Local Family Business Heals Smiles In and Out of the Dentist’s Chair
Thursday, June 10, 2021 ~ Updated 11:06 PM
Stepping into Cure Dental is like stepping into dentist Dr. William Shipley’s own home. Visitors are immediately greeted with the warm scent of waffle cone air freshener and invited to sit at a dining room-style table. There’s an absence of clinical coldness and the typical sterile smells of a dentist’s office as visitors gaze at the gallery wall of photos of dishes cooked by Shipley, who describes himself as a foodie.
“We changed the landscape of the lounge area so people don’t feel like they’re coming into a dental office,” he says. “They’re coming into my home, my kitchen.”
Easing anxiety and connecting with compassion are at the core of Cure Dental’s mission, Shipley says. At their Cape Girardeau office, employees work to provide “radical access to quality dental care” for the Cape Girardeau community.
“Bottom line to us is: ‘How do we heal more smiles?’ And that’s not just in the dental chair,” Shipley says. “Yes, we work on teeth, but those teeth are attached to a person. You can heal smiles without dentistry; you can heal smiles by just caring for people.”
Shipley’s aptitude for comfort-focused dentistry originates from a two-year church mission to Ecuador when he was 19 years old; during this time, he had the opportunity to work as a translator. The experience deepened his love for helping the community, and Shipley pursued a 10-year career in public health dentistry.
However, he says this role had limitations in the ways he could benefit patients. Two years ago, he began building the foundation for a new experience in dental care.
“Ever since I got out of school, this has been a quest to see how to do this in a private practice setting,” he says. “That’s how it started — looking at how to best serve the community we’re living in.”
As a food enthusiast, Shipley says he connects the name to his culinary interests; when discussing food, “cure” can refer to the preservation of an item. In the same way, he says Cure Dental helps to protect and maintain teeth.
“We’re all about healing and preserving smiles,” he says.
Dental care is based on the office’s core values — or “Cure Values,” Shipley says. “Connecting with compassion, unconventional thinking, relentless hospitality and excellence in care” all provide patients with the unique Cure Dental experience.
Individuals sometimes experience anxiety when visiting the dentist; Shipley says several aspects of their office are designed to alleviate patients’ fear or anxiety. From the moment patients step into the office, Shipley says he and his staff strive to make the dental experience “a delight.”
While filling out paperwork, patients are offered a “comfort menu,” which includes the option of calming amenities to create a stress-free visit. Patients may opt to watch television or Netflix with Bluetooth headphones, stay warm under a blanket or experience lessened anxiety with a weighted blanket.
“We believe that dentistry is an experience to heal and serve and lead and enrich the lives of others,” he says. “A happy smile brings a healthy and joyful life.”
Financial access may also be a roadblock to affordable dental care, Shipley says. Cure Dental accepts insurance and Medicaid and offers their in-house Cure+Dental Savers Plan for those without dental insurance. At $299 a year, the benefit plan offers two complimentary exams — including X-rays and cleanings — and 30% off all procedures.
Cure Dental’s operating hours help to further provide equitable access outside the standard work day. During the week, the office is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with openings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on two Saturdays each month. Through their website, cure.dental, patients may conveniently schedule appointments and view available appointment times in real time.
To reiterate that “not all healing of smiles happens in the dental office,” Shipley says Cure Dental also gives back to the community.
For every new patient exam, the dental office donates one Power Pack to Jackson R-2 Schools through the Heroes for Hope program. When classes aren’t in session and students aren’t able to eat free, school-provided meals — such as during weekends and summer break — they may not have adequate nutrition.
Power Packs aim to solve this issue of food insecurity by delivering donated meals to students’ homes during school breaks. In the past seven months Cure Dental has been operating, they’ve donated more than 700 Power Packs.
“We built this to heal smiles all around our community,” Shipley says.
Cure Dental is located at 2143 Independence St., Ste. 101, in Cape Girardeau.