Dr. Steven Wright of Maplewood Dental in Rehoboth Beach was honored this month as one of the nation's top 40 dentists under 40.
The award was presented March 13 in Rehoboth by representatives from Benco Dental, which started the annual 40 under 40 honors two years ago.
Roger Hollopeter, Benco Dental supply representative for Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, nominated Wright for the honor.
"We took this office from a typewriter and books to almost paperless," Hollopeter said. "It's been a real pleasure to see this office grow."
Wright's father, Bruce Wright, started the practice several decades ago, operating originally out of the space now occupied by 1776 Steakhouse at Midway. Maplewood moved to its current location on Route 24 in 1985.
Maplewood now has 8,000 patients, making it one of the largest dental groups in the Cape Region. Each dentist can support more than 2,000 patients, Wright said.
"We are a comprehensive office, meaning we do everything except braces," said Wright. "The technology is fascinating. It is really making it easier for the patient and making our jobs easier."
The Wrights offer patients the latest in cosmetic surgery to advanced therapy. Wright has put himself through classes to learn nearly every aspect of dentistry.
“My dad is my inspiration,” said Wright, 38. “He's been practicing since 1968. He comes to work eight hours a day, four days a week, just like he did 20 years ago. I'm a dentist because of him.”
Maplewood Dental offices recently were updated, and new technology added. It is because of these kinds of techonological updates that Wright was selected.
The Wrights offer in-house implants, which makes the process seamless for patients. Implants have really changed the face of dentistry today, said Dave Ruesch, regional manager for Benco Dental.
"If you don't get that space repaired with an implant, it can cause problems down the line. What Dr. Wright does is put in a new post, a new tooth, and that really saves teeth," Ruesch said.
"Before patients would go somewhere else to have the implant done. It's easier now that the general dentist can do it because he knows where it needs to be and knows what the endpoint needs to be," Wright said.
New CT scanners and digital impression technology allow Wright to take a full picture of a patient's mouth, without the need for the gel that dentists previously used.
Maplewood Dental also offers text reminders to patients who have an upcoming appointment. It is just one way the practice is keeping up with technology.
Those honored in the second-annual contest were featured in the fall 2012 Incisal Edge magazine, a lifestyle publication for the dental industry. Nominees were vetted by a committee of dental professionals and educators, who narrowed the list to 40 dentists.
Benco Dental, which operates the magazine, is a dental supply company founded in 1930 and based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
For more information on Maplewood Dental, call 302-645-6671 or go to www.rehobothbeachsmiles.com. The office is at 18913 John J. Williams Highway, Rehoboth Beach.