A Half Century of Smiles

A BELOVED Decatur dental practice is marking a major milestone—celebrating 50 years in the community. Dr. Tim O’Shea first opened the doors to O’Shea Dentistry in 1973, buying the office from another dentist.

1973, buying the office from another dentist. Time flies when you’re not dreading going to the dentist, and longtime patients said they couldn’t believe it when they learned the practice was celebrating 50 years.

“I’ve been with them at least 40 years, if not 41 years,” said Lisa Speers, the second generation of a three-generation patient family.

After 47 years of dedication to the community, Dr. Tim retired in 2020, handing over the practice to his son, Dr. Matt O’Shea, who had been working with him side-by-side for over a decade.

Dr. Matt says patients comment weekly on the practice’s milestone anniversary

“One patient recently said she thought we opened in 1976 because she thought she started coming here the very first year we opened,” Dr. Matt O’Shea said. “I hear a version of that from patients at least once a week.”

O’Shea Dentistry won over Decatur locals by offering the highest level of oral care while also placing an importance in patient relationships—Dr. Tim genuinely enjoyed getting to know patients on a personal level and remembering details about them and their families. Generations of families faithfully came in twice a year for a check-up and cleanings, even when they’ve moved away from Decatur.

“I’ll never forget the time he complimented me one day on my hair. My husband hadn’t even noticed my hair had changed!” said Speers.

The profession was the perfect fit for Dr. Tim, who recalled in his retirement letter that his time as a dentist, “was never really work, even when it was difficult.”

“I have truly loved the journey and appreciate each and every one of you who have allowed me to care for your health concerns,” Dr. Tim wrote.

In addition to the knowledgeable and personal doctors, a longtime staff of dental hygienists at O’Shea Family Dentistry remember patients’ names, and their kids’ names.

Speers notes that in her 40-plus years as a patient, she’s had four total dental hygienists, and knows each by name.

While the dentistry has moved into a larger space—now encompassing the entire sixth floor on Commerce Drive with big windows that overlook Decatur, midtown, downtown Atlanta and Buckhead—it still upholds the family-owned, family-friendly atmosphere that patients have come to know and love.

Everyone is greeted by a happy, smiling staff in a warm and welcoming environment and provided the highest level of care.

Dr. Matt said he realized his passion for dentistry when he attended college at the University of Georgia. “My sophomore year, I started to pay attention to what my dad did and remember thinking, ‘that’s a perfect fit,’” Dr. Matt said.

He learned from his dad that dentistry is not just about teeth and gums or cavities and crowns, but also about forming relationships with patients.

“My dad has taught me more than anything about how to treat people,” said Dr. Matt. “He just treated people right.”

The future of dentistry

Dr. Matt is continuing the close-knit feel of the practice while adding the latest dental technology that includes same-day crowns and dental procedures and clear aligners in lieu of traditional braces for orthodontic work.

“There’s not much outside of jaw surgery that we don’t provide,” Dr. Matt said. “Historically, we did general restorative and cosmetic dentistry, and now we are able to do implants, extractions, Botox and saliva testing.”

Dr. Matt is excited about the potential of Artificial Intelligence imaging to help create a comprehensive wellness map for patients that can address sleep problems, diet and may even be able to detect neurological disease. The possibilities are endless.

“There is so much new stuff on the horizon, it’s so exciting,” Dr. Matt said. “Dentistry in the next five to 10 years is going to look so different in the best way.”

In addition to this cutting-edge technology, patients at O’Shea can look forward to a possible surprise visit from their beloved former practitioner.

“You can’t keep my dad away. He says, ‘Maybe I’ll be the greeter’ at the practice,” Dr. Matt said. “He hasn’t done it yet, but I think it would be awesome and patients would love it.”

The patients and the team—what Dr. Tim called the “heart and soul of the practice”— are what keep Dr. Matt motivated to come into work every day

“We’re a family here,” Dr. Matt said. “It translates to the best possible care we can provide for patients who have been coming to us for so long. We’re so grateful that they have been so faithful and trusting us to be their providers. It really is a special thing.”

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