MEET DR. JAMIE
A veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Dr. Jamie spent almost ten years as a Sonar Technician in the Navy before pursuing his dentistry career. After multiple deployments aboard nuclear-powered submarines, he was honorably discharged and began his undergraduate schooling at San Diego State University. For his dental education, he attended one of the best dental schools in the nation, the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. This valuable experience, combined with the compassion he shows for his patients, translates to healthy and happy smiles for everyone lucky enough to sit in his dentist chair.
Why did you become a dentist?
It’s a pretty wild story. I actually had a life-threatening motorcycle accident when I was younger, and I spent a significant amount of time in the hospital. There was a huge team taking care of me. Watching and learning from them was such an inspiration. I realized medical professionals were people too. I looked up to them. So I decided I wanted to look into working in the medical field. That’s what led me to dentistry. Dentists had something that other doctors didn’t seem to have — autonomy. They had their practice, but they also had a healthy work/life balance. And that is what I was looking for. So I did it. I put all my energy into becoming a dentist and finding ways to help others. Just like the team that saved my life.
Where did you go to dental school?
I grew up in El Monte, Southern California. And my path to becoming a dentist was non-traditional, to say the least. Before attending dental school, I spent nearly ten years serving in the United States Navy Submarine Service as a Sonar Technician. During this time, I completed multiple deployments onboard nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines. This training and service instilled in me a passion for helping and serving others.
So after being honorably discharged, I stayed close to home to complete my undergraduate at San Diego State University. And then completed dental school at the University of the Pacific. In my last year of dental school, I was itching to get into the field, so as soon as I graduated, I started working. And the rest is history.
What is your favorite part of your dental practice?
I know it sounds cliche, but I love making people smile. As a dentist, I get to use my personality and my experience to bring joy to others, and the feeling that gives me is priceless. I can’t imagine any other job that would work for me. Helping people improve their lives makes me remember how much I appreciate the team that helped save mine. And that’s why it’s my favorite part of my practice.
What are your passions outside of dentistry?
When I’m not working, I love spending time with my family. I’ve been married for 28 years and have three children. They are the most amazing support system I could ask for. So any chance I get, I love to barbeque for them, allowing us to spend quality time together. While I love to barbeque, I also love going out to eat. I guess you could say that’s one of my main passions. But when my kids were younger I also really enjoyed going to my kids’ sporting events. Without family, I don’t know where I would be, so that’s why they are my passion, heart, and soul. I’m truly blessed to have them.
What do you enjoy most about working at Dental Express?
I love the fact that everyone is treated equally, and our philosophy of how we treat patients. We’re truly patient-focused at Dental Express, which unfortunately isn’t the standard in dental these days. We foster a family-oriented environment, where once you trust your family with us, you become part of ours. Coming to Dental Express every day is just an extension of my family. From the staff to my patients, I have people I can trust and count on. This is the true beauty of being part of the Dental Express team.
How do you help cultivate the Dental Express team?
First and foremost, I lead by example. I’m not a fan of constructive criticism, so I like to use what I call creative feedback — ‘we did it well; how can we do it better?’ Taking this approach I’m able to promote a relaxed environment where my team feels comfortable and open to sharing ideas and concerns. This sets the tone. I’m able to educate, rather than coach. I’m able to inspire growth, rather than expect growth. Leading in this way makes us stronger. Plus, I love teaching so I’m always looking for the next best way to cultivate my team. I’m very big on my team knowing more than they have to know. That’s what inspires others to go the extra mile.
What would you say is the highlight of your career?
I don’t believe I have one specific highlight in my career. More like a moving highlight reel. I see every day as a new opportunity to create a new highlight. Whether that’s making someone smile or overcoming a difficult task. Each time I make a decision that changes someone’s life, I’ve succeeded.
Of Dental Express’ five core values (integrity, empathy, adaptability, collaboration, and whistle while you work) which do you feel is the most valuable to you as a dentist?
Well, you already know that I believe attitude is contagious, so I would have to say that whistle while you work is the most important value. It’s like a cascading effect: when the doctors are happy, the team is happy, which ultimately means the patient is happy. Whistle while you work is a value that sets the tone for the whole office and our environment. And at Dental Express we’re big on creating the most comfortable, enjoyable, and relaxing dental environment possible.
What is your greatest challenge working as a dentist?
Trying to please everyone is a weakness of mine, and this struggle can make my role as a dentist difficult. My job is to do what’s best for the patient. But there are some things I can’t change; so in some cases, circumstance makes my job more challenging than I would like.
Who is your hero?
Definitely my wife. She’s driven, organized and honest. You’ll never hear anyone saying a bad word about her. She’s a shining light in my life and has helped me become the man I want to be. She’s the kind of person that everyone loves.