It’s all about the patient

By | November 4, 2019

Living in a beautiful, historic city like Fredericksburg is a great experience. After 52 years as a practicing dentist, Dr. John Willhide continues to look for ways to provide the patient with a memorable experience at his dental office.

Dr. Willhide

“Being in the same place for so long allows me to build my reputation for providing the type of treatment that is consistent,” Dr. Willhide shares. “I love being an inner part of the community where I can build a caring practice that allows me to really get to know patients.”

“We treat people not just teeth and it’s important to get to know every individual in order to do it well,” says Willhide.

With every new patient, Dr. Willhide telephones the individual the night before their appointment. He introduces himself and learns about the patient’s health priorities and a little bit about the person on their terms. Dr. Willhide believes that he is better prepared to provide a personal and positive experience before seeing anybody in a clinical setting.

Dr. Willhide’s advice for new dentists is to have specific aspirations, “Get a vision for both your life and the way you want to practice as a dentist.”

“I need to know who the person is before we talk about treatment. If I can learn about the patient, their priorities and what type of treatment they expect, then I’m better able to connect and deliver the care they need.”

Initial conversations are personally done by Dr. Willhide, not his staff, and he also likes to call and follow up after any invasive procedures. A lot of patients have multiple systemic issues and he likes to know that their overall health is also alright.

Dr. Willhide as a Green Beret

Dr. Willhide firmly believes in continuing education for both himself and his staff; not only clinical training but administrative training as well. Their study is not limited to updated technology training but also OSHA, HIPPA and Insurance.

Dr. Willhide’s fascination to learn and remain technologically advanced in the field of dentistry, has strengthened his commitment to help veterans resolve sleep disorders. Dr. Willhide is one of about 15 dentists in Virginia approved by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to provide appliances to veterans with sleep apnea. He explains how the technology within dentistry is what makes it such a fascinating and engaging field and why he is always eager to learn new ways to deliver care in the digital world.

Willhide goes on to say, “Treatment for Sleep Apnea goes beyond Veterans and our practice gets referrals from physicians in sleep medicine practices to fabricate sleep appliances. We believe we are saving lives in this part of our practice, as the effects of Sleep Apnea can be devastating. An oral appliance used for the treatment of sleep apnea is much more comfortable and user friendly than a C-Pap. Thus patients are generally more compliant in its use. A C-Pap not in use on the bed stand all night leaves the patient at greater risk.

Although we have looked at and diagnosed Malocclusion for years, new research has shown that repositioning teeth not only allows better function, but can create more room for the tongue, which impacts Sleep Apnea.

Thus the use of Invisalign to realign, level and derotate teeth also aids in preventing periodontal disease which can contribute to systemic issues such as arterial and heart disease. Dr. Willhide believes that the dental profession is contributing more and more in treating systemic illnesses.

We are also members of the of the Spear Institute, which not only teaches advanced clinical dentistry, but with the acquisition with Pride Institute, it now includes Practice Management in its curriculum. This aids us in managing our practices efficiently so that we can devote our attention to more effectively treat patients with this wonderful new technology. What a beautiful combination!”

Now an octogenarian, Dr. Willhide does not have any immediate plans to retire from the practice he has caringly built during his extensive career as a dentist.

Upon graduation from the School of Dentistry at the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Willhide began his career in the U.S. Army Dental Corps for 4 years as a Green Beret. During his service, he obtained specialized experience in dentistry, rotating through specialty programs in periodontics, oral surgery, endodontics, and prosthodontics that help him offer all these services to patients.

“Not enough young dentists go into the armed services once they graduate,” Dr. Willhide says. “It was an invaluable experience to have before going into private practice. I highly recommend even an internship that would provide a great way to experience dentistry in ways that will help train dentists for the rest of their career,” Dr. Willhide advises.

Dr. Willhide’s advice for new dentists is to have specific aspirations, “Get a vision for both your life and the way you want to practice as a dentist.” Personal relationships with patients matter. Dentists graduating today experience different issues than he experienced decades ago. But, what still matters is the need for patients to have trust in their doctor. This type of care delivered at Heritage Dental helps contribute to the positive doctor-patient relationship that Dr. Willhide provides to every single one of his patients.

