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Dr. Tracy Davis never underestimates the power of a smile.
Her case in point is a 16-year-old patient who sat in her chair two years ago.
“He was embarrassed of his smile,” she says, noting the cause was a congenital disease that kept enamel from forming and caused his teeth to be very small and dark yellow.
She knew he was in need of a $40,000 full mouth restoration, his family was not prepared for.
“I presented his case to our local dental laboratory and they agreed to donate the lab materials,” Davis says. “Our office donated all of our time and other materials, and we helped him to have the smile he always dreamed.”
She knew the hard work and investment was worth it when she got the family’s report back. The patient later said, “I guess I’ve never smiled before, and I didn’t know how. I was asking my dad how to smile on my way home, staring at the rearview mirror.”
Now, that patient is working toward attending dental school and has job shadowed at Excel Dental.
Davis’ own path to dentistry started at University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned a biochemistry degree with honors. That led to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and a doctorate in dental surgery degree with distinction. Davis graduated in the top 10 percent of her class.
A month out of UMKC dental school in 2004, she moved to southwest Missouri to join the Ozark practice of Drs. Marcus and Kelly Barnett as a dental associate at Barnett Family Dental. Davis became a partner and co-owner three years later, and the business was renamed Barnett-Davis Dental Group.
The name transitioned to Excel Dental in early 2014 with the addition of Dr. Nick Matthews, and now Davis and Matthews work with a support staff of 12 dental professionals. The team offers a long list of services from a dozen preventive measures to periodontal disease and sleep apnea treatments, dental emergencies and orthodontics, as well as cosmetic and restorative work.
“The best part of all of the various scenarios is watching what happens to the person when their smile is healthy and they feel good about their smile,” Davis says. “They smile more and their confidence shines.”
To bring about more confident smiles, Davis estimates she volunteers more than 150 hours in dental care a year and, in 2016, provided over $120,000 in care to individuals in her office who needed assistance.
“I have a special soft spot for kids who fall through the cracks and don’t qualify for assistance,” she says.
Davis can be spotted at Missouri Mission of Mercy’s annual free day of dental care among the 200 dentists serving some 1,200 patients during the two-day event. Or she’s known to volunteer at the Special Olympics, performing dental screenings, and the Good Samaritan Care Clinic in Mountain View, providing free extractions. Internationally, she’s given dental care to the indigent in Dominica and to adopted orphans through Project One Forty Three Inc.
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