While earning his B.S. in biology and minor in chemistry, Dr. Smith worked at a dental lab where he learned to work with plasters and molds, inspiring him into the field of dentistry where he could put his knowledge of science to use as an artist.
After earning his Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Dr. Smith spent two year in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corp where his focus was on sterilization and infection control practices.
After leaving public health he settled in Houston where he began to dream of a practice that struck the difficult balance of science, art and compassion.
Dr. Smith wanted to build a practice where his principles and values were a central guide to its success. And in 1981 he did. Nestled in Houston's gay neighborhood of Montrose, Dr. Smith would renovate a little blue bungalow just off Montrose and Westheimer where he would capture a home-like environment where people felt welcomed and invited as if it were his home.
His mission: Modern dentistry is both an art and a science that should deliver desired results with kindness, without pain or discomfort and have long-lasting value.
An openly gay dentist, in the heart of Montrose (Houston's gay neighborhood), opening a private practice in the 1980's during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, most saw it as a death knell. Not Dr. Smith.
Those were meager beginnings, to say the least. Dr. Smith was one of only a handful of dentist who would care for patients with HIV/AIDS. Because of his background in infection control, he was instrumental in developing universal precautions for dentistry.
Before long, Dr. Smith began to understand the weight of HIV/AIDS on his business could not be sustained. Under this intense pressure he co-founded the Bring Dental Clinic to offer free dental care to those with HIV/AIDS. He and a handful of other dentists volunteered their time and donated resources to deliver care to the growing indigent patient living with HIV/AIDS. Doing so allowed Dr. Smith to care for both patients at Bering and at his private practice.
For almost four decades Dr. Smith has shown compassion, given respect and earned the trust of a community who, in return, honor him with their love and devotion.
For any small business, planning is key. And central to Dr. Smith’s every decision was the affect it might have on the patients for which he so deeply cared. Though it started 2003, Dr. Smith’s exit tragedy was simple: gather a staff and a treating dentist who share his philosophy of caring. It took until the summer of 2013 before he would meet Samuel Carrell. Sam was still attending the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston when a chance meeting at a fund raising event would accelerate the trajectory of Dr. Smith’s well thought out plan.
Sam became Dr. Carrell in May of 2014. Between graduation and receiving his license from the Texas Dental Board, Dr. Carrell worked chair-side with Dr. Smith getting to know the patients and staff. In effect, it was a working interview and in late 2014 Dr. Carrell was hired part time to work on Friday to build his reputation as a skilled clinician.
Dr. Smith will sell the practice to Dr. Carrell because of the confidence he has Dr. Carrell will carry on his founding principles of providing modern dentistry that is both an art and a science, that delivers desired results with kindness, without pain or discomfort and have a long-lasting value.
With the passing of the baton to Dr. Carrell, the legacy of Dr. Smith's foundational vision will be carried into the future. Plans to expand the office in early 2018 are underway. This will include more operatories and a new dentist, Dr. Austin Faulk. Though Dr. Faulk is currently part time, soon he will join MDH Houston full time and further the reach of Dr. Smith's guiding principles.
We hope you will discover the MDG Houston difference.