IMPACT: Dr. Herren, you’ve been with Dental Depot for just about nine years now, but tell us, how long have you been a dentist?
SH: I’ve been practicing for 31 years.
IMPACT: Wow! I bet you have plenty of advice for up-and-coming dentists! We’ll get back to that! Where did you go to school – undergrad and dental school?
SH: I went to Southern Nazarene University for undergrad and OU for dental school. I’m from Texas. I was born and raised in the Nazarene Church and [Southern Nazarene University] had an excellent reputation for pre-dent and pre-med. And my folks went there, too, so it was kind of in the family. Anyway, I primarily did it because I wanted a really good education and it’s a very good education.
IMPACT: While we’re on the topic, what made you want to become a dentist?
SH: I always wanted to be a medical doctor, but about my junior year in college, I decided that was going to take too much away from my family. It took me a while — four years to decide to go to dental school and another five years to get into dental school.
IMPACT: So, how has the decision to switch to dentistry worked out for you?
SH: It’s been great! I worked 22 years by myself. I never really was on call. I would come in and see someone on an emergency basis, but I wasn’t on-call. So, it worked out really well for my family.
IMPACT: What do you think has led to your success as a dentist?
SH: I think just treating people like I would want to be treated, or like I would want my family treated. It’s just born into me because I am a Christian and that’s important to me, to treat others right.
IMPACT: So, after 22 years in private practice, what made you decide to make the move and join Dental Depot?
SH: I just got burned out being by myself, having to make all the decisions by myself. I’m not a very good confrontor, and that’s hard when you’re the boss. So, I decided to try something else. I worked part time for a year, and then [Dental Depot] offered me the position here at South [OKC]. August is nine years.
IMPACT: So with all your experience, what piece of advice would you give to new, up-and-coming dentists?
SH: They come through here all the time, and they seek advice. And I just tell them, ‘just be comfortable in what you’re doing, don’t step out where you don’t feel comfortable. If you need to refer out to a specialist, okay. Not that you shouldn’t be challenged and learn new things, but just treat people right. Don’t take advantage of people. Treat them right’
IMPACT: How long have you been practicing dentistry?
JS: 10 years.
IMPACT: What brought you to Oklahoma?
JS: My brother. He had a practice here, so I came and we worked together for a few years. I have two brothers who are dentists.
IMPACT: Oh cool! So, is dentistry a family profession, or is it more of a coincidence that you and your brothers became dentists?
JS: My brothers and I are the only dentists. It was just totally random [that we became dentists].
IMPACT: So, is it just the three of you as far as siblings go?
JS: No! There are nine of us! Six boys and three girls.
IMPACT: So tell us, why did you choose Dental Depot?
JS: Well, I was just looking for work when my brother sold his practice and moved back east. So I came on part time with Dr. Glenn.
IMPACT: Do you remember how big Dental Depot was back when you started?
JS: Oh shoot, no, I have no idea. They put me at Midwest City, and I was there for a number of months, but it wasn’t long. It just wasn’t busy enough for me — so, I yelled and screamed [laughs]. Then they sent me to Moore, and I was there for about a year, I think. And then, Dr. Glenn started coming after me, he suckered me into full time, and here I am! It’s been five years.
IMPACT: So, good choice?
JS: Oh yeah! Great choice!
IMPACT: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned being a dentist?
IMPACT: How do you work to improve that on a daily basis?
JS: That’s a good question. I guess in a place like this – where it’s so busy – you gotta give everybody the same respect when you see patients. I guess just know that everybody is an individual and try to help each one as best you can without losing your mind in the process.
IMPACT: So what’s your best piece of advice to dentists who are just getting started?
JS: Know your limits. Don’t try to push yourself – well, pushing yourself is good – but know your limits. Do what you feel comfortable doing and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
IMPACT: Is there a time you didn’t follow that advice?
JS: Yeah, I think everybody is eventually guilty of that. You’ll get caught doing something you probably wish you didn’t start. You can ask [Dr. Winn Ashmore] over here – I’ve come in showing him x-rays of something I tried to do and they’ll tell me I’m stupid [laughs]. But, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But you learn from it.
IMPACT: Do you have a most memorable patient?
JS: I have a few that come to mind. I think the most memorable ones are the people who are the most thankful. And I used to do a lot of work with an organization [D-Dent], that gives free dentistry to veterans. We would donate our time and they would pay for it. I remember some of those guys were just down on their luck and had been dealt a bad hand. Being able to give them a smile again, you could see how thankful they were. Those kind of situations are the ones that stick the most. I did it for about three years and my dad was one of the patients, too, which was nice.