Through our Dental Spotlight Series we are taking the time to highlight successful professionals in the dental industry. If you’re an aspiring practice owner, or a current dentist looking for your next big move, we hope you gain some valuable advice from these successful individuals and their stories.
Joe Piazza, DDS
Where did you grow-up and what is special about your home-town?
Houston! It is a very friendly and dynamic city. We have been known as Space City as well one of the mainstays of energy in the USA. We have grown rapidly and are a far cry from my sleepy “little“ town I remember as a child. I love it here… other than the traffic. Go Astros!
Why did you decide to become a dentist?
I wanted to help people with their health. As a child I went to a nice dentist and had good experiences. I also had my upper centrals roots fractured playing baseball. I had many dental visits for observation only and I thought the dental school was cool. Therefore, the idea of dentistry for a career started to come into focus as a sixteen year old. I decided I would shoot for it and the rest is history.
Where did you go to dental school and when did you graduate?
I attended UTDB- Houston, my dream school and graduated from the self-paced program in 1979.
Who is/was your mentor?
My dental mentor was Dr. Dale Allbritton. He has outlasted me as a practitioner. He is a caring and excellent dentist. My dad was my life mentor until he passed away when I was 20. In school Dr. P.J. Arnold took me under his wing and guided me in dentistry and life. He had many funny sayings and helped me get ready for my dental career.
What is your favorite dental instrument? Why?
The dental handpiece is because you can take away decay and create beautiful teeth with it.
How do you like to relax?
Fishing in Galveston Bay, walking the Buffalo Bayou, and vacationing with family and friends.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My family- I have a wonderful wife and 3 great adult children. Two are now married and giving us grandkids. We have fun playing with them.
What is the biggest change in dentistry since you graduated?
Much more information is known and is studied by the students I teach at UTSD- Houston. Also a digital revolution is happening as well.
What is the biggest challenge facing dentistry?
Corporate ownership by non- dentists. Student debt is a problem as well. Professional conduct and patient care as the number one priorities are being challenged.
What is the best advice you’ve received for your career?
P.J. Arnold said “You will succeed if you are nice to your patients, don’t hurt them, and don’t charge them too much”. To me this means that care of your patient is first and patients do appreciate you giving them your best.
How do you make practicing dentistry fun?
Trying to enjoy my relationship with my patients and staff daily makes for a fun day. I do this with the students now. Also being with my colleagues talking about dentistry and life can be relaxing.
What advice would you share with someone looking to purchase their first practice?
Be brave and go for it. Learn as much as you can about time management, relationships, and organization. You need three main skills- dental, people, and business to succeed.