Name: Rashmi Bhatnagar, DMD, MPH, FAGD
Facebook: BellaVista DentalCare
Title: Dentist/Owner, Bella Vista DentalCare Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
Kids: Boy/Girl Twins, Jay and Jaina, age 7
City you live in: Live in Chandler, Practice in Ahwatukee
Tell us about yourself!
I was born and raised in central Pennsylvania, and grew up in a conservative small town called York. In the 1980's and 90's that area was not very diverse. As an Asian Indian, I was very different from my classmates and it created quite a challenge for me to blend in. I felt very blessed to have a supportive family to gain stability and strength from. I also had quite a nice group at school that embraced my cultural differences. I am still close to some of those girls today.
Although we didn’t have any family in town, my parents reached out to the surrounding central Pennsylvania and created a strong Indian community for me and my sisters. It was because of their efforts, I was able to have emotional stability, strong good values, and a feeling of support. With family, friends, and community support, I always felt I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. I try to establish that same sense of community for my own children for that same reason.
What makes you tick?
My passion to help people: Help people gain more confidence with their smile, help people with resolving their pain, and help people maintain their oral health.
How did you get where you are today?
The things that come to mind are continuous education, hard work, courage, and taking risks. While growing up, my mother noticed I had a strong interest in art. She noticed I would join every school club that incorporated art in the program. My mother started taking me to private art lessons at a very early age. I also wanted to follow my mother’s footsteps as a physician and heal people. One of my mother’s close friends was a dentist and knew my interests. She suggested dentistry for me because it combines medicine and art together. A perfect fit for me!
After dental school and residency, I felt complete because I had fulfilled my passion in the art of dentistry. Creating beautiful, healthy smiles for patients. I worked hard after residency to build up my skills and confidence working 6 days a week in several types of practices extending from working in the hospital, to corporate, to private and cosmetic. With all that experience, I knew I wanted to create my practice where I could incorporate all my strengths and create a different level of care.
When my husband relocated to Arizona, I took the risk, and financed the purchase of a building, and started the practice from scratch. Without any reputation established, I knew it would be a struggle and I would need the courage to work hard. Of course, finding the perfect team to treat my patients with excellent care is what really grew my practice.
Have you had any career setbacks?
After my husband and I agreed to relocate to Arizona from Pittsburgh, I knew it was time to open my own practice and be my own boss. I made a few trips here and purchased a building and started construction in early 2007. Mid-construction, the economy crashed. Many of my construction vendors went bankrupt, including my marketing company that took most of my working capital. After getting through construction with new vendors, I had to market myself by literally going door to door in the surrounding residential and business areas. I joined the local chamber of commerce, set up a booth at any festival or expo that would have me, and wrote monthly columns in the local newspaper. I introduced myself to the community and built my first 100 patients. As 600 dental practices were closing their doors throughout Phoenix, I was struggling to build my practice.
I learned what business was really about that first year. How to manage employees, bookkeeping, budgeting, marketing, and most importantly gaining confidence in myself to sell myself and my professional talents. Nothing great will happen on its own; you have to work hard for excellence and success.
If you treat people well, and do the right things, good things will happen - and that is how I manage my business and treat my patients to this day.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love helping patients gain confidence in their smiles. Our smiles are so important in our day to day lives. We use our smiles to communicate with our children, gain relationship at work, socialize, or meet people if dating. I love taking a smile that may be a little asymmetric or discolored and creating perfection for that person. In a moment, a person who barely smiles, starts smiling constantly and broadly just due to the slight or drastic changes I am able to make. I feel I am able to change their lives in a positive way.
Helping patients resolve their TMJ and tooth pain is equally rewarding. Nothing is more gratifying than having a patient tell me their chronic daily headaches are gone because of the treatment I have rendered.
Work-life balance—we all know there is no perfect equation! But have you learned any tips along the way to help with the balance?
I put my work behind me when I get home with my children. I don’t have any family in Phoenix, so I know the time they spend with me and my husband is all they will have to build their character. I also take off completely during my kids’ fall and spring breaks. My husband and I try to do something outdoors and fun with them those weeks like golfing or skiing to keep them active and off of their electronics. We love those weeks!
Unfortunately, there are those days when work runs late, I have a meeting, or other things come up and I miss an entire day without seeing the kids. Those days are tough, but I am blessed my kids understand and are still smiling when I see them the next day.
Did you come up with the name Bella Vista?
Interesting question! I was working and living in Pittsburgh when I had to create the name of my practice. I knew I was going to have a team, so I did not want to name it after me. I wanted the name to exemplify beauty. My elderly, retired neighbor suggested the name BellaVista, meaning beautiful view; creating beautiful smiles that would create happiness for my patients. My neighbor was very dear to me, and since he passed away, the name of my office will forever remind me of him.
What are your business goals for the new year?
To continue to grow the practice with my team and have fun doing it! 2019 brings new concepts in dentistry and I stay current through continued education. I typically attend around 150 to 200 hours a year of courses, outside office time. My mission is to be current in all things oral health related. Dentistry and medicine are overlapping to create exciting results for smiles. We utilize Botox to minimize clenching and headaches, while softening the jaw line at the same time. We use fillers to lessen a gummy smile, while creating fuller lips to smile with. My team and I are excited to see what new trends 2019 will bring for the smiles of our patients.
What are you inspired by?:
My mother. My mother is an amazing person. She is a full time physician, mother of four, grandmother of 7, professional musician, and was 1980 Pennsylvania women’s table tennis champion. Everything she does, she does 100%.
Who motivates you?:
My children, how I can positively influence them, and their future mental, emotional, and financial stability.
You have a lot of fun in your office! How did you create that environment?
Really, my team created that environment! I am relatively serious while I am treating my patients, but occasionally one of my team members will say something hilarious to mix up the day. In reality, we all love what we do, and that keeps it fun. Helping patients with their smiles and oral health is our passion, and we gain fulfillment from accomplishing that day to day.
Dr Bhatnagar is also giving one lucky reader a FREE Zoom Whitening ($500 value):