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Member Spotlight

Executive Director, Becky Herman, chats with Seventh District Dental Society Board Member, Dr. Stephen Burgart about his dental career and service to organized dentistry.

BH: Tell me about how you got started in dentistry.

SB: I graduated from the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 1982 and then completed a one-year General Practice Residency at Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo.  I grew up in the Rochester region and knew I wanted to come back here.  I worked as an associate from 1983-1986 and opened my own practice in 1986.

BH: I hear you are retiring in September.  How do you feel about that?

SB: In 1995, I bought my own building on Westfall Rd. and I have been practicing there for 27 years.  I would not change anything about my private practice experience.  My advice for young dentists is to Find a way to love what you do and it will not feel like work.  If you do not like what you’re doing, change it.

BH: When did you get involved in organized dentistry?

SB: I shied away from organized dentistry early in my career because of work and family commitments.  I did not get involved until my four kids were out of the house.  At that time, I wanted to help make the profession better.  To make it something we could all be proud of.  It has been the most rewarding experience.  I have gotten to know colleagues statewide, who I never would have had the chance to meet.  There is a collegiality that I never expected. My one regret is that I didn’t get involved sooner.  I learned that the risk of venturing into the unknown is less scary and more rewarding. Get involved early, if only on a part-time basis.

BH: I understand you are also passionate about your charitable work in Haiti over the last decade.

SB: In 2010, I went to Haiti with a neighbor who asked if I could help provide dental care to Haitians.  In 2012, I started a dental clinic in a hospital on the north coast of Haiti.  Over the last decade, I have taken numerous friends and colleagues, as well as hygienists and assistants, with me to Haiti to provide dental care.  Pre-COVID, we would go once or twice a year for a 1–2-week period, treat 25 patients a day – pulling teeth, providing endodontic services, restorative work, etc.  The clinic is more tech-savvy than my own here in the US, with state-of-the-art equipment, a CEREC machine, digital x-rays, and more.  The patients are tremendously grateful, but I feel I get more out of the experience than the people I treat and it’s the right to do.

Dr. Stephen Burgart

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