When Dr. John Weierbach gained a business partner in Dr. Loren Genetti, the rumor mill went into overdrive. “I am not retiring!” he says, in the hopes of putting that widely circulating rumor to rest. “I love what I do – I love helping people. It’s my passion. And now with Dr. Genetti, we can provide double that enthusiasm.” Welcoming Dr. Genetti is allowing him to delve further into something else he is passionate about – teaching the art of dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Weierbach wasn’t actively looking for a partner. He had done just fine practicing solo at Weierbach Prosthodontics for the past 31 years and even managed to add teaching duties at Penn to his schedule. A year ago, however, a tooth fairy in the guise of a dental rep who has a knack for matching dentists with each other, suggested that he meet Dr. Genetti.
The rep was so adamant that Dr. Weierbach agreed to meet her. Nonetheless, he had some reservations. “Seventy percent of partnerships don’t work out,” he explains. Still, he also was aware that he will one day need to pass his practice on to another dentist. “I want that person to be someone who shares my philosophy and whose goals are the same as mine in regards to taking care of patients, the practice and the team. It had to be a good fit,” he emphasizes. From a personal perspective, he also thought it might be “nice to have someone to share the responsibility” of overseeing the practice.
Upon meeting Dr. Genetti, he realized he had found someone special. “We just hit it off,” he says of finding common ground from the start. Both are from the Southeast Pennsylvania area – Dr. Weierbach is from Quakertown, while Dr. Genetti is from Pottstown. “We both have small town values,” she shares. He earned his credentials from Penn, while she earned hers from Temple University and completed her residency at the University of Rochester. “We both came from families that valued education,” she adds, noting that her interests outside the office include music, art and sewing. “Oh, and I enjoy fixing just about anything,” she says. Having family in the area attracted her to Lancaster. “I love it here; it’s so welcoming,” she says.
– Dr. Genetti
Dentistry proved to be a perfect fit for Dr. Genetti from both a personal and professional perspective, as it is fast becoming a woman’s domain. “I’d estimate that it was an even split – 50/50 – between men and women in my specialized classes,” Dr. Genetti notes. Dr. Weierbach reports that at Penn, “70% of the incoming first year dental class is comprised of women.” The stats point to the fact that “some patients just prefer a woman,” says Dr. Weierbach. “Now, we can provide that.”
A year later, Dr. Weierbach views the partnership as a perfect match that is balanced by his experience and her knowledge of the newest technologies. “The patient is the big winner,” he observes. “Dr. Genetti is a very talented clinician.”
Dr. Genetti joined the practice just after it reopened following Covid closures. “We were closed for nine weeks,” Dr. Weierbach explains, noting that according to mandates, he was only allowed to see patients who were in pain or dealing with an infection. When the office did reopen, it was business as usual as far as patient care was concerned. “We always wear gloves and masks and use HEPA filters, so that wasn’t new for us,” he explains. “Being in the medical field, we’re very aware of how viruses are transmitted.”
The new element was a change in logistics, which they relied upon the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and American Dental Association (ADA) for guidance. “From what I’m hearing, dental practices nationwide have done a great job of providing safe environments for their staffs and patients,” he notes.
Team members are an integral part of Dr. Weierbach and Dr. Genetti’s practice. “We call ourselves a work family,” he says. “We really missed not seeing each other when we were closed. We’re so fortunate to have the team we do. They are talented people who want to be a part of something purposeful.” Susan Longchamp, the practice’s administrator, has been with Dr. Weierbach since “day one.” Other team members’ tenures range from 10 to 25 years. “We do things out of the office, too,” he relates. “We go out for dinner together on a monthly basis and once a year we do something special like go to New York to see a Broadway show. We go on a cruise about every four years, too.”
When the practice reopened in June 2020, Dr. Weierbach didn’t know what to expect. He was aware of the fact that people were postponing or canceling regular medical check-ups and tests and was prepared that patients’ hesitancy could impact his practice. To his surprise, his practice only got busier.
“As soon as we reopened, people were here. I think they spent the quarantine re-evaluating so many aspects of their lives that they decided it was time to do something for themselves,” he theorizes. “Apparently they were sitting at home researching procedures and decided to finally act. They were having everything done – implants, veneers, whitening and Botox, which we use to address TMJ [jaw-clenching], headaches and gummy smiles. Now we’re using Botox to complement the dental work we do. We’ve been going through Botox like crazy and are averaging two Zoom whitening procedures per day. Business has increased 35%.”
Whether you are contemplating aesthetic procedures or are making plans to resume regular dental checkups, the doctors agree that taking care of your teeth benefits your overall health. “The mouth is the gateway to your body,” Dr. Genetti points out. “Infection can travel from your mouth throughout your entire body if you are not practicing good dental health. If you have periodontal disease, it can contribute to heart disease and make you seven times more prone to stroke.”
Being conscious of a less-than-perfect smile also has a social impact. “It affects your entire life,” Dr. Weierbach says of having difficulty eating and becoming socially isolated because of your appearance. “Half the battle is getting in the chair,” he says. Dr. Genetti adds that their patient philosophy centers on the premise of “being a judgement-free zone.”
The two maintain that communication and education are keys to developing a plan for lifelong oral health. “We meet with new patients for an hour and 20 minutes in order to establish their medical history and conduct a thorough exam,” Dr. Weierbach explains. “Then we develop a comprehensive plan – the patients know from the beginning what their options are and our plan of action.” Dr. Genetti adds that she recommends that parents begin to schedule dental exams for their children “as soon as the first tooth appears” in order to address problems sooner rather than later.
Giving back has also become a part of practicing dental medicine. For a number of years, Dr. Weierbach has joined other dental professionals in traveling to such underserved areas as Honduras, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Romania and the Dominican Republic to provide dental services. “Being able to serve others has an incredible effect on your heart and soul,” he says. “Seeing how appreciative people are to receive just the basic services brings new meaning to life. Some of us take our team members along and some bring family members. The experience provides a really valuable lesson to kids, who come away with a new appreciation for what they have back home.”
The two agree that the year seems to have zipped by. “It’s been a seamless transition,” Dr. Weierbach says. “It’s been a thrill,” Dr. Genetti concurs. “There’s nothing better than to be able to make a difference in the lives of your patients.”
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