Coming up on 20 years in the dental industry, Dr. Lisa Knowles couldn’t be happier with her decision to open her own practice, Haslett East Lansing Dental Health and Wellness between Haslett Road and East Lansing Drive. Knowles has always known she wanted to work in the health care industry; she just wasn’t sure if she wanted to be a dentist.
“Starting with zero patients is no small task and involved a lot of risks, but I am happy I chose this location, and the patient support has been wonderful,” Knowles explained.
Knowles obtained her bachelor’s degree in communication from Alma College and went on to graduate from the Michigan State University School of Dentistry. Knowles decided it was time to start looking for a practice once she established her speaking, writing and consulting business, InternationalDental Consulting, which is where Knowles marries her two loves of dentistry and communication.
She is a teacher at heart and takes pride in helping her patients learn more about their health. She strives to instill the importance of dental care in every patient and has them learn during their time in the office.
“By far, my favorite thing about being in dentistry is that it allows me to teach and coach others, and also learn from others,” Knowles said.
For children, Knowles’ practice has a brushing station that lets kids get interested in what is in their mouths, along with the connection with food choices and healthy habits. She likes to talk about and demonstrate how the mouth and body are interconnected with each other, so patients can recognize how important it is to take care of their teeth and gums.
“A lot of times, dental hygienists and dentists get caught up in doing procedures and doing technical things, but I have found teaching patients is where the hands-on, kinesthetic learning takes place and where patients get the most value,” she said.
Knowles is also currently serving a three-year appointment to the Michigan Dental Association board of trustees. There, she can contribute her moral compass and help guarantee patients get the best care from the oral health authorities in the state of Michigan.
Additionally, she offers her services once a week at the Volunteers of America Delta Dental Clinic for the homeless and Medicaid population. Knowles received extra training in her general practice residency at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Ann Arbor, where she learned how to treat patients with medical issues and how to honor a patient’s needs. She believes that there are a lot of unmet dental needs out there, and it takes a specific personality to work with medically and mentally compromised patients.
When not volunteering her services or at her practice, the mom of two enjoys helping coach the East Lansing High School varsity softball team with head coach Jeff Lampi. She is also an environmental champion, and her practice reflects that value. She knows the importance of being able to create a beautiful crown and getting every little bit of calculus off the teeth, but she also knows it’s just as important to teach people how to maintain their body and overall health.
“Once I figure things out or learn about other strategies, then I share my knowledge with others,” Knowles said. “I am a Lifelong learner as well, so I love to absorb what others know; I love to watch a communication and educational network emerge. Helping people connect with others brings a lot of joy to my work.”