Dr. R. Brinks Austin

Written by Niki D’Andrea, Judy Harper, Leah LeMoine & Craig Outhier Category: Profiles Issue: August 2015
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ORAL MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY

Dental School: University of Iowa
Years in Practice: 23

What advantages does having both an MD and a DDS degree give you?
I want to provide the most comprehensive and knowledgeable treatment possible. Understanding the function of the human body as a whole is foundational to providing the best care possible in any specialty of dentistry or medicine. I love to learn and share my surgical expertise to help others.

You share a practice with two other PHOENIX magazine Top Dentists. How did the three of you meet and decide to work together?
Dr. Bradley Porter and I were study partners in dental school at the University of Iowa. We formed Arizona Maxillofacial Surgeons, or AZ Max, in 1994. Dr. Brent Boyse joined us in 2001 after the growth of our practice led to an almost two-year search for a talented surgeon who valued education and a comprehensive teamwork approach.

What are your hobbies and passions outside dentistry?
Enjoying life with my wife of 35 years, our four adult children, their spouses and our three grandchildren. Gardening and canning/preserving the fruits and vegetables I grow. While serving in medical and dental missions in Honduras and Mexico, I learned the art of roasting coffee beans on an open fire using a cast-iron skillet. I call it my “cowboy roast.” I exercise five days a week with my boys and enjoy serving in my church.

What is “pre-orthodontic treatment”?
Pre-orthodontic treatment consists of a variety of procedures to help straighten teeth when braces alone can’t fix the problem of misaligned teeth. The goal of this treatment is to lessen the time required for braces and to improve the outcome of orthodontic treatment.

What’s the funniest thing a patient on nitrous oxide has said to you?  
Patient: “I’m feeling tingly all over. How long will it last?”
Me: “The effects of laughing gas wear off within five minutes after turning it off.”
Patient: “Wow, that’s longer than my husband!”
My staff and I laughed out loud! The patient giggled through the rest of the procedure.
 
What is the most serious/severe surgical reconstruction case you've worked on?
Working with biomedical engineers, I have developed a surgical procedure that helps people regain full function of the lower jaw when severe bone loss has occurred. Their crippling condition previously impeded their ability to eat and speak, and significantly affected their facial appearance, making social situations uncomfortable.

“If I wasn’t a dentist, I’d be...”    
The CEO of a dental insurance company supporting dental care to serve both patient and doctor and reduce the cost of bureaucracy. I have been in practice for 23 years and know the struggles of both patients and dentists. There is a better way for dental insurance to facilitate good dental health in our community.