Couple Dedicated to Patients, Profession and Community
By Salwa Choucair
Besides being married for 17 years, a dynamic dental duo—known as She-Bone and He-Bone—has been quietly making a difference one patient at a time in a Texas community through its practice, Hill Country Dental Associates in Kerrville.
Drs. Jennifer and Jamie Bone met while attending the School of Dentistry at UT Health San Antonio where Jamie completed his D.D.S. in 1999, and Jennifer completed her D.D.S. in 2001. For almost two decades, the couple has been advocating the importance of oral health to their patients while being involved in both professional and community organizations and often serving in leadership roles. Together, they have forged personal relationships and created an environment of trust.
“I love seeing children or adults who may come into our office a little nervous but leave with smiles on their faces,” says Dr. Jennifer, who completed the general dentistry residency program at the School of Dentistry in 2009.
“Turning that attitude around is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a dentist, and we see that daily.”
The couple started their practice in a three-operatory office with three staff members and three dentists including the two of them and Dr. Emil C. Willmann, from whom they purchased the practice. A few years after the purchase, a neighboring dentist, Dr. Jay Burditt, suggested they merge their practices, and for a decade, they worked out of two offices which sat side by side with two receptionists and two waiting rooms. Patients didn’t seem to mind as the two built their business on a strong foundation before expanding.
Currently, Hill Country Dental Associates is housed under one roof in a new office, which opened in 2011 across the street from its original location, with three hygienists, two front office staff members, three dental assistants, two full-time dentists, Dr. Jamie and Dr. Jennifer, and one part-time dentist, Dr. Burditt.
While Dr. Jennifer knew she wanted to be a dentist at a young age, choosing to play “dentist” rather than “house” with her friends, Dr. Jamie, who also serves as an assistant clinical professor in the Advanced Education of General Dentistry (AEGD) program at the School of Dentistry, wasn’t set on becoming a dentist in his youth, but he knew he had an affinity for science.
“I was always strong in sciences, and I looked for a profession that involved people which led me to a career in health care,” says Dr. Jamie, who received his bachelor’s degree in finance from UT Austin and a master’s degree in biology from UT San Antonio prior to entering dental school. He completed his General Practice Residency at Hermann Hospital in Houston through the UT School of Dentistry at Houston.
With a combined 34 years of experience, the duo encourages dental students to plan, be resilient, be flexible, be involved and stay true to themselves.
“The whole profession of dentistry and the world is changing,” says Dr. Jamie, who serves as immediate past president of the Texas Academy of General Dentistry (TAGD), “and there are a lot of unknowns facing dentists with added regulations and requirements. The next generation of dentists needs to manage the business aspect more efficiently while encouraging patients to do the right thing when it comes to their oral health.”
Both Dr. Jamie and Dr. Jennifer have found opportunities for professional and personal growth through their involvement in professional organizations at local, state and national levels along with participation in their alma mater, UT Health.
“I think it is important to make connections within your profession especially if your profession can be influenced by those organizations,” says Dr. Jennifer, who previously served as chair of the Communications Committee for the Texas Dental Association. “It is easy to get out of school and begin your practice and end up in your own little bubble. Becoming involved in professional organizations is a great outlet where you can find support and learn from one another.”