An Exclusive Interview with Dr. Michael G. Cook of Southport Dental Care
Welcome to this issue of iCare Community Magazine
Today we are bringing you the inside scoop on dentistry from one of Treasure Coast s most popular dentists, Dr. Michael Cook.
Dr Cook is the proud owner of Southport Dental Care (Port Saint Lucies oldest full time dental practice) which has been proudly serving our community for over 42 years. We are absolutely delighted to have his perspective and experience in the field of dentistry.
Dr. Cook, thank you for allowing us some of your time. I couldn’t help but to notice that you have a very infectious laugh; do you enjoy dentistry?
Dr. Cook: Yes, I love my job, but I love people more. Dentistry is a very persona l profession. I get to know my patients and they get to know me. In fact, they become part of our dental family.
Our Practice Philosophy is based on our relationships with our patients. We want EVERYONE to feel comfortable and at home when they come to vis it us. And yes, we like to laugh a lot around here.
Doctor, will you share with us a little about yourself and your team?
Dr. Cook: Well, I graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry in 2002. I have been part of Southport Dental Care for 18 years. Before that, I was a former Naval officer and I proudly served my country in both Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
I have the GREATEST team EVER! I feel very lucky and blessed to have the team that I have, as a matter of fact, most of my staff have been with the practice well before me. We are all passionate about what we do, and as you can see, we love to laugh. I definitely could not be where I am without them.
Describe your typical day.
Dr. Cook: For me, it s mostly a 7:30am 5:00pm job; I like to get in earlier to review my surgery cases, and I also set time aside for emergencies, (either before business hours or at the end of the day.) Having been a victim of an accident myself, I know first hand what it s like to lose teeth. So I m very empathetic and I try to see my emergencies as soon as I can. Sometimes, I will see emergencies during my lunch break. I don t need much time for lunch, my lunch is always an easy peanut butter jelly, my favorite.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Dr. Cook: I love that dentistry combines art, science, and medicine. It s great when I can change something for someone and have it impact, not only their health, but their confidence as well. Dentistry can be life changing and it’s very rewarding to see my patients smiling and happy.
How has the profession of dentistry changed over the years?
Dr. Cook: The digital revolution that is transforming the every aspect of our world is also impacting dentistry. Times are changing and so are most dental practices, which is very exciting to me because I love staying on top of new technology. Technological innovations have improved my patients experiences and, in many cases, resulted in better patient outcomes.
Our office now offers many technology driven treatments such as, same day crowns. We no longer have to send out our crowns, we can now make our own. We are able to digitally scan and design a crown, then mill and hand paint it to perfection. sounds like a scene in Star Trek, right?
Our patients now have the luxury to walk out of the office with a brand new crown in one visit. No more temporaries and secondary appointments. Furthermore, we now offer digital CT scans, guided implant placements, teeth in a day, and implant supported hybrids. The future of technology in dentistry is wide open, and it s going to be amazing!
What are some common misconceptions that people have about the work you do?
Dr. Cook: “Aha, where do I start?! Most people hate the dentist, don’t they? That makes me very unpopular, LOL. But once we get past “fear of the dentist,” the most common misconception is mainly money. The truth is that some people have had negative money experiences with other dentists (whether it be a private practice or a franchise.) We understand, and we take time to make sure that they understand their treatment plan. We break it down into digestible chunks. It’s very gratifying to gain their trust because ultimately, our goal is to better serve them.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced during Covid-19 and how have you overcome these challenges?
Dr. Cook: No doubt that Covid-19 has been a challenge for every business. Here, in our office, we have always adhered to higher standards. Now we have amplified our sanitation measures and have added additional equipment to keep our patients even safer.
Dental procedures are especially challenging because many involve the use of high-pressure sprays of water and air that could disperse viruscontaining aerosols from a patient into the treatment room. I know people worry about aerosols, which is why I have installed a HEPA filtration system to keep the air cleansed and moving. PPE gear is mandatory in our office, and social distancing is non-negotiable. Our front door has a ‘do not enter without a mask’ sign, and our waiting room has been re-arranged to accommodate social distancing.
In addition to all of that, I have already been vaccinated and so have some of my staff. We are taking every possible measure to protect our patients and our staff from this devastating virus.
We all appreciate the measures that you have taken to protect all of us, believe me. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
Dr. Cook: Hopefully working hard doing the same thing I’m doing now... My plans are to continue to serve my community until I retire. I’m very happy here. I hope to serve my community for many-many years to come.
AND JUST FOR FUN... Are you first in the office or last to leave?
Dr. Cook: I’m an early bird! I’m first one in, definitely!
Tea or coffee?
Dr. Cook: Coffee, I was never a coffee drinker till I met my wife. She’s a nurse and evidently, Nurses love coffee.
Elevator or stairs?
Dr. Cook: STAIRS
Out after work or straight home to the couch?
Dr. Cook: Home to the couch! Sometimes, it’s exercise at home then couch. But definitely home. I don’t feel the need to gather in large groups, especially during this pandemic. If I do go out… it’s usually fishing, crabbing, or building home projects.
Thank you, Dr. Cook. It’s been a pleasure visiting your friendly office, you’ve given us great insight. I know that iCare Magazine has featured your office many times before, and I hope that we will visit again soon.
Dr. Cook: It’s been my pleasure, really. I love showing off my new projects and I’m always excited to talk about dentistry. Stay healthy and safe.
For a free consultation or any questions about Southport Dental Care, please contact: 772-335-3300 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.