Dr. Christina Pruitt recently achieved accreditation by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), making her one of only two cosmetic dentists in Nebraska. She was honored by her peers and the AACD at the Annual Scientific Session in Grapevine, Texas, April 26 through 29.
A Growing Practice
Pruitt had been practicing dentistry for 11 years when she opened All Smiles Family Dentistry in Omaha’s Dundee neighborhood in March of 2021. She had three employees then. Today she has five — two receptionists, two assistants and one hygienist.
She is the only dentist in the nearly 1,300-patient practice, but she hopes to add another dentist, at least part-time, and another hygienist over the next few years.
“That would give our patients a little more flexibility when scheduling so they would not have to wait too long for appointments,” Pruitt said.
The practice has room to expand. Over the past year, All Smiles has added two new treatment rooms.
Pruitt started her practice from scratch.
“I had been a dentist for 11 years, so I had a number of people who knew me, who I’d treated in previous practices I’d worked in,” she said. “So that was a small start. Most of what we did was word-of-mouth. I did a lot of marketing campaigns in the Dundee area — mailers and things. We use social media pretty heavily, and we use a company to help us with our online presence and being located through Google.”
Pruitt’s biggest challenge with running a successful practice is the number of hats she must wear. Being an experienced doctor is a big responsibility, but she is also a business owner, an administrator and the HR department.
Insurance in Nebraska is tricky.
“Our state doesn’t receive very good reimbursements for in-network insurance providers, so we have elected not to be in-network with a lot of insurances,” Pruitt said. “We’re an experience-based practice. We don’t have insurance driving decisions. We treat patients based on the research and what we know is best for them. We spend a ton of time with each patient.”
Specializing in Cosmetic Dentistry
Pruitt does mostly restorative dentistry for all ages. Her focus of training is on cosmetic dentistry. She had been pursuing AACD accreditation for the past five years.
Born and raised in Gordon, a tiny town in Nebraska’s panhandle, Pruitt had originally planned to attend medical school, but her uncle — who was a dentist in Northern Minnesota — encouraged her to try dentistry.
“He said: ‘I really think you’ll like it’ because he knew I was interested in art and liked to work with my hands,” Pruitt said. “I think he knew more about what I was looking for than I probably did.
“So I went and spent a week with him, and I fell in love [with dentistry]. I knew that was what I definitely wanted to do. I got to take care of people the way I would in medicine, but I also got to work with my hands. I always had a passion for art and leaned into that growing up so it’s a beautiful combination, especially in cosmetic dentistry, of sculpting and creating things but also healing.”
After receiving her undergraduate degree in psychology from Creighton University, she attended UNMC College of Dentistry on a United States Air Force Scholarship, graduating with high distinction in 2010. She was then accepted into Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency (AEGD) through the Air Force, where she spent four years in active-duty service caring for service members and veterans. The AEGD allowed her to work alongside all dental specialists and hone her dental skills.
Pruitt spent hundreds of hours at the prestigious Kois Center in Seattle learning advanced evidence-based dental diagnoses and treatments, which encourages primary dental care practitioners to look for and apply available evidence to everyday clinical problems.
She also did lots of continuing education in the cosmetic dentistry realm as well as digital processes.
“We’re really tech-centric here,” Pruitt said. “We don’t do traditional impressions; we do all digital scans. We can design and digitally manufacture the prototype for someone so they can see what their smile would look like before we actually do anything.”
Pruitt met her husband, Chase — an oral surgeon — in dental school. When she finished her service in the Air Force, he was training at the Mayo Clinic, so she moved to Rochester, Minnesota, to join him. She worked in a corporate dental office for two years while he completed his residency. When they returned to Nebraska, Pruitt became an associate doctor for a high-end cosmetic practice where she worked for four and a half years before opening her own business.