Legacy of Care: A longtime patient becomes the new dentist at a Fishers clinic


When Fishers resident Joel Wilcox was in the first grade, he fell and chipped his tooth. His parents took him to My Dental Care to get it fixed. That was his first introduction to the Fishers dental practice.

Fast forward about 20 years, and Wilcox — now Dr. Wilcox — has graduated from the IU School of Dentistry and is joining the practice starting Aug. 1.

Wilcox, 26, said his somewhat traumatic introduction to dentistry so long ago was inspiring, even at a young age.

“They were able to do a lot of work with me, and they really helped me regain my confidence and my smile,” he said. “And that was one of the things that made me want to pursue dentistry in the first place, just seeing the impact that they were able to have on my life personally. It seemed like something that would be rewarding for me going forward.”

Joel Wilcox has been a patient at My Dental Care since he was in first grade. He’ll be joining the practice Aug. 1 as the new dentist. (Photo courtesy of My Dental Care)

Wilcox said Dr. Cynthia Becker and the clinic staff became like family through the years, as he went in for checkups twice annually every year for decades. He said he aways had an inclination for the field of health and medicine, because he wanted to help others. Dentistry in particular appealed to him because of the relationships he could build with patients.

“I tend to see a doctor’s office as a bit more in and out. You have a problem, and you go, and then you don’t get to see that person again,” he said. “Whereas in dentistry, similar to the experience that I had, you get to see people over and over. You get to get to know them, get to know their families, get to see them grow up, and I enjoy talking to people, so that was a big draw for me.”

It didn’t hurt that he had an eager recruiter at My Dental Care. Lou Ann Dale has worked at the practice for 36 years and was Wilcox’s hygienist when he was a patient there.

“As he made that transition (in college) and started talking about dentistry, I became the recruiter, like, ‘I’m telling you that we are going to need a young, awesome dentist at about the time you’re going to be ready to be employed,’” she said. “And what better place for a young man that grew up in the community, if he wanted to stay in the area? The timing was going to be perfect.”

Dale said she was basically recruiting her new boss and wanted to make sure she got a good one for herself and the rest of the staff.

“It’s way more than my job,” she said. “It’s a very family atmosphere in the office that we work in, so having a longtime patient become the newest part of the team is fun. It’s exciting. I’m looking forward to watching him take the lead as the doctor in the office, and I think everybody is very ready to support him as he begins his career and support him in becoming a successful practitioner.”

Becker, the clinic’s owner and primary dentist, has been practicing for 40 years. She turns 65 this year and said following a couple years of practicing solo after her longtime associate left, she’s more than ready for another dentist in the office, especially someone young with lots of energy.

“And he’s just a very mature young man,” she said of Wilcox. “I think that I’m going to have a real good time working with him. He’s been my patient for a long time since he was a very young man. So, I’m glad he decided to be a dentist.”

Becker said she doesn’t have kids of her own, and she didn’t have anyone lined up to take over the practice when she decides to retire. She said it would be great to be able to hand the reins to Wilcox. But it won’t happen right away.

“I like doing what I’m doing,” she said. “I just don’t want to do quite as many days a week of it. We kind of have plans in the works, (if) everything works out perfectly, that Joel would end up taking over the practice. I guess then it’s just a matter of how long does he want to keep me around.”

Becker and Dale noted that Wilcox is going to be the only man working in an office with 11 women. He’ll also be the second-youngest person there. So, it will be an interesting transition for everyone.

“It’s going to be quite the journey,” Becker said. “I’m kind of counting down the days until he comes in so that we can get him going and have him take the helm, so to speak. And I can just be a mentor.”

Wilcox said he, too, is looking forward to starting at My Dental Care. The 2015 Fishers High School graduate completed four years as an undergrad, and then another four in the IU School of Dentistry. He said the graduate studies include direct patient care, so he’ll come in with experience along with the knowledge base.

For more about the clinic, visit mydentalcare.com.

More time for training dogs

Dr. Cynthia Becker is not only enthusiastic about healthy teeth, but she is also enthusiastic about dogs. Chow chows, specifically.

For the past couple of years, she’s been too busy with her practice to spend as much time as she likes training her chow chows, but with the addition of Dr. Joel Wilcox, she hopes to be able to get back into the sports and confirmation arena.

Chow chows are not the easiest breed to train.

“I’ve had this breed since 1990, and it suits me right down to the ground,” she said. “It’s a really interesting breed. I tell everybody (that) If you think of them as a cat wearing dog fur, then you’ve got the breed in a nutshell.”

And cats can be trained. You just have to make it worth their time, she said. It’s the same with chow chows. Becker’s dogs have won numerous titles and have worked as therapy dogs. She said she looks forward to getting back to her favorite hobby.

One of Becker’s dogs is listed on the clinic’s website as a member of the My Dental Care staff. Zinnia does agility, obedience and other dog sports, according to the website.

“(She) loves visiting our patients and the patients of Community East Hospital in Indianapolis,” the website states. “She thoroughly enjoys people of all ages and greets them with tail wags and a smile and she maybe even shakes paws.”


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