Sponsor Spotlight - July 2018
- story by LB Kovac
Frank Conaway, Jr., owner of one Bay St. Louis’ oldest local dental practices, has lived in a lot of places – Madrid, Spain and Marquette, Michigan, just to name a few.
It’s because of his self-proclaimed “bit of a military brat” upbringing. Despite moving around over the years and keeping his toothbrush in all these locales, there’s always been one place he’s called home – Mississippi.
The local dentist was born on Columbus Air Force near Columbus. Between forays into the world with the military, the family always came back to Aberdeen.
“Aberdeen was home,” says Dr. Conaway, and, by extension, Mississippi. He attended Northeast Mississippi Junior College in Booneville before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
His love for his home state and its people was part of the reason he decided to start his practice right here in Bay St. Louis almost thirty years ago. “My college roommate (at Ole Miss) was from Bay St. Louis,” he says. “When I was looking to start my own practice, I came to visit and saw that the area needed a dentist, and I put two and two together.” The local beaches and vibrant local culture couldn’t have hurt either.
And Bay St. Louis was a great place to put down roots. When he started his practice in 1990, it “was before the casinos were around,” he says, as well as before Hurricane Katrina hit. “The little town has changed dramatically over the years – for the better.”
Dentistry has changed as well.
The end of the millennium also marked a downturn for a particular type of dentistry – the solo practice. Due to economic pressure, many dentists have turned to group practices as a way of defraying costs and sharing expenses.
Dr. Conaway’s office has remained a solo practice. He runs his dental office with the help of a close-knit team of assistants. And he’s quick to point out the benefits of his model. “I’m the boss – always an advantage. And I feel like, at our practice, we have a family. It’s a little more personalized.”
He knows the names of all of his patients and their dental histories, and he can provide a more specialized experience. “Teeth are a challenge. Some people have it easy, based on their biology, but some people have it hard,” says Dr. Conaway. A generalized approach just won’t help everyone he sees. “You have to individualize what you’re doing for them.”
With the changing times, Dr. Conaway has also adapted his practice to better serve his patients in the area.
In short, Dr. Conaway is a good dentist to have working on your smile. He received a Mastership Award and Lifelong Learning Service Recognition from the Academy of General Dentistry. Between appointments, he’s traveling across the United States to administer licensing exams to prospective dentists. He also currently serves as president of the State Board of Dental Examiners.
His best dental advice? Break out the floss. “There’s still nothing that substitutes for floss,” he says. The American Dental Association says that as much as 80% of plaque can be removed by flossing daily.
That’s something to smile about.