Dr. Thomas Dudney headshot.

Lean and mean. This is the phrase Dr. Thomas Dudney (’77) of Alabaster, Alabama uses to describe how his office is organized.

Dudney has been practicing dentistry in Alabaster since 1980. Unlike dental offices that may have several dentists and staff members, he prefers to keep his operation at Alabaster Aesthetic Dentistry to just five people total. Today, the practice sees fewer patients and focuses more on individualized care. “It’s not like the old days when we’d see a ton of patients and have a huge staff,” he said. “Everyone gets along well, and everyone knows our patients. It’s a great situation.”

His minimalism certainly seems to resonate well with everyone, as his patients consistently leave him glowing social media reviews and the majority of his staff members have been with him for at least twenty years. He shared, “We’re a family. It’s a comfortable working environment and patients often compliment us on that.”

Among his patients, he is known for creating beautiful smiles. But among his peers and fellow dentists, he is a widely respected lecturer. Traveling to meetings and conferences around the country to lecture is one of Dudney’s favorite parts of being a dentist. While his office was closed in March and April due to COVID-19, it was missing several lectures that was one of the hardest parts of the shutdown for Dudney. “It was a frustrating time. I had to get out of the house some to keep my mind off things. I played a lot of golf!” he joked.

Now that his practice is open again, Dudney has been able to reschedule the majority of his missed patients. He said that perhaps more than ever, people are excited about going to the dentist. “We had patients come in and tell us that this trip to the dentist was their first ‘outing,’” he shared. “It was definitely new to hear them refer to their appointments as ‘outings.’”

Dudney remains hopeful for a vaccine soon to help restore a sense of normalcy. Amidst all of the new safety precautions and procedures required of Alabama dental offices, and the rapidly changing and constant uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, he is confident that dentistry will fare well. He emphasized, “It is a profession already so dedicated to patient health and stopping the spread of bacteria and viruses.”

Although he has been practicing dentistry for 40 years, Dudney has no intention of slowing down any time soon. “If there’s one thing I learned about myself during this pandemic it’s that I really enjoy this profession,” he said. “I enjoy my patients and the people that I work with and I intend to continue practicing dentistry for a very long time.”