XENIA — Greg Austria could have chosen several places to begin his dental career.
His wife, Lee Anne, was from Columbus. He also had his eyes on Columbia, S.C, hometown of a former roommate.
But like Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.
“Between going to school here, I went to St. Brigid, the education system, all the families that we knew, the friends that we had … I felt vested that I had to continue being with the people of Xenia,” Austria said. “This is where we were raised.”
Austria is celebrating 30 years in business in Xenia as owner of Brilliant Smiles Complete Dentistry. His practice, which at one time had offices in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas, continues to thrive with locations in Xenia, Beavercreek, and Riverside.
“We’ve been very fortunate and very blessed,” Austria said. “Xenia’s been, not just from a business perspective, practice perspective, very, very good to me and my family. We love the people in Xenia. We’ve built great relationships here.”
It’s especially pleasing for Austria, since he took quite the circuitous route to obtaining a DDS.
“Dentistry was kind of funny,” Austria said. “I didn’t have any intention on being a dentist.”
His father, Clement, was an ENT and Austria wanted to follow his father into the medical side. But as Austria was finishing undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame in the early 1980s, insurance companies were beginning to dictate how much doctors can and can’t charge and what procedures would be covered.
Austria said his father encouraged him to pursue oral surgery upon graduation from ND in 1982.
“He knew I wanted to get involved in the surgical skills of some sort,” Austria said. “I went to dental school really with the intent of being an oral surgeon. I prepared myself for that.”
But after four years of dental school at The Ohio State University (he graduated in 1986), Austria decided he had been in school enough.
“Plus I loved the dentistry side,” he said. “Probably was pretty good with my skills and also knowing I can do a lot of the oral surgery skills as a general dentist.”
Interestingly enough, dental insurance is beginning to go the way of medical insurance. And corporate dentistry and dental service organizations — which conduct the business activities of a dental practice — are becoming a challenge for Austria and other locally owned and operated practices.
But he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’m very happy,” Austria said. “For the life I was able to provide for my wife and kids, and the friendships that I have here and most importantly the patients … it’s very gratifying. I love what I’m doing. I love our patients.”
Austria also leads a gratifying life outside the dental office.
He and and his siblings — nine brothers and sisters all together — were raised on giving back to the community. Austria continues that legacy today.
He has taken over the annual senior citizens Christmas meal his father started around 40 years ago and currently serves as the host and sponsor.
That’s just the beginning.
Austria is the president of the board of directors at Walnut Grove Country Club on the Riverside-Beavercreek border and is involved with St. Brigid athletics and church fundraising. He was on the board of the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce and is also involved with St. Vincent de Paul.
And Sept. 28 Austria made his musical debut, performing a lip sync to help raise money for Michael’s House in Fairborn.
“I do tend to say yes too much,” Austria said. “I’ve gotten better on that.”
He is also the president of the Dayton Dental Society, which is a testament to his sanding within the dental community.
“Dr. Austria is one of the genuinely nicest guys I’ve ever known,” said Ohio Dental Association President Dr. Michael Halasz. “He never has a bad thing to say about anyone. He cares about his patients and as the current president of the Dayton Dental Society, he cares about the future of dentistry.”
Even though for a while dentistry wasn’t going to be Austria’s future.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.