By Christina Garcia | Photos by Candor Pictures
No tooth is the same. Take it from Dr. Nikhil Reddy, one of three partners at Contemporary Endodontics. “Each person is so different and has such unique characteristics and anatomy,” said the Cypress area native.
Like him, each partner at the growing practice – which just opened its sixth location in Sugar Land – really appreciates teeth. No, really. They’ll help you inspect them, treat them, repair them, and save them. To do so, they’ll get to the root of the issue, literally. Endodontics is, after all, a salve to the roots and the pulp of any tooth. But why? What kind of person wants to be an endodontist?
“You either hate it or you love it,” said Dr. David Wan, owner of the practice. He learned he loved dentistry through volunteer work. Arriving at a dentist’s office on the day set aside for wisdom tooth extractions, he knew he had found his calling. Though he admits that even he was scared of the dentist growing up, the University of Texas graduate went on to become one, practicing in the Dallas area before returning home to start his private group practice in Houston.
With advances in technology, trips to the dentist have changed for the better. “When I was growing up, dentistry was the same from the time I was five to the time I was 21. Now, something new comes out every five years. It’s less scary,” said Dr. Wan.
Further volunteer work cemented his commitment to the trade when he performed emergency root canals for patients in clinics who might not otherwise have access to care. The theme of volunteer work and giving back came up several times in our interviews with the three partners, revealing itself as central to the beating heart of Contemporary Endodontics. More on that later.
Root Out the Ouch
As a dental student working in an emergency clinic, Dr. Wan knew patients often lined up at 7 AM. “A lot of patients had not slept in days due to the pain before they saw us,” he said. In one especially urgent case, a woman had been in line since 3 AM. “When I opened up the tooth and everything came out, it was instant pain relief for her.”
Dr. Reddy agrees with the primacy of ending tooth pain. “As small as a tooth is, when you’re in pain, you’ll do anything, including rip a tooth out,” he said.
But don’t worry. The Contemporary Endodontics motto is “We believe in roots,” and that means that it’s important to save natural-born teeth.
“I helped a 90-year-old woman do this. She wanted to save a tooth through endodontic surgery (an apicoectomy),” said Dr. Wan. “She was very healthy, and she healed up great.”
For Dr. Reddy, believing in roots also means embracing the roots of being human. It means supporting patients through their dental visits with comforting connection and expert care.
“I can’t tell you how many of my patients sleep and snore once they’re numb. They’re comfortable,” he said. “I work with lots of children too, and I’m proud of that because it’s crucial to create this confidence while they are young. After every appointment, I tell the kid, ‘You did amazing. The next time you walk into a dental office, walk in with confidence because you handled this with no trouble at all.’ It’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Partner Dr. Dave Patel concurred. Reinforcing good experiences and pain relief were top of mind for him when describing his mission. He’s been told by some patients that dental pain can be worse than childbirth, so you can understand why.
Dr. Patel was born for this job, though he says his own family didn’t prioritize dentistry when he was young. He told us how his first dental appointment was not until he was a teenager, but he loved the experience. In doctors’ offices, healing takes a while, but in dentistry, Dr. Patel loves the immediacy.
At Contemporary Endodontics, immediate relief is facilitated by the six Houston-area locations, which allow the group to accommodate patients sometimes seeking care due to unplanned and urgent health needs. With nine associates, three partners, and Saturday hours, Contemporary Endodontics is available in a crisis. The business has over 1,000 referring dentists in the Houston area, which speaks volume of attaining their community’s professional trust. As for insurance, the group accepts PPOs widely and some HMOs, said
For founder Dr. Wan, becoming one of the largest Houston-area privately owned endodontic practices allows him to actualize another aspect of belief in roots. For Dr. Wan, roots are in the community.
Participating in Mission of Mercy’s quest to provide dental services to low-income patients who could not otherwise afford them is a common thread among the partners and associates, who have served in Beaumont, Texas, Memphis, Tennessee, Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston, Massachusetts.
Dr. Patel told us about his service with Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the Cancer Society, as well as Thanksgiving turkey drives and sponsorships for local youth softball teams through Contemporary Endodontics. As Christmas approaches, the partners hope to continue the tradition as well as step up giving traditions personally and through each office.
In the future, Dr. Wan hopes to provide dental services to veterans and more. It’s all part of building relationships and providing comfortable dental services to patients of all ages.
Whatever your age or comfort level with dentists, the partners and associates at Contemporary Endodontics hope you feel at ease putting your teeth in their hands.