It’s always interesting to hear stories about when someone first knew they wanted to become a dentist. Was it because they had a happy childhood dental experience? Did they play dentist while their friends played cowboys? Or maybe it was years later, when they were enrolled at the university.
Dr. Virginia Scott took an altogether different route to becoming a dentist. She spent the first 14 years of her career as a registered nurse before ever going to dental school. “I was a late bloomer. After being an RN for 14 years, I knew I wanted to be more in charge of my patient’s care,” said Dr. Scott. “Dentistry gave me my own patients and allowed me to establish real relationships with them.”
After deciding to go back to school in 1988, she was unfortunately met with immediate resistance. “I was told not to bother enrolling in dental school because I didn’t have the right background,” said Dr. Scott.
The dental school admissions officer cited her family’s blue collar background, and the fact that Dr. Scott was a single mother, as reasons why she was not well suited for the program.
Devastated by the school official’s words, Dr. Scott walked away from her dream of becoming a dentist.
It wasn’t too long before she found herself yearning once again for a dentist career. So she went back to the admissions office, this time determined to be placed in the dental program. As luck would have it, the original admissions employee had moved on and the new one was extremely helpful and nice. She was in.
“So here I was, an older student, without the right background, who also happened to be female. And it was great!”
Dr. Scott entered dental school in 1989 and graduated in 1993. She worked as an associate for a couple different dentists, but by now, already well into her 30s, knew it was time to take on her own practice.
Pardeeville, USA, here we come!
Yes, the town is literally named Pardeeville. Located in Wisconsin, and under an hour away from Madison, Pardeeville is a small, close-knit town, with lots going on.
“I opened up shop in Pardeeville in 1995 and happily enjoyed being the town dentist until 2015,” said Dr. Scott. “I was involved in the community, participated in our annual watermelon festival, Halloween, the 4th of July, everything. It was just so very nice. Pardeeville gave me opportunities that a larger town could not.”
All good things.
Eventually it became time to think about bringing in an associate. “My dream was to have someone come in and take over the practice and continue to work part-time,” said Dr. Scott. “What I heard instead when interviewing young dentists was that they thought the town was too small, too far from Madison, that they wanted to be in the city. Even though I had a really nice practice, it just wasn’t in the right place for younger doctors.”
Around that same time, Dr. Scott happened to attend a continuing education class that Midwest Dental was presenting.
“I went to a CE that Midwest Dental put on for Endo, and started asking people about Midwest Dental. I was asking on a Friday, and on Monday morning I was on the phone with Midwest Dental!” said Dr. Scott.
“I never anticipated going with a corporate entity. In dental school, DSOs were frowned upon, so it was never my first thought,” said Dr. Scott. “However, Midwest Dental was so professional and very patient with me. We talked for a full year before I got to the point where I realized it wasn’t going to work to find a young dentist, so I had Midwest Dental purchase my practice. And I’m glad I did.”
That was 2015. Today, Dr. Scott still practices dentistry at her leisure as an independent contractor, and is enjoying her free time. “I always supported organized dentistry like the Wisconsin Dental Association and I wanted to be more involved professionally. I’m now a board member of the Wisconsin Academy of General Dentistry and their newsletter editor.”
It doesn’t end there though. Dr. Scott now has time to travel and even do some quilting! “I took my first quilting class last year,” said Dr. Scott. “It’s very relaxing. I really enjoy it!”