Dr. Spears takes over dental practice for Carolyn Hunter
Dentist brings over 14 years of experience from California
A new face is now caring for smiles at 77 Smithson Drive, as Dr. Jared Spears, DDS, took ownership of Carolyn Hunter's dental practice in late August.
The Cassville Chamber of Commerce helped him celebrate on Nov. 28 with a ribbon-cutting, officially welcoming him to the community.
Spears, who relocated from northern California and graduated from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in 2004, has been practicing dentistry for over 14 years. He offers a wide range of general dentistry services, along with additional services at the practice such as Invisalign extractions, root canals and implants, so patients who need those services can get it done locally.
He also tries to address emergencies in a timely manner.
"When we get emergencies that come in where people are uncomfortable, we try to get them in right away," Spears said.
Locals might wonder how Spears and his family, which includes his wife, Emily and five children, came to Cassville from California, but it happened through a simple, yet serendipitous event.
On a trip to the area to visit family, the couple saw a sign about the practice being for sale, where Hunter has practiced for 30 years, and Spears inquired about it.
"We happened to see this practice was for sale, and asked to come take a look," he said. "We spent an hour on a Saturday morning visiting with Carolyn, and had good feelings about it."
They really liked Cassville, too.
"The town was clean and nice," Emily said.
"We felt really good about the area," Spears said. "It was a breath of fresh air."
After more conversations, Hunter sold the practice to Spears on Aug. 25, and the transition has been seamless.
"The practice was a great fit for us," Spears said. "We worked together for a month or two [during that process]. We get along really well."
Hunter, who hasn't officially retired, continues to work at the clinic two or three days a week.
"She has been fantastic and we are glad to have her around," Spears said. "It gives her the flexibility she wants — she gets to be the queen, with a sprinkle of dentistry, which she has had a strong passion for, for so many years. I'm very happy for her in that."
Since taking over the practice, Hunter has been helping him get to know the community.
"Carolyn has been taking me to Rotary meetings, and gave me the opportunity to meet all the great leaders in town," he said.
Staff have been thrilled with Spears.
We're so excited for our patients and community, because he offers so many more services, like extractions, root canals and nitrous oxide," said Monte Wolf, office manager. "Some of those we had to refer out to do."
"I think the patients are very receptive to him," said Hygienist Regina Antle.
For those who have anxiety about going to the dentist, Spears said he will take good care of them.
"That is a big issue [for some]," Spears said. "What I often run into is that the patient is not the only one [with that fear] out there. A lot of it is the unknown, and their past experiences."
To help quell those fears, Spears says he keeps an open dialogue of communication going so they know what's happening every step of the way. He also uses some distraction if necessary, like TV and, if necessary, offers nitrous gas if needed, which helps relax a patient.
"I let them know what's going to happen, and with some understanding, I see the anxiety come down," Spears said.
Whether looking for a dentist or not, Spears encourages everyone to take care of their teeth, what he considers to be one of their most important assets.
"There's a strong value to teeth," he said. "They are the most used — and neglected, tool that we have. There is no reason why you have to lose your teeth. Our goal is to help people have healthy teeth, gums and smiles their entire lives.
"We want everyone to know we're here to help. We think Cassville is a great community, and we're here to take care of people. That's what we want to do."