The experience of practicing dentistry in a rural area can be enriching both personally and professionally. As a doctor and community leader, benefits are derived from the connections created through a strong, close-knit community that drives a loyal patient base – all while making a significant impact on the health and well-being of people within the community.

“I grew up in a small town,” explains PepperPointe Partnerships CEO Dr. Greg White who practiced orthodontics for more than 30 years serving patients in multiple rural areas. “No matter where you are, the people in rural areas are very much the same –
they are independent, honest, and they care about their faith, family, and friends. I grew up in that environment, and always felt more at home in smaller towns than in larger cities.”

Below are insights from our interview with Dr. White to keep in mind when considering where you want to live, work, and invest in your future.

Deeper Patient Relationships

“In smaller towns, you are able to establish closer relationships and get to know the people better,” said Dr. White. “The pace is slower, and people have more time to sit and chat. You aren’t just an item on their to-do list. So, you get the opportunity to really know them. They are more likely to be open with you and stronger relationships are created.”

In smaller communities, a loyal patient base can be much easier to maintain and can be potentially multi-generational. Strong doctor-patient relationships are invaluable.

Making an Impact

Serving in a rural community can be personally rewarding. It’s easier to develop strong bonds with patients, become an integral member of the community, and experience a sense of fulfillment from addressing unmet healthcare needs.

“You can make a difference in the lives of so many families,” said Dr. White. “In urban areas, if you’re not there, someone else is just down the street. In an urban area, patients have more options and easier access to care. That is not the case in a more rural area. If you aren’t there, there’s a good chance that no one is. So, there’s a real need. That is professionally rewarding.”

Lower Cost of Living

Smaller communities offer a lower cost of living with more affordable homes and the opportunity for higher compensation packages and incentives. Coupled, this can be an ideal financial situation for a new graduate paying off student loans thus kick-starting their career.

“With less competition in rural areas, there’s a real opportunity to establish yourself and your practice creating a professionally and financially rewarding situation.”

Building Genuine Connections and Trust as You Join the Community

“The biggest challenge going into a small town from which you didn’t originate is that you must earn trust and acceptance. You must be genuine and authentic. It is crucial to be open, transparent, likeable, and that you show them you care. Do little things: proper greetings, remembering things that they tell you, and take part in things that are important to the community – local
town festivals and fairs.”

Dr. Kim Brown, owner pediatric dentist of KB Kids Dentistry, has served the community of London, Ky for 28 years.

Everyone knows everyone in a small town! Because of this, it can be easier to network and connect with others in the community to create a great quality of life. Rural areas offer family-friendly neighborhoods and communities, which is important to consider when starting a family of your own.

Dr. White shared a personal story of how he built trust in the rural community in which he practiced. He said “Each year in London, KY they had the chicken festival in which an enormous frying pan was placed in our parking lot and it was well understood that you closed your business for those few days for the festival in September. After a few years, I was informed that they didn’t need our parking lot for that anymore but needed it for a petting zoo instead – there were goats, chickens, and a variety of animals in my parking lot. My job on Sunday was to clean the remnants of the weekend before work on
Monday. That may sound horrible, but to me, that’s part of the charm of a small town because I was part of that and was included. Locals pay attention to how you participate and if you participate, you became one of them.”

Our Doctor Recruiter, Meredith Brown-Parsons would love to help you find the right fit and help you explore opportunities available in both rural and urban areas. Connect with us to start your new journey!