Meet Dr. Toni Sartini, DMD, FAGD
Has been selected to be a member of the Dental Health Delegation Team to China. The delegation is a team comprised of dentists throughout the United States that have shown their desire and ability to further dental education within their community, as well as proven advancing their own dental education has been significant and consistent throughout their career.
The delegation will attempt to determine the extent of dental disease among the general population, both urban and rural, and compare that to the Chinese population in the U.S. They will additionally seek information on the Chinese dental education system, dental practice environments, and disease prevention policies they currently have in place. She is extremely honored to have been selected to represent knowledgeable and progressive dentists from the United States.
1982-1986 Reserves, 1986-1989 Active duty Fort Knox, KY
Dr. Sartini has also been invited to be the guest speaker for several high schools on Veterans Day.
“I promise to make your visit as easy as possible and to give you the best dental care I can. If you are one of my many ‘chicken’ patients, please read below about my horror story with a dentist when I was a little girl. You’ll see why I ‘cater to cowards‘. I’ve been a dentist since 1986, and still LOVE my job. I feel very blessed to share my gifts and talents with my patients and my staff.”
Dr. Sartini graduated from University of Louisville School of Dentistry, in Louisville, Kentucky in 1986. She then served active duty in the United States Army, and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky until September, 1989. She has enjoyed private practice in Palmyra, Indiana since then. She has been married since 1991 to Michael Schmidt and has been blessed with 3 great kids.
“I am blessed in so many ways. Three great children, and a thriving practice.”
I am also blessed in the fact that, unlike most of Americans driving into work, I am so happy with my job. Dentistry is MORE exciting to me today than when I started! We have so much to offer the patients now in regards to painless, comfortable treatment, and perfectly gorgeous restorations. We can enhance a person’s ENTIRE appearance by simply creating or restoring a beautiful smile. Seeing someone’s looks and confidence transformed before my very eyes is a WONDERFUL experience!
I would love the opportunity to help you achieve the smile and total look you’ve always dreamed of. With our help YOU CAN GET THERE!”
An Interview with Dr. Toni Sartini
Intvwr: How would you describe your style of dentistry?
Dr.S.: When I meet a patient, I feel it’s my job to educate them on two things: where their dental health stands today, and how to get them into a healthier, youthful, bright and vibrant smile. It’s an achievable goal for every patient. This can involve a simple whitening process through the dentist that is safe and very effective, to the instant orthodontics where you totally change someone’s smile with full-coverage bonding, veneers, metal-free crowns and all-white fillings. We’re turning yellowed, dull, chipped, and crooked teeth into brighter, whiter, youthful and vibrant teeth!
Basically, we are redesigning their smile personally for them. It is a wonderful, fun, and exciting time to be a dentist! Oh, don’t forget the wonderful, vital role implants have in replacing missing teeth. I’ve been doing implants for five years now and they are easier and more affordable today than ever.
Intvwr: What type of patient comes in and requests a personal smile design from you?
Dr.S.: When I meet a patient, I can design a smile for them in 10 minutes or less. I usually have already started the process in my head the instant I first meet them, before they even ask me. I do this everywhere I go. The grocery store, shopping in the mall, meeting new people at church, etc. Of course, in these situations, I don’t offer my opinion unless they ask. Well, most of the time I don’t, sometimes I just can’t help it! You just want to tell the person (usually a stranger!) “Do you know how EASY it would be to fix your teeth and give you a great smile?!!” Now watch everyone cover their mouth when they see me coming! HA! I can’t help it, it just pops into my head!
As to your question about the “type” of patient, I would say it really varies from the 25-40ish executive career track minded patient, to the baby boomers that never had time for braces and now have the money to spend on enhancing a younger smile, to the more mature patients that don’t feel as old as their teeth look!
We never say “senior citizen” in our office. I have a Dad that technically could fit into that category, but certainly don’t look or feel “senior.” We can make these patients look 10-15 years younger by just transforming their smile to what they used to have, or by giving them the smile they always wished they had. I highly recommend creating a younger smile before they see the plastic surgeon. They may not need to go, although I do enjoy working with plastic surgeons when necessary, and they do beautiful work.
Intvwr: You mentioned executive, professional, career-type people seeking your services. Why would a new smile be important to them?
Dr.S.: Oh, that’s obvious. Their image portrays success and excellence. There have been several studies showing that a person with a bright, white, attractive smile achieved success over a less-attractive smile. It’s unintentional by the potential employer, or buyer, if a sale is at stake, but our eyes are naturally drawn to the brightest area on our face. Even if the teeth are dull, the teeth color, or value, attract the attention of the person looking at you. This can leave a positive or negative impression.
The latest published study I’ve read was in Esthetique magazine,(winter 2000 edition). In a wonderful article by Jenna McCarthy, “Banking on a Beautiful Smile,” she reports that the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey reveals that 92% of adult respondents say an attractive smile is an important social asset, while 74% believe an unattractive smile can hurt a person’s chances for career success.
To illustrate, remember the movie “Dumb & Dumber?” Jim Carey’s teeth were purposely made crooked and ugly. Also, remember “Goofy?” These are not your suave, intelligent characters, and their creators knew that. Designing their teeth as such, gave them a less-intelligent look. People just assume this. It’s not true or fair, but that’s how the majority of the public values a nice, attractive smile.
