When Dr. Jeffrey Weller was young his family would make swings through Iowa during driving vacations to visit his uncle who, it turns out, would have a lasting influence on him.
“He was a dentist and back then we traveled by car more than by plane for family vacations. We would visit and hang out with him and his family,” Weller says. “I just thought he was a great guy, a fun-loving guy, very caring guy, and I kind of looked up to him and admired him.”
When he was a young student in school Weller remembers when teachers would ask him what he wanted to do when he grew up the first thing that popped into his head was that he wanted to be like his uncle. He wanted to be a dentist.
After finishing his schooling Weller set up shop on the North Side of Chicago at Lincoln and Belmont. Twenty-six years ago, he transitioned that office to the Gold Coast, and eight years ago he opened a second office in Hinsdale. He and his colleague, Dr. Ayesha Sultan, each spend a few days a week in each office.
“Dr. Sultan is doing more of the general dentistry and smaller cosmetic cases like bonding, laser gum contouring, and Invisalign,” Dr. Weller says. “I focus more on the comprehensive dentistry, the more complex cases.”
Weller says dentists aren’t trained in dental school to take a comprehensive and preventative approach to treating their patients but to treat problems that have already occurred. His approach to treatment is to evaluate a patient’s teeth and mouth over time and to create long-term plans to keep them healthy.
“From what I’ve seen over my time in practicing a lot of dentists, as soon as they get out of school, start looking at individual teeth and treating a tooth if there’s a problem,” Weller says. “They don’t look at how it affects the entire mouth. What I try to do is look at patients’ long-term goals and evaluate how each tooth that I work on is going to affect the entire mouth.”
Weller dental increasingly uses new technology in its practice, including digital technology to photograph teeth which can be used over years to shape long-term treatment plans for patients. Staff use 3D scanners to take impressions which can be used to explore cosmetic enhancement options.
“We’re also doing a lot with lasers, including laser gum contouring, so somebody that might have shorter teeth, if I want them to be a little longer, we may laser the soft tissue to create a little wider and broader smile,” he says.
Key to his dental practice’s success is that it’s a family-run practice in an age where the dental and medical industries have seen plenty of consolidation. His family is deeply involved in the day-to-day business.
“We’re a family-run practice. My sister Jamie is one of our office managers and my wife Tina is our treatment coordinator,” says Weller. “All of my staff is highly trained. I work with them all the time as far as how they talk to patients, how they treat patients, and we educate all our patients very well. A lot of dentistry, just like medicine, has gone corporate and we definitely work with people more personally.”
Weller Dental is located at 920 N. York Road in Hinsdale, 630-654- 2900, and 1050 N. State Street in Chicago, 312-654-0606, wellerdental.com.