Nick Vlahakis was a very busy man before he retired to Williamsburg in 2006. His corporate chief operating officer job kept him on the go, and he opted to delay getting the dental work he needed for a while.
Despite knowing he was choosing to put off some dental work until retirement, Nick still worried about his teeth.
But despite his worries, one of his requirements was to get all the work done at once. He even met with a dentist in Minnesota, but it wasn’t a great experience.
“I was interested in considering implants, but I almost got talked into a going down a different road. After the fact, I realized he’d been pushing me because that dentist didn’t want to try a newer technique,” he said. “That change averse style wasn’t going to work for me and I’m glad I didn’t pursue it then.”
So, when Nick finally did retire to Williamsburg, he got settled into his new house and started exploring the history of his new town. Then it was time to start his next project: his dental work. His wife, Kimi, already had a dentist since she’d moved down before him. He planned on going there but a friend asked if he had looked at Dr. Johnston at Norge Dental Center. Nick had heard good things and decided to go see Dr. Johnston for a consultation.
“My career was all about quality and reliability, so his approach was important. I was looking for that sweet spot between expertise and technology – and I wanted someone who had done a lot of implants,” Nick said.
Nick’s engineering background helped him understand the mechanics of what would be done in his mouth. Implants involve a degree of building a supportive structure in the mouth, including metal posts and bars, as well as the crowns replacing the old teeth.
“I don’t know a lot about medical procedures, or the interaction between bone and metals, but I can’t divorce my background. I wanted to know as much as I could and trust on the rest,” he said.
Trust was hard to come by in this area – Nick’s childhood experience with the dentist was negative and tended to be on an “as-needed basis.”
“We only went to the dentist when we had to—it was very reactionary, and not positive. Even as I got older, I avoided going. I had a few toothaches and let me tell you, studying engineering with a toothache was not easy,” he said.
He did see a dentist in Salt Lake City in the 1980s that he had a good relationship with and got some issues corrected with. But finally it was time to “get his mouth renovated.”
His experience meeting with Dr. Johnston at Norge Dental Center was a positive one. He asked a lot of questions and laid out what he was looking for – Nick wanted some implants on the top that were not removable, as well as veneers on some of his bottom teeth.
“I wanted things in my mouth to finally be permanent and secure,” he said. “I wanted the skills and technology from the person doing it – and I was impressed with Tim. There are certain things I prioritize on price, not on this. I wanted quality and the know-how of science behind it.”
The timeline Dr. Johnston set out for the work was clear and Nick had the X-rays, molds and surgery necessary for his new implants. After the process was over, Nick was happy with the work. It looks good, and he said he’s had no trouble at all in the last 5 years.
He goes in for his regular 6-month check-ups and has recruited his wife to be a patient at Norge Dental Center as well.
“It’s a vibrant place and I love the atmosphere. It’s efficient and I very seldom wait. The staff all work as a group to take care of the patients and Tim sets the tone that they are quality focused,” he said.
Today, Nick has a lot more time to enjoy himself and his retirement. He’s active in the local community, participates in many philanthropic activities including the Vlahakis Education Center at the Hellenic Center, and driving the scenic roads of Virginia in his Ferrari.