The goal at Dr. John Willhide’s practice is to, deliver the kind of outstanding experience that will exceed your expectations – from the moment you come through our door, to the moment you leave.

John W. Willhide, DDS, founded Heritage Dental in Fredericksburg, Virginia in 1979. He has been a practicing dentist for 52 years and intends to remain dedicated to patients not retirement.

Dr. Willhide has been an active member in the Rappahannock Dental Society, The Northern Virginia Dental Society, The Virginia Dental Association because he believes that in order to make a contribution to the profession of dentistry, you must get involved. He is also Fellow of the VDA, The American College of Dentists, The International College of Dentists, The Pierre Fauchard Academy and The Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.

36 thoughts on “It’s all about the patient


    very nice article–I have been in private practice since 1959–gave up my license two years ago–decided it was time to quit. Dentistry has been a great ride through life. Glad to see these testimonials from the “golden age of dentistry” Dr. Robert Allen Hampton Va

  2. david

    Really good article and highly impressed by Dr. John Willhide’s goal. We too have Dental Clinic in Dearborn MI and we always try to make a good relation with our patients so that they do not get scared of these high technologies, especially children and then we can significantly shape their health outcomes.

  3. david

    Really good article and highly impressed by Dr. John Willhide’s goal. We too have Dental Clinic in Dearborn MI. We also try to make a good relation with our patients so that we can significantly shape their health outcomes.

  4. Paul

    This is what the next up and coming generation of professionals need. The internships are priceless!

  5. Casselberry Gym

    Totally agree! Keeping our focus on the client, whether its a dental patient or someone that needs help getting healthy by using a personal trainer, the results are so much better, and the commitment to stick with it doesn’t fade!


    I admire you for loving and taking care of your patients. You do not know that we patients look up to our doctors because we know that you can help us. We respect you a lot and everything you do makes us feel better. Thank you for this post.


    This is such a heartwarming post. Patients respect their doctors so much. They depend on all their hopes and aspirations to their doctors. It is good to know that doctors also value their patients. I am so happy with this post. Continue doing so.


    Doctors don’t just save lives, they touch lives. Thank you for showing how much your patients mean to you as well. This just made my New Year even better. Great job guys! Please keep it up.

  9. Markham

    My hats off to Dr. John Willhide – wow I have never heard of a dentist picking up the phone and reaching out to a first time client to get to know them better before they come in. Keep up the good work Dr. John Willhide, you really are an inspiration not only to other dentists but anyone in the service based position. You definitely set yourself apart.


    Thank you, Doctor Willhide! You are such an inspiration to your patients and other doctors and nurses out there. May you always be blessed. I admire you a lot.

  11. Rain

    Learning is a permanent process, especially in Reading. Everyday you have to learn and get outside of your comfort zone. This is a great blog! Great job Dr. Willhide!

  12. Rain

    Some expert says Reading is one of the best way to learn. It’s the starting point of learning. This blog inspires people who always want to learn in many aspects. Continue inspiring Dr. Willhide!

  13. Rain

    I admire the dedication shown of Dr. Willhide here. This content makes the next generation to learn and to view the life like Dr. Willhide’s view!

  14. Daisy Alvarenga

    I absolutely agree with Elise Yuson. What a nice Guide for young dentists! They can learn so many things from experiences that you have explained. It is nice to read your article sir, thank you for sharing.


    You are right! It is all about the patients! I admire you for taking the genuine care of your patients. Please also know that we treasure our doctors as well. Thank you for saving our lives.

  16. Rafal

    Thanks God for Doctors like you. How are you doing now during this epidemy? I hope you are healthy!

  17. Tucson Emergency Dentists

    Thank you doctor Willhide for your service and contributions to the field of dentistry. We have a relatively new clinic in Tucson, how it is people such as Dr. Willhide that serve as an inspiration to us new oral surgeons. All the best!

    Dr. Jen Grant
    Owner & Head Surgeon at Tucson Emergency Dentists


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