If you happen to see Dr. Paul Macdonald on his day off, you might never suspect he is a talented dentist, especially if he's seated on his tractor, plowing up the 260 acres of land adjacent to his house.
"I love farming. I became a dentist so I could afford to farm," the good doctor quipped as sat on his tractor last week, during an interview for Medically Speaking.
For the past twenty years, Dr. Paul Macdonald, D.D.S. has been treating patients in Blanding with the best in dental care, but starting January 1, the level of care offered at Dr. Macdonald's office will be even better than before. Starting in January, Dr. Macdonald will become the newest member of the Utah Navajo Health System family of providers. Macdonald said he feels good about the move for himself and his staff, but noted that the change will be more of a benefit for his patients.
"I was at a point to where my practice was doing well and I wanted to grow to the next level, and increase our patient base and things I wanted to try and accomplish," he explained. "I think this is the direction to go if it will help me accomplish the things I want to do, and increase the level of care I can offer my patients. I'm not sure I could do that on my own."
According to Macdonald, he will still be the only dentist seeing patients in his office on Main Street, in Blanding. However, if he is gone, or something happens and he can't be in the office, another UNHS dentist might fill in for him to make sure the office remains open. Dr. Macdonald's staff will remain the same, and patients shouldn't see any difference in the way the office operates, except for the way billing is handled. Billing will be handled by UNHS, but UNHS will still accept his patients' insurance. He said UNHS is working hard to ensure a seamless and easy transition for his patients.
"I want my patients to understand that I will still be their dentist. Nothing is going to change in that regard," Macdonald said. "Just like people continue to use Dr. Jones or Michele Lyman. They both started working with UNHS several years ago, and their patients still see them. If my patients didn't know this change was being made, they'd never know it by the way our office will continue to work."
With his affiliation with UNHS, Dr. Macdonald joins a staff of dedicated professionals, who work at the various UNHS Community Health Centers. They work at Montezuma Creek, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain. This staff, along with Dr. Macdonald, can perform nearly all the procedures done by an oral surgeon, even though they are not oral surgeons themselves. Dr. Brian Olsen, D.D.S./Orthodontist who directs the Dental Department for UNHS, said the dentists who work for UNHS do not refer their patients to oral surgeons except in the case of a broken jaw, or some other very serious condition.
Dr. Macdonald said he learned a lot about his trade from Dr. Bullock, who used to come to Blanding and perform oral surgery many years ago. He said he learned a lot from Dr. Bullock, including procedures like implants and bone grafting.
Dr. Macdonald says he still loves being a dentist after twenty years. He said he enjoys working with a great staff (Kathy Patterson, Kristy Black, Michelle Palmer and his wife Lisa), and he enjoys his patients and all the good people of this area he's had the privilege of serving for the past two decades.
"It's really been a tremendous experience. It's been a great twenty years and I hope to have twenty more just like it," he said.
But on his days off, you're still likely to see him on his tractor out in the field; doing the thing he loves best… farming
This is the way to live...Dr, Paul Macdonald, D.D.S. is as at home on his tractor as he is treating his dental patients at his office on Main Street, in Blanding. Dr. Macdonald will join the dental staff at Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. in January. And if there's any plowing that needs done, we know who to call. We welcome Dr. Macdonald to the UNHS family. Staff photo