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A Team of Locally Based Dentists Serve Smiles Across Mississippi

By Carson McKinney
Hottytoddy.com Intern

Photo courtesy of Life Dental Group.

Dr. Mike Huggins founded Life Dental Group in 2017. Since then, his network has acquired dental practices throughout Mississippi in Batesville, Tupelo, Columbus, and most recently, Byram.

Life Dental—headquartered at 306 Enterprise Drive in Oxford—practices retain their original names. When Life Dental purchases a dental practice it asks for the current dentists to stay for an additional year or two in order to help the new dentists familiarize themselves with the current patients.

“A lot of [the dentists] have 30 years of experience with some of these patients,” Huggins said. “We want them to know that we are going to take just as good of care as them as their previous dentists.”

According to a Fall 2018 magazine from The University of Mississippi Medical Center, 55 percent of older adults in Mississippi have severe tooth loss, 25 percent of adults 65 or older have no teeth, and 31 percent of MS third graders have untreated tooth decay.

UMMC predicts over a four-year period only 118 new dentists will graduate and stay in Mississippi, but 192 active Mississippi dentists will retire, as 14 percent of active Mississippi dentists are 65 or older.

Huggins hopes to keep dentists in Mississippi by attracting prospective dental students to Life Dental affiliated practices through word-of-mouth and lunch-and-learn style involvement with the UM School of Dentistry.

“We’re trying to recruit the best, youngest, smartest, brightest kids to stay in Mississippi,” Huggins said. “So, we’re buying practices, pairing them up with towns that they want to live in and then going in and setting up the systems that I’ve practiced for 25 years: systems that we’ve learned that work.”

Huggins plans to expand Life Dental into nearby states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee while keeping the focus on smaller towns so he and his team can form close ties to communities and give back to their members, including policemen, firefighters, teachers, and military.

“It works for me because I’m just a little old country guy who never would want to live in a big city. People want to go live in Memphis, Jackson or Birmingham. There’s a lot of competition in dentistry in those big cities. You combine that with the fact that people are underserved in Mississippi, especially in rural communities, I think it makes sense to stay there.”

For more information on Life Dental Group, visit their website.


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