
as a whole?
Barnes: Technology as far as implants go has really taken off and it's now allowing us to do
things that 10 or 15 years ago were virtually impossible. We can do anything from restoring single
teeth and restoring multiple teeth to providing excellent retention of patients' dentures.
Implants allow patients to regain function that had been lost. Since we remove a lot of teeth, it's
nice to have a reliable option to replace them in a way that is almost as good, if not just as good
as the teeth were prior to becoming decayed or infected. Implants improve aesthetics and most of
all they can restore self-confidence in patients.
Hoffman: It really gives patients a second chance at a normal set of teeth. We didn't have that
ability until recently.
Why did you choose dentistry/oral surgery as
Hoffman: When I was a child I went through the usual
stages of wanting to be a police officer and a fireman and for
some reason in the third grade, I decided I wanted to be a dentist.
It was an opportunity where I could own my own business
and still have a positive impact on people's lives. Once I was in
dental school I found that I really enjoyed the variety that oral
surgery presented and now, I can't imagine doing anything else.
Barnes: I come from a family of physicians actually.
When I had to do a career day in high school I went and
spent a few days with an oral surgeon in his office. I liked the
ability to have your own practice, do your own anesthesia,
perform surgery, but still at the same time have at least some
semblance of a home life. It's great. I wouldn't choose to do
What is your current practice philosophy?
Hoffman: We want to provide the finest oral surgical care to
every patient in a gentle, comforting environment. We're going
to go the extra step to make each experience special and make
our patients want to return to the practice.
What does your practice do that
sets you apart from other oral surgeons
in your area?
Barnes: We pride ourselves in our surgical
work and our expertise. We are both board certified
surgeons, and I think that demonstrates
an elevated level of knowledge in a variety of
surgical topics and shows a commitment to
continued learning that we both share. Also I
like to think that our communication with our
referring dentists is top notch. We really try to
make things easy for the restoring dentist. We
are up to date with technology and really utilize
our Web site to educate patients about procedures
and postoperative care.
Hoffman: In regards to the office, the idea
in designing it was that it not look like a clinic.
When you walk in, it looks like your living
room and that was the whole idea to make people
comfortable as opposed to make it a threatening environment.
Another thing that makes us different is our low employee
turnover. We treat them as our most valuable assets and that
makes it nice for patients to see a familiar face when they return.
How might a patient benefit from implants?
And how are they different or better than a
bridge or crown alternative?
Hoffman: With implants you don't have aggressive removal of
adjacent tooth structure to get a restoration. The research out there
clearly shows the longevity of implants versus traditional bridgework.
Implants in the long run are much more conservative and
they offer a better longevity than traditional crown and bridge.
How did the team meet?
Hoffman: When Dr. Winston was looking to practice part
time, I interviewed a lot of candidates to join the practice, but
really didn't find anyone who shared our people-centered personality.
If you know Dr. Winston and me, we're pretty low-key.
We don't throw instruments, stomp our feet or yell. We were
looking for someone with the same comforting attitude. Steve
came down when he was chief resident at Metro to observe
implant techniques. I loved his personality. We started talking
about joining together. I was thrilled when I asked him to join
the practice and he accepted.
Who are some of your dental mentors?
Barnes: Dr. Jon Bradrick, my residency chairman, and
Dr. Barry Stein, who introduced me to the field of oral surgery.
Also, Michael Pikos, Anthony Sclar, and Robert Marx
– they are all oral surgeons and I'm fascinated by their contribution
to the profession.
Hoffman: Dr. A. Thomas Indresano, my program director
who really got me started. And Dr. Winston was really big in
getting me started and piquing my interest as well. Also,
Anthony Sclar's textbook is a must for anyone doing aesthetic
What is your favorite procedure to perform?
Barnes: My favorite procedure to perform is an open
Hoffman: That's also my favorite.
Barnes: It's fun, it's predictable, and it's an impressive surgery
Describe your most rewarding experience.
Barnes: Currently I have the privilege to work on a gentleman
who was the victim of a pretty bad fall. He is a young college
student who unfortunately sustained a lot of dentoalveolar
injuries. The case has so many facets. I think he is going to be
my most rewarding case from a personal standpoint, first
because of his story and second because of all of the surgical
complexities that are involved with his care.
I have also been involved with a charitable organization
called Convoy of Hope. It was so gratifying to provide much
needed dental care right here in Northeast Ohio.
Hoffman: I've gone to Honduras twice with medical mission
teams doing oral surgery. We'll travel up into the mountain
villages where people see a dentist maybe every three or four
years. It's a very humbling experience. It's also a test of surgical
skills since there's no electricity, handpieces or suction. You get
pretty good with working with hand instruments. It's challenging
Since you began your career, what are the
three biggest changes you've seen in the
Hoffman: First, the explosion of implant dentistry. When I
started practicing 18 years ago, patients came to the office not
knowing what implants were. Now they come to the office, and
not only do they know what implants are, they know that they
want an implant and they usually have a friend or a neighbor
that already has one.
Second, the computerization of dental offices. When I
started I never even dreamed of having a computer in each treatment
room. I can't imagine not having them now.
And third, the new grafting materials – BMP products,
PRGF, Osteocel. All these products are making bone grafting
easier and more predictable with less discomfort for the patient.
That's going to be the next big area that takes off in oral surgery.
Looking ahead, what would you like to see dentistry
do in terms of the way it operates as a
profession in the next five to 10 years?
Barnes: I think as technology continues to improve, you're
going to see more computer-guided surgical procedures. I also
foresee better, more predictable and cheaper grafting alternatives.
You're looking at shorter healing times as they continue to
modify implant surfaces. As predictable as implants are now,
they're only going to get more predictable.
Hoffman: I think what I'd like to see is what you are doing
at Dentaltown. Dentists as a group need to come together more
and become a unified force. One of the things I love about
Dentaltown is the idea that dentists are all there learning
together and learning from each other. It's a very nice, nonthreatening
place for discussion. As we go forward, I'd like dentists to
stop looking at the dentist down the street as a competitor and
more as a colleague. There are patients for everybody. I'd like to
see dentists come together and become a more cohesive unit.
What would you say is your biggest source of
new patients and how do you market to get
Barnes: Our biggest source of new patients comes from
our strong referring dentists. We are extremely grateful for the
dentists we have as a referring group to our practice. We have
a lot of very loyal and very good practitioners who have
entrusted their patients with us and that's how we get most of
our new patients.
Hoffman: Probably 90 percent of our patients are referral-based.
So we nurture that relationship with our referrals. All
business aside, we're actually good friends with a lot of our referring
What do you like to do in your free time?
Barnes: I enjoy working out and golfing. I like to garden
and enjoy traveling. I spend a lot of time with my wife who's a
Hoffman: I spend a lot of time racing soapbox derby cars
with my kids. I have three children. I also enjoy running. My
wife has got me running marathons. I have finished six
marathons; she's run 13.
Anything else you would like to add?
Hoffman: I think it's important for dentists to take practice
management courses and really understand how to run a business.
It doesn't matter how good at dentistry you are, if you can't
run an office and be somewhat profitable.