A career in dentistry seemed destined for Peter P. Patellis, D.M.D.
Growing up in Belle Vernon, a small town south of Pittsburgh, a young Peter Patellis was influenced by two neighbors, both of whom were dentists. In his eyes, the two dentists enjoyed the benefits of a career in health care, with manageable schedules that afforded them a superior quality of life. He decided he wanted the same for himself, perusing the dream of becoming a dentist and earning a spot in the program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.
“I always wanted to work in health care, and I saw my neighbors working what appeared to be 3 to 4 days a week, leaving time for family and golf,” says Dr. Patellis. “Once I got going, I quickly learned that dentists work a heck of a lot more than that—but I also recognized that dentistry is a great way to help people. It’s rewarding to change somebody’s smile, because it affects them both physiologically and emotionally.”
After earning his doctor of dental medicine degree in 1989, Dr. Patellis completed a postgraduate general residency program at York Hospital in York, where he received advanced training in intravenous conscious sedation anesthesia and emergency medical procedures. He kept moving east, ultimately opening his own dental practice, The Kennett Center for Advanced Dentistry (KCAD), in 1991. From Day One, he and his staff have built a practice rooted in compassion, convenience and comfort; the historic brick building in Kennett that houses the practice feels like a warm, beautifully kept home.
“We’re a family practice that offers a wide variety of dental services,” he says. “People seek out dental treatment carefully, so our goal is to treat each patient as an individual. One of the areas we’ve become quite proficient in is advanced restorative dentistry. We manage declining dentition, returning people to a confident smile. A healthy mouth also results in greater overall health, like eating the foods they like and enjoying a good quality of life.”
At KCAD, Dr. Patellis and his team deliver everything from routine dental examinations to complex dental procedures. They offer flexible hours to accommodate hectic schedules. Also, thanks to cutting-edge technology such as CEREC (Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics), which uses CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) to create crowns in the office while a patient waits, patients need less time for care. CEREC enables Dr. Patellis to have an onsite lab for milling custom-designed, perfectly fitted restorations.
“We’ve been doing same-day crowns for 20 years,” says Dr. Patellis, who has become nationally recognized as a leader in the field of CEREC and CAD-CAM dentistry. “Technology has made leaps and bounds over the past 10 to 15 years. We have an i-CAT cone beam 3-D scanner, useful in the planning and placement of dental implants; it’s like having a road map of the mouth, providing a clear detailed picture of what to expect even before you touch the patient.”
Advanced tools such as CEREC, i-CAT and digital X-rays have been a boon to the practice and its patients, who benefit from quicker treatment times and more predictable outcomes. Dr. Patellis continually explores new methods for delivering exceptional results for patients, while avoiding new technologies that do not provide a measurable benefit to the patient.
“Technology represents only one part of the equation,” Dr. Patellis says. “You also need the right people on your team. The technology has to be used effectively, ensuring the patient receives the most benefit; and the entire team needs to know and understand how to use it and how to present the benefits to the patient.”
Dr. Patellis’ practice has gained a reputation for one-to-one attention, empathy and individualized service. The first question in many dental offices is “What kind of insurance do you have?” At Kennett Center for Advanced Dentistry, insurance is a secondary concern.
“We want to know every patient—who they are as people; what brought them to us. We can do that because we’re small,” he says. “We’re like a little oasis in a sea of dentists. We focus on doing what needs to be done for the patient, not what the patient’s insurance wants to cover. Then we work with them depending on their situation.”
As a convenience to patients with limited or no dental insurance coverage, KCAD offers a Dental Savings Plan that enables access to high-quality care at an affordable price. For a low annual fee, each member receives two examinations, two routine cleanings and one set of digital X-rays per year and additional treatments required during the year are provided at a discounted rate.
“Every patient’s circumstances are unique,” says Dr. Patellis. “When we see a new patient for the first time, we ask them some very direct questions so we know what’s important to them. We ask them, ‘Please rank following in order of importance: quality, cost and convenience.’ Then we know how to treat them based on what they are most concerned about. Our primary emphasis is to have the work done correctly, but we’re sensitive to cost and the disruption to a patient’s life. I enjoy that I get to help people; that is what they come to me for. I have to remain focused on what is best for them, and to do that I have to think about and beyond treatment.”
The Kennett Center for Advanced Dentistry
208 N. Union Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348
About Dr. Patellis
After earning his D.M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Patellis completed postgraduate studies at The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, The Dawson Institute and the world-renowned Misch International Implant Institute, of which he is a fellow. Also, in April 2010, he received Diplomate status from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, an honor attained by only a small percentage of dentists worldwide. Also, as past clinical instructor of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Patellis has and continues to share his wisdom and expertise with dentistry’s next generation.
Photograph by Jeff Anderson