You might say that being in business for himself is in the DNA of Dr. Richard Slaten – his parents owned their own “mom-and-pop” business. Dentistry has allowed him to use his organizational skills, problem-solving skills, and scientific curiosity of physiological mechanisms – all while working for himself and having a positive influence on people's dental and overall health.
Dr. Richard received his Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Michigan State University and earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. There he was a class officer and a member of the student council, and he presented a research project on decreasing the decay rate of preschool children.
Continuing education has always been a part of Dr. Richard’s professional life. In over 44 years of dentistry, his studies have included implant dentistry, aesthetic restorative anterior/posterior dentistry (both fixed and removable), non-amalgam restorations, TMJ dysfunction, endodontics, and periodontal/chemo therapeutics.
Dr. Richard is particularly proud of these accomplishments:
In his community, he has served as president of the Kenston Athletic Association and president of the Rotary Club of Chagrin Valley, where he received the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
Dr. Richard feels that his patients enjoy coming to see him because of his genuine sincerity for their concerns and his commitment to designing unique treatment plans for these concerns. He says that the best part of his job is the people that he works with. In addition, he is thankful for the current generation who have helped him embrace today’s quick speed of learning and technology.
Outside of the office, he enjoys reading, nature, yard work, water and snow skiing, and spending time with his family and friends.
"Becoming a dentist was interesting for me. I attended Michigan State, where I was a math major and taking math. I took physics. I took chemistry. I came from a family who always owned their own business. I hadn't thought of the health career then. As I was getting into my junior year, I knew I didn't want to teach the math, the physics, or go into research. I did want to work with people, and I decided to go in the health care field. And dentistry fit for me.
As I got into dentistry, I found out we could bring these things that I learned about the physics, the physiology of the body and the chemistry of the body and how it all works, and, of course, I could work with people. So it just seemed like a good fit for me, and it has been.
The most rewarding part about being a dentist is working with people, both the people who are our team and the people who are our patients. You're helping them along with yourself on your growth as you live and learn about each other and how you communicate. It's just been, the most rewarding is the relationships.
Working with our team as we grow together has been a challenge but a rewarding challenge. We're always open to coursework so we know in our practice. We have a lot of technology that we use all the time, but we can't forget that we have patients attached to that. I think there was a term – not coined by me – that said patients don't care what you know, they want to know that you care. And I think we bring that to those patients. They can go on our website and see what we know. But when they come in here, we want them to know that we care about them and that they become an episodic partner – us in their life and they're in our life.
I believe when a patient does enter our practice and as they get to know us, they're going to benefit from the team that we have here. We do have five doctors, and each doctor has gone into certain areas that they try to find more expertise of. And our employees are just terrific of going to these courses with us, learning the technology to work with patients, even our front desk. We cross-train everybody. So a lot of the people who might answer the phone for you also understand dentistry and what we're doing, and they truly believe in helping patients. We know that we can better their life through dentistry, and I think as a team we all believe that and work towards it and use the best of each other's ability to work on each patient."