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More Than Teeth

Topeka Periodontics treats patients as people, not a diagnosis

Dr. Julie C. Swift-Woods was studying dentistry at the University of Missouri-Kansas City when her mom was diagnosed with gingival recession, also known as receding gums. Dr. Swift-Woods assisted the UM-KC surgical resident with her mom’s procedure and immediately realized she wanted to be a periodontist.  

In 2004, Dr. Swift-Woods completed a three-year residency at Baylor College of Dentistry, where she learned the surgery skills necessary to treat patients. She has practiced in Topeka for almost twenty years. She and her team treat patients from a broad region of Kansas. Patients are often referred to her office by their dentist, but many call on their own after noticing an issue. 

“Since periodontal disease doesn’t usually hurt, most people don’t realize there is a problem until their dentist tells them,” says Dr. Swift-Woods. “So, we spend time educating patients about their diagnosis. We talk people through recommended surgical procedures. We don’t rush through things. We treat patients as a whole person. We don’t focus only on their periodontal diagnosis; we also help manage their anxiety.”

A periodontal practice focuses on the supporting structures of the mouth, such as the bones and gums. While dentists target the health and maintenance of teeth, Dr. Swift-Woods is concerned more about plaque causing an inflammatory response that leads to gingivitis and bone loss. Chronic inflammation has been linked to stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, so prevention is key. Her team performs procedures such as gum grafting for exposed roots of teeth and rebuilding bone if there are deep pockets around a tooth or teeth. They also do extractions and implants.

While Dr. Swift-Woods has always loved the surgical side of periodontics, she found herself at a professional crossroads at the end of 2017. “As a dentist, we get no business training in school,” she explains. “The mantra is, ‘Produce more!’ Do more dentistry and make more money for the practice. We were doing more than ever. We had our highest collections, but there was no extra money in the bank.”

A friend suggested Dr. Swift-Woods read Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz. She describes the book’s cash management ideas as like Dave Ramsey for businesses. The program helped her realize that while her practice was making more than ever, her spending was outpacing her increased revenue.

Dr. Swift-Woods implemented the Profit First program in 2018. Since then, she has paid off all remaining business and school loan debt, fully funded the 401(k) profit-sharing accounts, and maintained her take-home pay without working more. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, she saw many of her colleagues struggle. Some dentists had just minimal cash on hand. If it weren’t for the government assistance programs, they would have permanently closed their practices during the coronavirus shutdown. 

So many of Dr. Swift-Woods’s fellow dentists inquired about Profit First that she became a certified Profit First Professional. Now she’s their business support system. She helps them understand their finances, decrease expenses, and have sustainable profits, which allows them to keep serving their communities as dentists. 

She says, “If you had told me five years ago that I wouldn’t be burned out, that I would still be a practicing periodontist, and that I would be helping business owners, women in particular, I would have never believed you. You never know where your life is going to go next.”

For more information about Topeka Periodontics or to make an appointment, call 785-233-1756 or visit topekaperiodontics.com. To learn more about the Profit First work done by Dr. Swift-Woods, go to drjuliewoods.com.

“If you had told me five years ago that I wouldn’t be burned out, that I would still be a practicing periodontist, and that I would be helping business owners, women in particular, I would have never believed you. You never know where your life is going to go next,” says Dr. Julie Swift-Woods.

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