January 18, 2013

DBU Alumnus Sees Ministry Behind Dentistry

 

When Dr. Michael Stuart, current president of the Texas Dental Association, graduated from Dallas Baptist College in 1974, he received a Bachelor of Science and intended to begin medical school soon after. Before he could begin his career as a dentist, however, the Lord temporarily led Dr. Stuart down a different path, teaching him first about faith and service.

After graduation, Dr. Stuart studied at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to earn a Master of Church Music degree and spent 16 years as a full-time music minister.  Despite his love for the ministry and church music, he still felt something was missing.

After much thought and prayer, he drove back to the DBU campus to get a second opinion from his former professor Dr. Herb Robbins, who was then dean of the former College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Robbins suggested dentistry, and Dr. Stuart took his advice and was soon accepted into the Baylor College of Dentistry.

Graduating with his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1986, Dr. Stuart has now been practicing dentistry for 27 years in the Mesquite and Sunnyvale area. 

In the waiting room of Dr. Stuart’s clinic, he has a mission statement printed that expresses the staff’s desire to “provide the ultimate quality of dental care in a safe, pleasant, caring, patient-centered environment, making each person feel comfortable and happy with their dental experience.” The mission statement is infused through every member of his staff and their interactions with patients. 

“My faith in Christ permeates everything I do,” he explains. “It influences who I am, how I approach people, and how I operate my office.” This worldview has led Dr. Stuart and his staff to volunteer with various organizations such as Texas Mission of Mercy, a product of the Texas Dental Association’s Smile Foundation that brings dental care to those without access to oral healthcare on their own; and Dentistry From The Heart, an annual, nation-wide event that gives free dental care to those in need.

For Dentistry From The Heart, he even partnered with his church, Sunnyvale First Baptist Church, where he is a deacon and elder, to make sure those who came to the free clinic heard the Gospel as well.

Dr. Stuart’s commitment to dentistry extends beyond his local area to the state and national levels. Most recently, he was elected president of the more than 8,700-member Texas Dental Association, where he is responsible for traveling the state to meet with various districts, educating dentists about important issues in their field, and overseeing the TDA Board of Directors.

He has been a member of the TDA Board of Directors since 2004, previously serving as Parliamentarian. He has served as the President of the Dallas County Dental Society, the Texas Academy of General Dentistry, and the Dallas Academy of General Dentistry. He has been a national delegate to the American Dental Association, of which he is a member, and was nominated for Texas Dentist of the Year in 2002. He was also honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from DBU in 2005, accompanied by his wife, Kathy, also a ’74 DBC graduate.

For all his involvement, accomplishments, and awards, Dr. Stuart’s most defining characteristic is his commitment to Christ and to his patients. “When our new office in Sunnyvale was opening a few years ago, I asked my pastor to come and dedicate the practice to God before any patient ever stepped into the building,” said Dr. Stuart, “and when you do that, you have to follow through with your commitment.”

“Our office is Christ-centered. We are a business, of course, and we treat people of all different faiths and backgrounds,” he continued, “but we do it in a way that follows Christ’s example, and we hope people feel that through our actions.”

Originally Published: January 18, 2013
Category: Collegiate
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