Intvwr: I agree with that, and it sounds great, but is this affordable?
Dr.S.: Oh yes! There are so many payment options available today. The personal finance companies have really jumped on the wave of baby boomers now desiring to enhance their looks through cosmetic dentistry and plastic surgery. There are companies that even offer “one year, interest-free financing!”
I have so many patients that say “I wish I would have done this sooner; I get so many compliments on my teeth now.” Having an “ear-to-ear, eye-squinting, cheesy grin,” and not subconsciously or consciously tipping your chin down or putting a hand over your mouth because you’re embarrassed, is well worth the investment.
What we are giving people is so much more than new teeth. It’s a confident attitude. Even people that were always confident in their appearance, say that they wish they had lighter teeth. If I asked 25 people, “do you think your teeth could be whiter,” how many do you think would say no? None. Only those who don’t drink coffee, don’t smoke cigarettes, and are under 25 years old still have white teeth. Most of my patients don’t fall into that category! They seek my services because they want to change their smile. It’s my job to design the perfect smile for them.
Intvwr: Can I go ahead and confess something?
Dr.S.: Sure, I’m all ears.
Intvwr: I HATE going to the dentist! I mean it, I really do!
Dr.S.: Ha-ha! I always tease and say I think I’ve got more chickens in my practice than real patients! Actually, I kind of “cater to cowards.” As a little girl, I had a scary and painful experience at the dentist and I think that helped me be more compassionate toward my “high anxiety” patients. Want to hear about it?
Dr. S.: Well, I was about 7 or 8, and I was by myself in the dentist’s chair. He came into the room with this big white coat on and had something hidden behind his back. Well, you can’t hide anything from a kid, and I asked him to show me what he had. I guess that irritated him, and he tried to wrestle with me to put a HUGE shot in my mouth. Thank God I was raised with three brothers and had my wrestling techniques more in tune than he did because the first time he relaxed his hold, I spun around and ran for the door, right past the waiting room and into our station wagon parked outside! I locked all the doors, and my mom and one of the assistants kept trying to coax me out of the car. I remember mom said, “You’re going to get spanked when we get home if you don’t open this door right now!”
Well, I did get a spanking, but I also got something that changed my life. A referral to a kind, gentle, compassionate dentist. The experience between the two was unbelievable. One man terrified me, and the other really made me feel like he cared about me, and didn’t want to hurt me.
Intvwr: What about PAIN?!
Dr.S.: Great question! First of all, I always ensure the new patients I meet that they are not alone in their anxiety about receiving dental care. I do possess a lot of patience. I think being a woman, and even more so after I became a mother, helped in this area.
Nothing against my male colleagues. I know we may do the exact same procedures, but people just perceive a woman as being softer, and more gentle. In our office, we do all we can to relax the patients and address their specific fears. I encourage the patient to tell me their dental “horror story,” and then we discuss how we are going to overcome their anxiety.
The majority of patients are afraid of “the needle.” I use a very gentle technique and most patients are amazed that the “shot” truly did not hurt. This is an area I’m especially sensitive to, since it also happens to be what I was most nervous about as a youngster. Oh, and we never, ever let the patients SEE the needle!
The next most frightening thing for the patients is “the drill.” We offer all of our patients headphones and recently have added video-glasses, and we encourage all of our patients to use either of these. The noise can be uncomfortable for me, too. After eight hours of working, I wish I had used the headphones!
When I was in the Army, they used to test the dentists’ hearing regularly. I went to a seminar recently and the speaker definitely advocated earplugs for the dentist, and I’m determined to start using them. Finally, there are a few of my patients whose fears are so deep, we give them a sedative. I don’t mind doing this at all.
Intvwr: That’s comforting to know. Did you say YOU were in the Army?
Dr.S.: Yes! Captain Sartini, thank you very much! When I graduated from dental school, I was only 25 years old. After interviewing with other doctors and talking it over with my parents, the Army was an excellent decision for me. I would definitely recommend it to a new young doctor. I don’t think I could have had the confidence and speed to go straight into private practice if I had not received that working experience.
Intvwr: You get so excited when you talk about teeth!
Dr.S.: Because it IS exciting! We have had patients cry because they can’t believe they could ever look this way. When that happens, it’s a rewarding and humbling experience for the whole staff.
Intvwr: Why do you say humbling?
Dr.S.: Well, I know it’s not “business smart” for me to downplay my talents, but truthfully, I am smart enough to know that Toni Sartini didn’t help this person on her own. I believe everyone has gifts they are given from God. You can cultivate them, or ignore them. Dentistry is my gift, my talent, and I am fearful of ever becoming unappreciative of that gift.
I do give thanks to God wherever and whenever I can. People who have been my patients know that about me. I work with excellent staff and high quality dental laboratory that creates the smiles I design. I can’t tell you how much I love my job.
Intvwr: Yes you can. It’s all over your “ear-to-ear, eye-squinting, cheesy grin!”
Dr.S.: (Laughs) OK! You’re done! Interview’s over!
Intvwr: Thanks a lot, Doctor.
Dr.S.: It’s been my pleasure. While you’re here, why don’t we talk about that overlap of your front two teeth. It would be SO easy to fix! And we could whiten them, too!