THE HUB: Local dentist comes home

Williston native David Stephens recently opened Stephens Family Dentistry in Hinesburg. (Observer courtesy photo)
Williston native David Stephens recently opened Stephens Family Dentistry in Hinesburg. (Observer courtesy photo)

July 18th, 2013

By Heleigh Bostwick

Observer correspondent

“I love everything about dentistry,” said David Stephens, who just opened Stephens Family Dentistry on Ballard’s Corner Road in Hinesburg. “I enjoy the patient interaction, asking about their families. It’s very social and it really suits my personality.”

Stephens, who grew up in Williston, said that even though his father was a dentist, he had no idea that he would end up being one, too.

“My father had a (dental) practice at Thomas Chittenden Health Center for 37 years,” he said. “Growing up, I worked in his office filing charts.”

After graduating from Champlain Valley Union High School, he headed to the University of Vermont, where he obtained a biology degree in 2001. He spent a couple of years working as a surgical assistant for a group of oral surgeons in South Burlington before attending Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, where he received his Doctor of Medical Dentistry in 2008, graduating at the top of his class.

“Working at the Temple dental clinic during school was a really good experience,” he said. “I saw all kinds of patients and it prepared me well.”

After dental school, he joined a small but busy dental practice just outside Providence, R.I. He spent the next five years gaining additional experience, before deciding it was time to go out on his own.

“My wife, Gabriella, and I were visiting my parents here (in Vermont),” he recalled. “We went out to dinner and had a really nice time, so I asked my wife—who didn’t grow up here, but had lived here before—if she was open to moving back to Vermont.” She was.

“Most dentists buy an existing practice from a dentist who’s retiring,” Stephens said.

His father had sold his business about six or seven years earlier, but he did know another dentist in Hinesburg, Bruce Metz, who was thinking about retiring after 30 years in practice.

“My father called Bruce, we set up a meeting and I put a down payment on the practice the next week.”

Stephens Family Dentistry officially opened its doors on March 18—the only dentist office in Hinesburg and the only one between Middlebury and Burlington, Stephens said. Many of his patients travel from the surrounding towns of Monkton, Starksboro, Ferrisburgh, Williston, Charlotte and Shelburne.

“I’m a general practice dentist,” he said. “I do all of the usual things like teeth cleaning, sealants, fillings, extractions, root canals, bridges, crowns, bonding, veneers and tooth whitening.”

“It’s going very well and I still see a lot of Dr. Metz’s patients,” Stephens said. “He was going to stick around for a while in case anyone had any questions, but left after two patients because the transition went so well.”

“I’m very happy to have a local dentist take over my practice,” Metz said. “He’s very good and has several years of good experience, so he’s not right out of school.”

“David is a familiar face for many of his patients who have been coming to the practice for years,” Metz added. “He grew up here and went to CVU. He knows the area and knows a lot of the people here.”

“I like the small town feel of Hinesburg and the practice is small, but personal,” said Stephens, adding that they know all of their patients by name. “It’s exactly what I was looking for so I’m glad it turned out this way.”

Stephens Family Dentistry is located at 82 Ballard’s Corner Road and is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.