It was 2008 and Ben Geisler, a recent graduate of Boston College, was unsure about his next move.
So, while living at home with his parents in Cortlandt Manor, he spent a year as a dental assistant at Open Door’s nearby Ossining site.
It proved to be time well spent. Except for the years back in Boston to attend dental school at Boston University, he never left Open Door (which included spending summer vacations while in dental school and doing a one-year residency there). Today, Dr. Geisler serves as dental site director in Ossining, where he practices general dentistry and oversees the patient care provided by a team of five dentists. He balances this with one day a week at the Brewster site teaching dental residents.
That post-graduate year at Open Door, he says, solidified his decision both to become a dentist and to spend his career in community health. While many of his fellow dental school graduates chose the greater financial rewards of private practice, Dr. Geisler saw the critical need for quality dental care among those less fortunate. And working in a federally qualified health care center, he found, gave him an enormous sense of personal satisfaction.
“Private practice was not the life for me,” he says. “I’ve found the people in community health care to be more appreciative. They are very thankful. While the focus at Open Door is on preventive care, there are also more emergency visits because those without insurance are more likely to avoid dental visits until they have pain. We see many more acute cases than you would see in a private office.”
Dr. Geisler spent several years at Open Door working on a state-of-the-art mobile dental van that was parked outside school-based health centers at schools in Ossining and Port Chester. He believes that the van, which was forced to cease operations during the pandemic, will resume service shortly.
“The kids enjoyed visiting the dentist while at school,” he says. “The fear factor wasn’t there when they saw the dentist with their friends, rather than their parents.”
Plans call for an expansion of dental services at Open Door in Ossining, which presently has eight dental chairs. This will further provide the much-needed dental care that he says is so essential to an underserved community.
“I love the day-to-day interactions,” says Dr. Geisler. “We’re highly efficient and we work together very well as a family. I feel we really make a difference.”