by Anne Prado
Please Relax and Unwind…the Dentist will be With You Shortly
Stressed about your next dental visit? The eccentric team at Valley Family Dentistry in Harlingen will go out of their way to make you comfortable, and in the process will inject some much needed panache into your visit. Welcome to the newest concept of dental health in the Valley.
Would a massage chair, complimentary beverage, and flat screen TV encourage you to floss more often? The dynamic husband and wife team at Valley Family Dentistry say they want to break the stereotype of a dental office being a ‘serious and scary place,’ and in the process, take anxiety out of the picture forever.
Opening the doors to their newest office, Drs. Brenda Landeros and John Vinton DDS, have gone to great lengths to develop a surprisingly indulgent treatment day routine. As clients arrive at the new building—which resembles more of a coffee shop than a clinic— they fill out consent forms while massage chairs work away their nerves.
Clients are also welcome to enjoy a beverage of their choice – coffee, juice, or even a glass of wine. During appointments, there’s no need to feel intimidated by procedures since clients can enjoy a variety of amenities added in every room.
“We want to bring that little comfort so that people look forward to every visit,” said Dr. Landeros.
“Our goal is to educate our patients so that they make the best informed decision about their dental health. Oral and dental health is key to a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Vinton said, adding to Landeros’ comment. “The staff at Valley Family Dentistry is committed to being partners with our clients. This collaboration provides the opportunity for a lifetime of optimum health.”
Both are graduates of Baylor College of Dentistry. Dr. Landeros’ determination led her to earn a doctorate from BCD in 2006. Encouraged by Dr. Vinton, who is also her husband, she decided to spread her wings. She spent a year building a successful career in Dallas before deciding to work part time near her family in South Texas. For the next two years Landeros, who is an Alamo native, began commuting between Dallas and Harlingen from 2007 to 2009 until she purchased Valley Family Dentistry and hired a partner dentist to assist while she was away.
The experience of opening three offices in Dallas served her well, and in 2010, she acquisitioned Valley Family Dentistry as sole owner, settling permanently in the Rio Grande Valley.
This joyful partnership seems to add fuel to their innovative ambitions. On the subject of her initially purchasing Valley Family Dentistry, she shared how their team mentality existed even before partnering. “I told him, ‘I won’t do it if you don’t think it’s a good idea.’” She remembered, explaining how her husband’s support gave her the final push to follow her heart. Now, seven years in, taking it a step further and deciding on a new location came like a natural progression.
Vinton’s transition from Dallas to join Landeros contributed to their desire to think beyond what already exists in the Rio Grande Valley. Both took an extraordinary effort to become familiar with the area before embarking on a massive project. Their goal was to change the concept of dentistry in the region forever.
“I would not have arrived here and done this right away,” Landeros says about the new concept and dental experience. “We believe the RGV is ready for a greater experience while still maintaining a friendly, family dental office.”
Such an innovative concept might be new to the Rio Grande Valley, but not to Texas. Bigger metropolitan areas have already adopted the trend of offering a variety of amenities to attract a wider clientele.
“This office isn’t ‘us’,” confessed Vinton at their current facility, having been with Valley Family Dentistry for just over a year. The office’s stiff design contrasted with the couple’s outgoing personality. And what’s worse – it felt like a dental office. “We want to break the stereotype of a serious, scary place,” Vinton added. “A dentist visit shouldn’t be stressful. Our goal is to take anxiety out of the picture.”
Looking outwardly isn’t Valley Family Dentistry’s only focus. It’s also important to foster the same attitude among employees by maintaining a work atmosphere that is as relaxed as their new facility. This perspective makes it clear that a welcoming dental office not only relaxes clients, but their staff as well, Dr. Landeros says.
“I tell them, ‘I need you to be happy, because if you’re not, it defuses into our environment,’” she says. “We’re meeting people daily. Everyday we have a new patient, and every room is challenging in its own way. No situation is the same.”
A sense of community has become the driving force behind Landeros’ success. She advises new professionals to never be afraid of asking for help and always get involved with whoever is around them. “Often the best advice I get comes from the person down the street or someone who helps me out at the bank everyday.”
Days before Valley Family Dentistry’s reopening, Landeros still pinches herself while driving by the new building. “It’s hard to believe this is actually happening.” Her eyes shine as bright as her smile. “After years of being limited in what I wanted to do, it’s here.”
Residents are also sure to benefit from Landeros’ vision as she turns her dreams into a reality for the Rio Grande Valley.
“We spend more time here than we do at home,” Landeros realizes. “I’ve planned this for a long time,” she gushes. “As excited as everyone is, I’m ecstatic.”
A Client’s Testimony: The Old & The New
Valley Family Dentistry’s former office received me like every standard dental clinic does—with a cozy but sparse waiting area. As I sat there, I tried not to let the experience of visiting a dentist intimidate me. But my dental anxiety was no match for Drs. Landeros and Vinton’s fun and warm personalities. Meeting and talking to them put me right at ease.
After our great conversation, my appointment started in a space that seemed to reflect the clinic’s transition. The TV on in front of me wasn’t yet a flat screen, but it did its job in distracting me from the equipment. As I heard a child nearby, the thought came to mind that even if they weren’t moving, little ones must have enjoyed being able to watch cartoons while fixing their teeth.
I felt the need to tell them I was four months pregnant, which started an animated conversation between Dr. Vinton, his assistant, and I about having kids. Their friendliness eased my nerves, even though I was only there for a cleaning. But it had been years since I’ve been to a dentist, and my pregnant gums felt sensitive.
When Dr. Vinton laughed out loud at the mention of my meat-lover diet, I knew I wouldn’t be scolded. During the exam, I dreamed of the planned massage chairs, and couldn’t imagine myself being anything less than perfectly relaxed there. Even at the soon-to-be former office, I already was.