After nearly 30 years, Dr. Mary Webb Brown, of Greenville, never expected her work in dentistry to land her on the cover of a magazine, but that is exactly what happened last month when she was the featured story in Dentaltown magazine.
Long before smart phones, text messaging and social media, dentists across the world had their own way of communicating with one another through the forums on the Dentaltown website which began over 20 years ago. It has become an interactive healthcare community working to connect dentists to their peers, dental service providers and manufacturers.
“Dentaltown is probably the first thing I ever did on the internet. It is a website for dentists and it was out long before Facebook,” Brown said. “It was developed by a solo dentist to reach out to other dentists so that you are not really practicing on your own. If you have a question you can search in the forums and find an answer or post a question.”
She said that she can even take a picture of something challenging involving a patient and have an answer before the end of the day. Brown said she is more of a “lurker” as she doesn’t post or respond frequently on the page. She just likes to read what others have posted.
Along with the website, Dentaltown began publishing a monthly magazine for dentists as well, but landing the cover was something Brown wasn’t expecting. She even thought at first it might be a joke, she said.
“What woman doesn’t want to be on the cover of a magazine even if it is Dentaltown,” she said when they asked her what she thought about landing on the cover.
Brown was chosen as the cover story through the magazines Townie Choice Awards. According to Dentaltown’s website, “Townies” have voted on the most comprehensive list of peer-recommended products and services in dentistry. “Townies” vote on their favorite products, equipment and services.
Brown said that every year she is given the opportunity to fill out a questionnaire on what materials she is using. The magazine will draw names of those who filled out the questionnaires and award them gifts, she said. Once they get down to about 20 names left, they have a group of people who begin looking at websites and social media posts about those practices and that group picks a winner. The winner is then featured on the cover of the magazine.
The 8-page spread on Brown and her practice features her answers to questions ranging from, “How’d you find your way into dentistry,” to “What are some of your passions outside of dentistry?”
The cover story is a great way for Brown to end her solo practice, she said. This summer, Brown will no longer be practicing at her office alone. Jake Clark, a Muhlenberg County native, has bought half of her practice and will begin practicing sometime this summer under the agreement that Brown continues to practice a minimum of five more years. This will allow her a little more freedom and make her load a little lighter, she said.
For nearly three decades, Brown has spent most of everyday working on teeth, but it is a career that was practically chosen for her.
“I never wanted to be a dentist,” she said. “I didn’t have any aspirations.”
Brown was in her third year at Western Kentucky University and although she had begun classes working toward a degree in chemistry and biology, she had not yet declared a major. Her advisor, Lowell Shanks, told her that she was “headed nowhere fast.” He informed her that he had set up an interview for her at the University of Kentucky Dental School and two weeks later she enrolled.
“I have no regrets,” she said. “I love what I do.”
— Dana Brantley, MyKYNews