So, why do I do what I do? I love what I do and I never ... When I was younger, I didn't really think that I was going to become a dentist. I never really aspired to that. In fact, I went off to undergraduate and studied engineering. And I was in the computer consulting world for several years but never felt totally fulfilled and wanted to help people more, in a more tangible way.
And I didn't love corporate structure, and so the more I looked into a career change into dentistry and all the things that I could do – it would utilize a lot of my strengths and interests in science and math, and I love the very technical aspects of what we do. I love the very precise work, and I love interacting with people and patients and getting to know them and learn about their story as well. And so, it's a really good fit for me. And so, I'm really glad that I decided midcareer to make a big change, and I went back to dental school. And I got out about 10 years ago now. I've been practicing for 10 years, and I love it.
I attended dental school at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. So, right down the road. Very happy to have attended such a great university. And really, that's where your education starts, but that's not where it ends. So, I've taken hundreds of hours of continuing education since that time in all the various specialties, and including a lot of training in implant dentistry and also in orthodontics and also in same-day dentistry, which is CEREC technology. It allows us to make crowns for patients in a single visit so they don't have to come back a second time.
Without a doubt, the thing that I regard as most rewarding in dentistry is when we give somebody a new smile because they have, for whatever reason, maybe due to injury, or maybe due to decay, or just whatever happened along the way, they have a compromised smile. And in many cases, it's really inhibited their personality in a big way and/or they're embarrassed to smile. They're embarrassed to speak in any public format. Their friends at work think they're angry all the time. People have told me this. They're not angry. They're very happy, but they appear angry because they just are really self-conscious and embarrassed to smile.
And so, that's the most rewarding thing for me and my whole team is to give somebody that new smile and give them that confidence back, and just that "aha" moment when we finally hand them the mirror and they get to see what we've done for them. It's very rewarding.
Dr. Steve Garrett is a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, where he obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, so he is sort of a “Tar Hoo” or a “Wa Heel” when it comes to cheering for his teams. But if it came down to an ACC or NCAA championship match between Virginia and UNC, Dr. Garrett would be wearing Carolina Blue.
Dr. Steve Garrett was born in Oklahoma but grew up in St. Louis before leaving home for college. After graduation and while working in corporate America as a computer consultant, he lived and worked in most major cities in this country. This experience gave him a great appreciation for how wonderful and diverse this amazing country is. It also heightened his appreciation for how good we have it here in North Carolina, his home for over 15 years.
Since graduation, Dr. Garrett has taken hundreds of hours of dental continuing education, further enhancing his knowledge and skill set so that he can bring his patients the best and most comfortable clinical care possible. He is a conservative-minded dentist who believes in pragmatic solutions to patients’ problems. That’s why the focus of his practice is to treat people how we would like to be treated.
Dr. Garrett and his team are committed to staying abreast of the latest advances in dentistry so that they can make treatment better, faster, and more comfortable, with long-lasting results. Having an engineering background and mindset has helped him plan his patients’ restorations carefully and strategically. Dr. Garrett ensures that the finished product not only looks beautiful but will also function well and be durable.
At Carolina Bright Smiles, Dr. Garrett and his team use CEREC technology to create crowns for patients in a single visit. He enjoys showing patients how we’re able to scan their mouth with a tiny camera, then design their restoration on our chairside computer. With this technology, gone are the days of goopy impressions and temporary crowns that often fall off while the patient is waiting for their permanent crown to arrive from the lab.
Dr. Garrett and his team are also highly trained in using our 3-D radiographic CBCT technology, which provides extremely accurate scans for planning implant placement. Dr. Garrett uses these CBCT images to design surgical guides for all our implant cases. As the whole surgery is planned out in advance using scans of the patient’s own anatomy, these guides make implant placement fast, efficient, and very safe.
Dr. Garrett’s favorite thing about dentistry is being able to give people a new smile. He finds no greater reward than handing a patient a mirror and watching them become emotional when they see their transformation. For patients who have suffered with poor dental health, their new look often causes their personality, which had been suppressed out of embarrassment, to come shining through. In this way, changing a smile really does change a life, and it is the most rewarding aspect of Dr. Garrett’s work with his patients.
Dr. Garrett is married with four children. His wife is also a dentist (a prosthodontist), and so there is a good chance that at least one of their kids will follow suit in the profession. When Dr. Steve Garrett is not busy making smiles brighter, he enjoys biking, hiking, skiing, camping, eating lots of Mexican food and sushi (not usually together), and spending time with his family.