Dental Teams that Work: BlueStem Dental
Story by Jeanie Edgmon
The concept of building the right team is not new. While humans have always joined forces with one another to achieve shared goals, scientific research is zeroing in on the methods and processes that make those collaborations more efficient and successful, and their vast implications for things such as dental care.
It is a concept the team at BlueStem Dental, Overland Park’s top-rated dental team, has embraced wholeheartedly, says Dr. Rouba Maluf, the newest member of the BlueStem team.
Born and raised in Lebanon, Dr. Maluf went to Creighton University (Omaha, NE) for her bachelor’s degree, Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) for dental school, and did her one-year General Practice Residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.
“I just moved to Kansas City and wanted to find a practice that felt like an extended family. When I interviewed, they put me at ease immediately. It felt comfortable and it was clear it was a practice that prioritized communication and teamwork. That truly appealed to me,” Dr. Maluf shared.
Dr. Maluf’s first impressions were no mistake.
Having founded the practice in 2003, Dr. Stephen Haake wanted to build a practice where the team was closely aligned, relying on communication, trust, and collaboration to provide greater service to the patients. It is not something he has left to chance.
Dr. Haake was born and raised in the Overland Park area. After graduating from Rockhurst High School, he received his B.S. degree in Biology from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He graduated from the Creighton University Boyne School of Dental Science, where he received the 2001 American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry Award for Excellence.
It is Dr. Haake’s firm belief that building a successful team involves bringing the right people together, while teamwork allows those people to use their different abilities, values, and beliefs to accomplish something they may not be able to do alone. Unity is the foundation for effective teamwork, leading to better patient outcomes and happier, healthier teams.
At its best, teamwork accomplishes complex tasks at greater speeds, reaches new benchmarks, and expands professional skill sets. By incorporating teamwork, he feels dynamic and sustained change can occur.
“What makes us truly different is the team and how well we work together and fully appreciate the value each member brings to the team,” Dr. Maluf concurs.
As an example, Dr. Maluf enthusiastically discussed how fortunate she is to have her highly skilled assistant, Savannah, by her side.
“Patient relationships come first here, but that can’t happen without everyone playing a role. Savannah sees the patient first and sets the tone from the beginning as if greeting an old friend. She also sees patients last, walking them to the exit with a smile. Because she invests so much time and compassion, the patients feel confident in our care and the time we invest,” she explained. That firm foundation allows the team to work optimally.
“Savannah is an amazing assistant, and I could not do my job without her. We work so closely that she and I can anticipate what the other is thinking. This makes spending more time communicating with patients and listening to their needs and expectations.”
Dr. Maluf, who was recently engaged, calls the BlueStem team her extended family. “Honestly, I spend more time with the team than I do with my fiancé” she joked.
Patient First Philosophy
For the team at BlueStem Dental, every day is about creating positive dental experiences by putting patients first using cutting-edge techniques and technologies and offering a wide selection of services.
“Our goal is to listen to each patient and ensure their preferences, needs, and goals are respected. We want each patient to feel they have been cared for with skill, honesty, and integrity,” explained Dr. Christopher Heye.
Dr. Heye was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, and attended Missouri State University. He then went on to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry to earn his Doctorate of Dental Surgery where he graduated top of his class in the Restorative and Oral Surgery clinics. “We want this to be a place where people of all ages can come, receive care, have questions answered, and walk away with a smile,” he added.
One of the most important aspects of Dr. Maluf’s role at BlueStem Dental is patient education. “As a society, we deprioritize the importance of dental health. It is not just an aesthetic thing, people just do not consider how teeth and gum health impact their general health,” she began. “Poor dental care can, of course, lead to missing teeth. But then what? Once the patient has missing teeth, it sets them on a difficult trajectory. One missing tooth can lead to more problems and contribute to a host of other health problems. Then, replacement becomes important. Dental implants are the first and best option. Even more affordable would-be dentures. Dentures are an excellent option with limitations. Restrictions a patient may have never considered. If they enjoy apples or corn on the cob, patients may not get the same enjoyment. Or if they love chocolate, a plate may disrupt being able to fully taste it. Those are important aspects of our daily life that we take for granted.”
Every appointment, every treatment is about investing time into the patient’s life to develop a trusted relationship and become a partner in their dental journey. The team stresses the importance of educating the patient and helping them consider all aspects of dental health and how it impacts their life.
“We strive to be a place to go for dental work where patients are confident we care and will always recommend what is best for them,” added Dr Haake.
Modern Dentistry Streamlines Care
The last few years have brought many significant breakthroughs to dentistry, such as 3D printing, digital impressions, laser dentistry, intraoral cameras, and AI. All of these advances are making it possible to provide more efficient, accurate, and less invasive dental care.
“I think it is amazing the advancements that have been made since I graduated in 2001. Advances in materials and how we treat help to increase the longevity of the work we do and be able to do those procedures faster and more comfortably for the patients,” reflected Dr Haake.
“Just having the ability alone to do digital impressions changes so much,” asserts Dr. Maluf.
Until recently, patients had to endure a gooey tray kept in their mouth until set to get an impression. Many patients were intolerant of the process causing the results to be less than optimal, or worse, force a do-over.
“Digital impressions produce highly detailed images of the teeth and gums. These images can be used to create custom dental restorations with the highest degree of accuracy. They are more comfortable for patients than traditional impressions, reducing the need for adjustments and remakes. This makes the process faster and much more enjoyable.”
She continues, “Another benefit is that implementing techniques and technologies that are faster and better tolerated removes many of the barriers many patients have in getting regular dental care, such as common dental fears or the time it takes away from things such as work schedules.”
Always Looking to the Future
Working closely together allows the team to navigate a field that is growing, changing, and advancing rapidly.
“The field is becoming so multi-faceted and complex that we need to recognize that it is impossible for one person to have all the skills or knowledge necessary to accomplish all we’d like to accomplish. However, working in the context of a team stretches our knowledge and challenges us to learn more every day. That’s what makes this field so interesting and exciting— every day is different and holds such unique possibilities,” Dr. Maluf concludes.
It is that spirit that defines the BlueStem Dental team and drives its mission.
schedule an appointment, call (913) 381-6644 or visit them at https://www.overlandparkks.dentist/