Best Smile Dental

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | January 23rd, 2020
Dr. Anbec DeShield-Mayes (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Dr. Anbec DeShield-Mayes (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

At some point, most children are posed with the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” And most children change their minds weekly, sometimes daily. Dr. Anbec DeShield-Mayes knew she wanted to be in the healthcare field, but she wasn’t sure which specialty she wanted to pursue.
She loves children, so during college at UNC-Chapel Hill, she heavily leaned towards pediatrics, until she was introduced to dentistry through an allied health field course. That same year she shadowed an Oral Surgeon faculty member and when she returned to Greensboro, she also shadowed another dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry. To her surprise, she loved it!

“It melded healthcare with working with children and also art, which is another love of mine. I got everything all in one,” says Dr. DeShield-Mayes.
In 2005 she graduated from Chapel Hill with degrees in Chemistry and African Studies. In the fall of that same year, she began dental school at Chapel Hill and graduated from the school of dentistry in 2009 with a doctorate of dental surgery. Upon graduation from dental school, she worked under a mentor in Greensboro with plans to take over the practice after his retirement. She also commuted to a second practice on the weekends in Southern Pines and Troy, NC. As her one year anniversary neared at the Greensboro practice, the owner decided he wasn’t ready to retire. That meant the new dentist had some decisions to make.
She thought long and hard about her next move and believed that Southern Pines was where she needed to be. In 2010, she bought a house and relocated.
FirstHealth Dental Care Centers, a non-profit practice that provides dental care to underserved children, was her home for the next seven years. “I planned to live there for awhile and even obtained my master’s degree in public administration from UNC-Pembroke, in hopes of one day helping with management of the program, but then plans changed,” she explained.

Dr. DeShield-Mayes couldn’t abandon her desire to be an entrepreneur. She wanted her own practice. But she didn’t want to just serve children, she wanted to treat the entire family. “I remember in dental school I provided an older patient with dentures. On the day of his post-op visit he dressed up, got his hair cut. He even shaved his beard because he wanted people to see his teeth.” At that moment, she knew this is why this profession chose her. She remembers it as one of her best days.

The remembrance of this feeling caused the Greensboro natives wheels to start turning. She was ready to put her plans in motion and open her own practice. She understood it would be difficult, considering she was working full time at FirstHealth, but was determined to accomplish this goal.

On a drive home to Greensboro one weekend, DeShield-Mayes happened to pass by a new-construction building. Her first thought was, ‘This is a perfect location for a dental practice.’ She mentioned her idea to a classmate and the classmate referred her to a consultant who could assist her with the project. As the months passed, DeShield-Mayes decreased her workload in Southern Pines and increased them in Greensboro. In September, 2015, she opened Best Smile Dental with office hours only on Friday and Saturday. For the next year, she gradually added days to the schedule until the practice was open five days a week. Even when she was faced with a health crisis in 2016, her colleagues rallied around and worked in her practice while she recovered.

“This is how God works. I had classmates that helped me and worked in my place. Dr. Scott Vines, who has a practice in Reidsville, would come on his days off and work. They all filled in for me so my practice didn’t have to close,” DeShield-Mayes explains. Opening her practice and keeping it afloat was a mountain she learned to climb. After all, there are no other dentists in her family to ask for advice. She is a first generation American and the first entrepreneur.

The dedicated dentist was born and raised in NC, but her roots run deep in Liberia, West Africa, as both parents were forced to flee the country after the 1980 coup. Her father was a former professor at N.C. A&T before his passing in 1997 and her mother is a retired elementary school teacher. Both clearly valued education and passed that ideal on to their daughter. Prior to earning her master’s degree, she visited Liberia on a missions trip in 2010, with a group that taught medical assisting students how to extract simple teeth. On the cusp of the Ebola outbreak of 2014, she returned with her mother and distributed personal hygiene products to patients in the local hospitals.

“In the countries I’ve visited, people have walked miles and miles to receive the services that we offer. It’s not just the cosmetics of it, but your teeth can tell you a lot about your overall health. “Educating people makes you feel like you are actually being of service to them, long after they leave your office.”

Now DeShield-Mayes, the newly elected NC Dental Society 3rd District President, is a newlywed that is still growing her business with the support and creativity of her husband, Kendrick Mayes, who acts as her Marketing and Community Engagement Director. Her unwavering staff also help make long days in the office more bearable.

In January, Dr. DeShield-Mayes will embark on a new venture by offering her patients FirstFit, a technique that provides veneers and bridges in half the time. In March she will participate in a free dental clinic, in conjunction with NC Dental Society Foundation MOM (Missions of Mercy) organization, at High Point First Baptist Church, for adults in need of cleanings, extractions, fillings, and other procedures. Visit https://www.ncdental.org/for-the-public/ncdsf-mom for more information.

Serving her community is what Dr. Anbec DeShield-Mayes does best. She regularly volunteers her time, resources, and expertise so that others can live a healthier, more purposeful life. And she takes pride knowing that she has made a difference, no matter the size.

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