When you pull up to the 1930s-era gray colonial in Montrose that houses LifeSmiles by Randy Mitchmore, you’re greeted by the aroma of coffee and fresh-baked cookies. If that’s not something you normally find in a dentist’s office, well, that’s just the beginning.
Waiting at the front door to welcome you is John Copous, the office’s chief enthusiasm officer— yes, that’s his actual title—ready to offer conversation and a warm smile. Soon enough, the two of you will be chatting away as he walks you to one of the office’s three dental chairs, or to wait outside by the pool—which, by the way, is quite the sight, complete with statue replicas of the ones at Rome’s Trevi Fountain.
Then it’s time to meet Mitchmore himself. Copous will introduce you, sharing bits of your conversation with the dentist. “I want them to know that I heard what they said,” Copous explains.
Everything about this introduction—about the entire practice—is intentional. While Mitchmore, who offers regular dental services while specializing in cosmetic dentistry, treats adults of all ages, his niche is people ages 40 to 85 who perhaps had traumatizing dental procedures during their younger years.
That is why he’s made such an effort to distinguish his practice from a traditional dental office. The relaxed, homey atmosphere—with friendly staff, cozy blankets, noise-canceling headphones, and the option for I.V. sedation—puts patients at ease.
Mitchmore had his own traumatizing experience in a dentist’s chair as a little boy. He had a bad toothache, so his parents took him to a dentist who “seemed like this huge ogre of a man,” he recalls. The man shamed him, blaming him for developing a cavity and making him cry. “It’s a wonder I ever became a dentist,” he jokes.
But become a dentist he did, and he’s had his Houston practice for more than 20 years. Today Mitchmore offers a wide range of general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services, including treatment for TMJ, Botox, dental implants, and adhesive dentistry—synthetic enamels and crowns—that “can literally fool the eye that anything’s been done,” he says. Mitchmore is sure to keep up with the latest science and technology, too. For example, if you don’t have enough bone in your jaw for an implant, he will literally grow it back for you using a procedure called Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy.
If all this sounds expensive, it is, but everything that Mitchmore does falls under his mantra—and the title of his 2014 book—“The Gift of a Life Smile.” Simply put, it’s about making his patients feel better about themselves, whatever that means for them. Some people come in just wanting to make sure their teeth are healthy; others are embarrassed by the way they look and want a bigger, brighter smile. “So the gift might be confidence,” Mitchmore says. “It might be health; it might be ‘I just want to know I’ve got the best teeth I can have.’”
But no matter the reason for a patient’s visit, the whole experience will feel less like a trip to the dentist and more like a conversation around the kitchen table. And once you do get that smile, Mitchmore and Copous will take you outside by the pool, pop a bottle of champagne, and celebrate.
LifeSmiles by Randy Mitchmore, 1722 West Alabama St, lifesmiles.us