Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Top Dentist 2015, Dr. Jason Campbell

Dr. Jason Campbell, Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Top Dentist for 2015, chose dentistry because he enjoys connecting with patients and working hands-on at a variety of tasks. Campbell, who grew up in Virginia Beach, returned home to open his practice, Seaside Dentistry in Landstown Commons. His goal is a relationship-focused practice where even the most anxious patient can be comfortable and achieve a healthy smile.

As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, Campbell knew he wanted to pursue a field in the medical arena. By his senior year, he had decided on dentistry.

But his mother had remembered that goal at a much younger age. “My mom dug up some artwork from when I was a little kid,” he says. “I don’t remember it, but I drew some picture of me wanting to be a dentist.”

After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry, Campbell, 40, worked for a large dental practice in Coastal Virginia.

“I treated that first job almost like a residency,” he says. “I knew I was going to see a lot of different things. I knew I was going to be around a lot of people who had been practicing awhile, which would give me more practical knowledge.”

Campbell appreciated the opportunity but had always wanted to run his own practice. He opened Seaside Dentistry in November 2012.

“I like a lot of interaction with patients,” he says. “My goal was to slow the day down a little bit, connect more with patients, get to know them more and follow them over time.”

Campbell works to keep time open in his schedule for patients with emergencies.

He understands well that developing relationships can be a challenge. Campbell hears numerous horror stories about what people went through back in the days when dentistry was different, he says. The first words many dentists hear from new patients go something like this: “Just so you know, I hate the dentist.”

To help ease those fears, Campbell builds trust and educates his patients on what’s going to happen in the chair.

“The best thing you can do is try to connect with them,” he says. “Try to hear what they’re telling you so you can understand what problem they may have had in the past, what’s caused them to be fearful. Then from there, you try to get them comfortable. You may not get them 100 percent comfortable. But for most people, familiarity leads to comfort. I want them to know what to expect. If they’re familiar and comfortable with you, then they’re going to trust you.”

Ideally that first visit will be for a routine checkup and cleaning—not a serious problem. Then Campbell can find any problems before they become severe.

“Most people can’t tell they have a cavity because it doesn’t hurt,” he says. “Catching that cavity as early as possible is in the patient’s best interest. A small cavity means a small filling. A large cavity, even if it doesn’t need a root canal, may need a very large filling or even a crown.”

But it doesn’t always work that way.

“A large percentage of people who delay going to see the dentist or delay treatment have anxiety about going to the dentist,” he says. “It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. They put it off until something gets bad, and then we’re doing multiple procedures to get their teeth and gums back to a healthy state.”

In addition to connecting with his patients, Campbell appreciates the variety of tasks in his day—including placing fillings and crowns, doing root canals, performing surgery and doing cosmetic dentistry.

“The most satisfying thing is hearing a patient who has been very apprehensive say, ‘That wasn’t so bad. I don’t mind coming in here.’ I also like getting patients’ teeth clean and healthy—that’s the happy place for a patient, the ideal goal.”

His biggest message to readers: “Go see the dentist even if you’re not having any problems because there may be something going on that you’re not aware of.”

Categories: Issue Page Features, Main – Health & Beauty, Top Story – Health & Beauty