Meet a pair of Rockford dentists who are keeping the family in their small business, and keeping patients happy in the process.
It can be difficult following in your father’s footsteps, even if you were a pretty darned good soccer player at one time.
Just ask Dr. Ryan Moore, a former professional soccer player, who along with his wife, Dr. Lindsay Moore, are partners of Moore Dentistry, 6075 Vantage Place, Rockford.
The Moores’ dentistry practice was started in 1957 by Ryan’s uncle, Dr. Bob Moore. Eleven years later, Ryan’s father, Dr. Tom Moore, joined the family business. The brothers had a long and successful run, before Bob retired in 1990.
Enter Ryan and Lindsay.
The couple met in dental school in 1999. After graduating four years later, they moved back to Ryan’s hometown of Rockford, and joined Tom’s practice. The three dentists worked closely together for seven years, before Tom retired in 2008, leaving the practice in the capable hands of his son and daughter-in-law.
“He was well loved and patients were sad to see him go,” says Lindsay. “He was a very good mentor to us. He was extremely helpful at showing us what worked and what didn’t.”
“My dad was a very good dentist,” says Ryan, who pitched in at his father’s practice during high school by cleaning linens. “Patients often remind us of his grandeur. Since he retired, it’s been business as usual. We felt it was important not to compromise that continuity of care. In the grand scheme of things, it’s been a smooth transition.”
Today, the Moores share an office building with Dr. Kelly Moore, Bob’s son and Ryan’s cousin. Although the two practices are independent of one another, they share resources such as a reception area and lab space.
“We’re all family,” says Lindsay. “That’s important, especially when it comes to business.”
Dentistry is Ryan’s business, but it wasn’t his first love. That would be soccer. Locally, Ryan starred at Boylan High School, where he graduated in 1994, before moving on to college. He attended the University of Maryland, where he juggled a full load, playing soccer for the Terrapins and earning a degree in biology. He also played for the U.S. National U-20 team. “It was difficult to manage the time and demands of playing a sport and concentrating on academics,” he says.
His dental plans were put on hold, when, in 1998, Ryan was selected by the Tampa Bay Mutiny in the third round of the Major League Soccer draft. He played two seasons for the Mutiny, before deciding to hang up his cleats and begin his dental career.
It was far from an easy decision. “It got to the point I needed to either commit to soccer or move on to dental school,” he says. “The plan was always to play soccer for a few years and then move on to school. But the decision became harder with the success I had in soccer.
“I look back at soccer with great nostalgia,” he adds. “I definitely miss the camaraderie, teamwork, and the competition. It’s hard to describe the satisfaction you get from an experience like that. But with the way things have turned out, I don’t have any regrets.”
Lindsay took a different career path. She was raised on a farm in Carthage, Ill., with her father, a grain farmer, and her mother, who is a nurse. Growing up, Lindsay and her three sisters, who all ended up working in the medical field, learned the importance of working hard. There was never a lack of things to do around the farm. “My sisters and I gained a strong work ethic from our hardworking parents,” she says.
After high school, Lindsay attended Southern Illinois University, where she also earned her doctorate from the Southern Illinois School of Dentistry, which happens to be where she met her future husband.
Following dental school, the Moores, who recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary, decided to move to Ryan’s hometown, where they could be part of his father’s established practice and be surrounded by loved ones. “We were fortunate to have the choice to work with family,” Lindsay says.
Operating any business has certain demands, but Ryan and Lindsay relish tackling the challenges together. “I can’t imagine it any other way,” Lindsay says. “Things flow together and our patients – some who started coming here to see Tom 40 years ago – have willingly accepted both of us.”
“We understand each other because we’re in the same practice and same field,” Ryan adds. “If she has a difficult day, it might be the same challenge that I had the day before. We know what each other is going through.”
In a small office like Moore Dentistry, being a dentist means more than fixing a tooth or filling a cavity. “We wear many hats,” Ryan says. “Sometimes I’m the plumber, the electrician and the dentist. Lindsay and I rely heavily on each other. She has an eye for detail, whether it’s regarding the office or patient care. I’m just the heavy lifter. But we make a very good team, and I can’t imagine doing this without her.”
The Moores also credit talented staff members, who handle multiple responsibilities, allowing the dentists to focus on patient care. In fact, two of their employees have 40 years of experience. “We have a dedicated group that is very knowledgeable about what they do,” says Lindsay. “Most importantly, they care about the patients.”
Moore Dentistry offers a variety of treatment options including Invisalign, dental implants, sleep apnea appliances, cosmetic dentistry, kids and laser dentistry. There are other progressive procedures, such as three-dimensional x-rays, and the use of digital intraoral cameras which shows patients what treatment would look like before its completed called Virtual Smile.
Another treatment option is called CEREC which creates ceramic restorations for crowns, onlays, inlays and dental veneers in one appointment. This eliminates the need for impressions and temporaries.
“Dentistry is becoming more about instant gratification,” Lindsay says. “Patients want to get more things accomplished in one visit.”
While treatment options have evolved, insurance benefits have not. “Insurance coverage is the same as it was 30 years ago,” Ryan says. “Dentistry has changed drastically. We have ways to rid patients of dentures; to move teeth without putting wires on them; and to treat everything from cold sores to sleep apnea. But patients still have the same $1,000 deductible that they had in 1980. Our challenge is to help those patients maximize those benefits.”
Still, the practice is bursting at the seams. Ryan, who serves as president of the Winnebago County Dental Society, attributes the growth to adapting to technological changes and sticking to their mission: “We put patients first,” he says. “We treat them like family.”
Speaking of family, Ryan and Lindsay have three children: Sophia 5; Gabriel, 4; and Adalyn, 2. Juggling a thriving dental practice and a young family isn’t easy, but the Moores know it can be done. Ryan’s seen it firsthand. “My dad was always a supportive husband and present father,” he says. “He was always there for me and my sisters.”
Ryan also serves on the Rockford Health Council board, and Lindsay is a member of the Discovery Center board. “It’s our responsibility as business owners to give back to the community,” says Ryan.
As for soccer, Ryan still gets his kicks by coaching his son’s team and playing in an adult league. It’s a long way from the professional ranks, but the competition remains a rush. “It’s sobering to run around with kids half my age,” he says, laughing. “They run a lot faster than I do.”