At the age of six, Dr. Constantine Chrysostom, or Dr. Deno as he’s affectionately known, knew he would grow up to be a dentist. He had a maxillary anterior tooth that had not yet ruptured through his gum. At the dentist, the doctor explained the procedure to him by drawing out the different components onto a piece of paper. Dr. Deno said in “those days” they never did anything on the same day, so he was sent home and scheduled to return the following week. Taking matters into his own hands, Dr. Deno grabbed one of his father’s razors, folded it in half and stuck it between his two front teeth.
"Heartland Dental didn't change the way I practice dentistry. To be honest, they just tightened everything up. It was remarkable. This has absolutely been a win-win situation for me."
Constantine Chrysostom, DMD
Practicing dentist at West Columbia Family Dentistry in West Columbia, South Carolina
“I pulled it across very gently the first time and the second time I dragged it along a little harder. I came out of the bathroom, and my mom saw the blood everywhere and took me straight to the dentist. By this time the tooth had already jumped through and the doctor said, ‘I couldn’t have done a better job myself.’ That was my path to dentistry,” he laughed.
Dr. Deno completed his undergraduate studies at the University of South Carolina and earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the Medical College of South Carolina. He built and ran a large, successful dental office, West Columbia Family Dentistry, where he has remained for the past 38 years.
A friend and Heartland Dental supported dentist, Dr. Timothy Quirt of Quirt Family Dentistry, first introduced Dr. Deno to the idea of Heartland Dental.
“I genuinely trust Dr. Quirt and when he told me about Heartland Dental, I was interested,” said Dr. Deno. “I began to study the company and it was obvious it to me that the way Heartland Dental operates is very different than other support organizations.”
After deciding to affiliate with Heartland Dental, Dr. Deno sat down with his staff to tell them the news. First, he told the fellow dentists in his office.
“This is what I’ve chosen to do because it’s in our best interest and dentistry is changing. I can assure you that Heartland Dental is the wave of the future,” he told them.
The fellow dentists were very open-minded to the change and didn’t have any issues with the new adventure the team was about to embark on. The next feat was telling the hygienists, assistants and front desk staff. He gathered them all for a meeting and asked how many people felt that in their current situation, they had reached a dead end with their job. A few people raised their hands.
“When I saw those hands go up, I was even more confident that I was making the right decision. I love my team and I want to see them grow to the best of their abilities. I told them, ‘The reason I’m doing this is because it’s going to allow you to move further in your career and it’s going to allow me to have a better quality of life.”
Dr. Deno believes that the process went smoothly in part because he was open and honest with his team. They went into the process as a team and came out as team. He trusted his staff and in return, they trusted him. The most positive impact he’s seen within the staff is their commitment to continuing education and their productive weekly meetings. The team meets every Monday for one and one half hours during production time. And even though they’re taking a half-day’s production off every month, Dr. Deno says they’re over 30 percent larger and more productive than they’ve ever been.
“Heartland Dental didn’t change the way I practice dentistry,” he said. “To be honest, they just tightened everything up. It was remarkable. This has absolutely been a win-win situation for me.”
Although he still practices dentistry, Dr. Deno has found his calling within Heartland Dental by mentoring young doctors. He brings them into his office and teaches them skills that go beyond clinical knowledge. He teaches them how to be good leaders and how to effectively communicate with their patients, which he has learned to do more successfully through Heartland Dental’s education partnership with The Bell Leadership Institute. He says being a teacher and mentor for young dentists is the biggest gift he can offer as a dentist.
Since becoming part of the Heartland Dental family, Dr. Deno has felt a tremendous impact on his personal life especially. He and his wife, Kay, now have more time to spend on their farm and enjoy traveling together whenever possible.
“My wife, she calls me a fun dodger,” he joked. “I’m learning how to be more fun and relax, and I’m having a wonderful time doing it. My personal life has been significantly affected in such a positive way. Just ask my wife!”
Ultimately, Dr. Deno enjoys being part of something that is bigger than himself. He’s delighted to see the growth his staff has experienced, as well as the growth he’s experienced personally and professionally. His only regret is not joining Heartland Dental sooner.
“This is the best deal you could ever dream of in dentistry.”