“Enhancing Smiles and Giving Back”
Smiles By Arnold & Associates
(ARTICLE FOR DOCTORS OF DENTISTRY MAGAZINE HONORING SMILES BY ARNOLD AND ASSOCIATES IN JANUARY 2009)
Stellar patient care, volunteer work, and cutting edge technology are three things that make Dr. Jim Arnold’s dental practice so successful. The practice caters to patients ages 1-100, but specializes in smile makeovers using the most advanced techniques and technology. These include DURAthin no- prep veneers, Invisalign, ZOOM!, cosmetic bonding, tooth colored fillings, and laser dentistry. Dr. Arnold and team effectively minimize anxiety in a spa-like environment using sedation dentistry. They also facilitate migraine headache treatment with NTI fabrication.
Dr. Arnold and his team are volunteers for the Give Back a Smile program through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. It is specifically designed to help victims of domestic abuse. Case in point:
Case in point: A young woman wass severely beaten in 1999 by her boyfriend — her mouth is full of broken teeth. Little did she know that when she entered the office of Dr. Jim Arnold that miracles could happen. Not only would she receive the best dental care, but it would all be on the house. It is no small wonder that he received the Partners in Peace award from the Give Back a Smile program, and his case report was presented in the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry.
“She cried when I told her we could help, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity.”Over a three month period, they treated her gum disease and performed full-mouth rehabilitation. It was a life changing event for her and gave her hope for the future. “Being able to help someone in such a significant way was humbling for all of us. We all felt that we received far more from this experience than we gave,” Dr. Arnold says.
The practice also participates in “Give Kids a Smile” and did $8K worth of free work for it the program last year. And with that Dr. Arnold adds what could very well be his mission statement in life: “I believe it is our responsibility to give back with our gifts and talents. The more we have, the more we can give. I have tried to surround myself with people who feel the same way.”
The Pursuit of Excellence
His appreciation for dentistry was sparked at an early age. After a 5 year childhood stint in braces, he was thrilled with his straight teeth and nice smile. He realized what a profound impact a dentist could have on someone’s life. Dr. Arnold’s close relationship with his family’s dentist also made a lasting impression. “He has always been such a perfectionist,” Dr. Arnold says of Dr. Scott Polizotto of Valparaiso. “He obviously loved what he did. That inspired me to become a dentist, too.”
And so Upon graduating from Valparaiso High School, he pursued a Biology Degree at Indiana University in Bloomington. The next logical step was dental school. He received his Doctor of Dental Sciences from Indiana University in 1996.
But as he tells it, learning and education have never stopped. Dr. Arnold feels that graduation from dental school was only the beginning. “I have a passion to do the best work that I can, and that has taken me all around the country taking courses. In the past seven years, I have attended 200 to 400 hours of continuing education per year trying to stay on the cutting edge,” he says. Dr. Arnold has attended courses with his team at some of the most respected dental institutes in the world including the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Center for Advanced Dental Studies, the Hornbrook Group, the Las Vegas Institute, PAC – Live, and the Nash Institute.
Despite obtaining far more than the required CEUs, he likes to be on the other side of the classroom as a teacher and mentor. In 2004, he began working for the internationally renowned Hornbrook Group. This group accepts very few dentists into its program as mentors. He devoted three years to serving as a clinical mentor in their live-patient programs for dentists all over the country.
Dr. Arnold likes to give back to the dental community through volunteering his time with various groups. He has been a board member for the Northwest Indiana Dental Society for ten years. He has served on Northwest Indiana’s Peer Review Committee since 2002, with three years as chairman.
Dr. Arnold serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics. He earned a fellowship in ACE in 2004 and then served as Chairman for the Fellowship Committee from 2006 to 2008. He has written an “Ask the Dentist” column in an area newspaper since 2005 in his continuing efforts to educate the general public about oral health. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Crown Council and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
Despite constantly honing his skills, two busy practices, and involvement in several dental groups, Dr. Arnold launched the World Institute for Dental Education with two colleagues in 2006. Their focus was to bring the most current information and awareness about new techniques in dentistry to other dentists around the world.
They traveled to India in 2006 and again in 2007 and had the privilege of sharing their knowledge with more than 1500 dentists in seven cities. During one seminar, Dr. Arnold and his colleagues reconstructed a full upper arch for an impoverished female patient while thirty Indian dentists observed the procedure. In the United States, the price tag for such a complex procedure would have been about $20,000. Dr. Arnold and the World Institute for Dental Education donated the treatment for the patient and the education for the dentists. It was an extraordinary experience for Dr. Arnold and his colleagues, and they look forward to returning to India and accepting invitations to speak in several other countries, including Brazil, Portugal, Dubai and Spain.
The need at home and abroad sometimes seems endless, but the end results are so gratifying when a patient flashes their gorgeous new smile. “It is definitely well worth the extra effort when you can change a patient’s life or help another dentist increase his or her career satisfaction and ability to help people,” he says.
The team approach
He is very proud to have two exceptional associates in Dr. Lisa Shideler and Dr. Natalie Wargo. They both share Dr. Arnold’s passion for constant personal and professional growth.
Dr. Shideler serves with Dr. Arnold on the Peer Review Committee, and she is a member of Northwest Indiana’s Seattle Study Club. Dr. Arnold purchased Dr. Shideler’s 17 year old practice in 2005. She says, “It’s all worked out just great- I get to do what I love which is treating patients and not being bogged down with the day to day tasks of running a business. Dr. Arnold does that so well and he’s just been great to work with.”
Shideler sees patients four days a week and says what sets this practice apart from so many others is the quality of care they give to each patient. Dr. Shideler is one of 8 dentists in her family, so you could say dentistry is definitely in her blood. She has attended dental courses taught by some of the best dentists in the world and believes this commitment to learning has made her a better dentist.
Dr. Wargo is also a member of the Study Club, and she is on the Board of Directors with the Northwest Indiana Dental Society. She joined the team in 2005 to help relieve the heavy work load Drs. Arnold and Shideler had with two growing practices. Dr. Wargo was raised in Hebron, Indiana, attended Boone Grove High School and then went on to Purdue University earning a BS in Biology. She graduated from Indiana University School of Dentistry in 2003. Patients will tell you that she provides gentle, excellent dental care and they walk out feeling like she did not even work on their teeth.
With an office in Chesterton and another in Valparaiso, Dr. Arnold proudly states that a mix of compassionate team members with excellent professional skills, a dedication to dentistry, and a service mentality makes his team successful. Building trusting relationships with patients of all ages is essential to ensure continued success.
“I love helping anxious patients overcome their fear of dental procedures. My team and I pride ourselves on providing the most relaxing experience and best care possible,” he says. How do they do this? By listening attentively to the concerns and needs of each patient. When other amenities and relaxation techniques aren’t enough, oral conscious sedation is used to put a patient’s fear to rest.
Dr. Arnold and his team believe that oral health and attractive smiles work together to change patient lives. “Enhancing smiles is a huge passion of mine. My team has similar experience and training and is involved in all aspects of my professional activities. They are exquisitely trained, and they perform patient care and service with compassion and professionalism at all times,” he says.
In his spare time, Dr. Arnold enjoys spending time with his wife and four small children. “They are everything to me. I love dentistry, but I really enjoy my time away from the office. Our kids keep us pretty busy, and I’m very fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with them. Finding a balance between a busy professional life and my family life is always challenging, but we have a lot of fun together.”