I love what I do, which I know sounds cliché, but it’s true.
I was introduced to the world of orthodontics through baseball! I considered myself the slick-fielding shortstop of the minor leagues. However, when I was nine, a baseball hit a rock and I became the slick-fielding shortstop without a front tooth. The dentist tried to re-implant the tooth, which lasted for only a year or two. The tooth was knocked out again while I was wrestling with my brother. I then had to wear a flipper until the space was orthodontically treated by Dr. Tesone, who was the orthodontist in Meadville then, and my experience was obviously awesome. I decided then that my baseball career was officially over and I wanted to be an orthodontist. I was 12, set my sights on orthodontics, and never looked back. I wanted to be an Orthodontist so I could pass on what Dr. Tesone did for me to all of my patients. I want you to have an Orthodontic experience like I had, that can change your life giving you happiness and confidence for many years. I have never wanted anything different.
For years I worked for my father Jay, at Smith Brothers Machine and Tool and for my brother Don at Ideal Tool and Mold. I have always stated that I learned as much about Orthodontics and business from my father and brother than anyone else. My love for the technical and engineering portion of Orthodontics came from my exposure working in a tool shop. I still use many of the skills I learned from my tool shop days even today as I calculate vectors!
Education and Experience
After graduating from Saegertown high school in 1981, I attended the University of Pittsburgh and obtained a biology degree in 1985. I started dental school at the University of Pittsburgh and graduated with my Doctorate of Medical Dentistry (D.M.D.) in 1989. After finishing dental school, I completed a one-year general practice residency at the Oakland VA hospital in Pittsburgh. I returned to the University of Pittsburgh, and earned my Master of Dental Science (M.D.S.) in Orthodontics in 1993. I finally returned to the home I loved after 12 years and set up my practice on July 15, 1993.
In 2008, I became a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. Only 15% of Orthodontists spend the additional time and effort to become board certified. Board certification is an accomplishment I am very proud to have achieved.
In 2010 came a great opportunity to combine two of my professional loves. I was asked by Dr. Don and Dr. Dan Rinchuse, the chairman and clinic director of Seton Hill University Department of Orthodontics, to teach biomechanics (moving teeth) and be on the clinical staff. I traveled to Greensburg every other Wednesday to teach orthodontics until July 2020. I am still on faculty at The Center for Orthodontics at Seton Hill University. However, now the residents will do the driving. We have arranged to have the residents come to Meadville so they may be exposed to how an office operates and have hands on access to technology that they don’t have access to.
I really enjoy my faculty position in teaching America’s future orthodontists not only mechanically how to be an orthodontist but, also the passion of being the best orthodontist. In return being around youthful residents enhances my passion to constantly improve my practice. I always say if I’m doing everything the same way five years from now then it’s time to retire. Always strive to be better.
Furthermore, in 2010 I was fortunate enough to be chosen to become a consultant at 3M Unitek, the largest orthodontic supplier in the United States. That means I get to use my past experience in tool and die, biomechanics, and orthodontics while serving on their advisory board, a very exciting honor. It also enables our office to be one of the most current and up-to-date facilities in the area, complete with cone-beam radiology, intraoral scanning, and 3D model printing.
Outside the Office
I was born at Meadville Medical Center, and have lived in Saegertown all my life. My father Jay Smith owned Smith Brothers Machine and Tool. My mother Neva worked for my dad for many years. After I graduated my mom became my first employee! My mom worked for me for many years until my dad’s health declined and she took time to be with him. My dad passed away in 2007 and my mom came back to work for several years. Mom passed away in 2020. I miss them and think about them every day.
It was during dental school that I met my wife Deb, here in Meadville. We were married in 1987 between my second and third year of dental school and moved back to Saegertown to my grandmother’s house. Deb is an accountant and takes care of all of the business parts of the practice that I hate. Yes, we work together every day and drive home together and still enjoy each other’s company. We certainly are a team and I could not imagine practicing without her.
Just before graduation, in 1989, our son Zack was born. Having Zack was certainly a life changer! I fondly remember the days of laying on the floor reading my Orthodontic journals while Zack would lay on my back, watching cartoons until he fell asleep. Some of our favorites were Dark Wing Duck and The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. Zack graduated from Saegertown High School in 2007. He then achieved a B.S in Psychology from Penn State Behrend in 2011. Zack worked in social service with Autistic children until he went back to further his education and graduated in 2020 from Portland State with a Master’s Degree in Education.
In 1994, our second son, Derek, was born. As a child Derek had eczema and asthma problems. However, his health concerns were not serious and only made him stronger. Derek is the ultimate trivia player to have on your team. He was captain of the High Q team at Saegertown and we were able to see him compete at the University of Pittsburgh. After graduating from Saegertown in 2012 he attended The University of Ohio in Athens, Ohio where he earned a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science
I could not be prouder of my boys!
In 1996 we purchased an old run down house that was undergoing a renovation. The Winters’ family would buy dilapidated houses and renovate them until someone would step in and buy the house and finish the project. It has been a life’s work! I would like to say after all these years we are finished. However, I cannot. Deb and I are continually working on the house and gardens.
When it comes to my free time, we are a seasonal family. During the summer Deb and I spend much of our time with flowers. We divide, plant, prune, and deadhead for hours. But that makes the time that we spend on our patio and porch much more gratifying. I like to listen to my 90’s grunge music and arena rock; explains the office music! Fall is about sports. The entire family, including sons, nephews, nieces and their children root for the Green Bay Packers. If you see a Packer coat around town be aware, they are probably related. Also, October is the start of hockey and we are fanatics for our Penguins. During the winter I snowboard and Deb skis. We go to Peek-n-Peak every weekend possible to enjoy the snow. This is one of my great passions. Spring? Well we sit inside and watch Disney+ because you can’t snowboard and you can’t enjoy being outside when it’s 33 and raining! During this time we try to escape to our other love….Disney World.