This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of IMPACT Newsmagazine
Dr. Stephen Herren
South OKC's Dr. Stephen Herren reflects on almost a decade as part of the Dental Depot family.
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’
Dr. Joseph Sebourn
Dr. Joseph Sebourn found his place in the fast-paced environment of the Central OKC office and is still thriving five years on.
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.