Good care is a matter of doctors taking the time to listen to their patients; it’s also what lies at the foundation of Ridgway’s newest dental practice. Don Swartz, D.D.S, P.C., who has been practicing dentistry in Ridgway for three years, recently added partner David Lurye, D.D.S., who began seeing patients in the shared dental office at 195A S. Lena Street in June.
“What I hope to provide is very high quality restorative dentistry, at a slowed-down pace,” said Lurye of his new Ridgway practice.
Lurye is no stranger to the region: He lived in Telluride and Durango in the mid 1980s, and practiced dentistry with the Indian Health Service in Towaoc, Colo., and Dulce, N.M. A motorcycle trip in 2007 brought him back to the area, and when his partner Patricia fell ill while the couple was passing through Ridgway, it gave Lurye an extra few days to re-familiarize himself with the community. By the end of their stopover, Luryre had purchased a home here.
Swartz, meanwhile, had left his practice in the Denver area in 2006 and relocated to the Ridgway area, opening his dental practice in downtown Ridgway soon thereafter. When he caught wind of Lurye’s home purchase in the area the following year, he approached the fellow dentist with a proposition.
“It was always my plan to have [another dentist] share this space. At this stage in my career it’s a matter of achieving balance in my life and still making a difference in peoples’ health,” Swartz said. He and Lurye knew each other from when they both served on the Colorado Academy of General Dentistry board of directors nearly twenty years ago.
“I thought I would eventually retire into oblivion here, and just hang out and play,” Lurye said. “But I was roped in. It was a good roping-in though.”
The Swartz-Lurye dentistry partnership was born. Lurye continues to practice part-time at the private practice he opened and has owned for over two decades in Winter Park, Colo.
What lured Lurye into transitioning his dentistry practice to Ridgway was the foundation that had already been established by Swartz, he said.
“This is a very relaxed, low-volume, old fashioned atmosphere,” he said, noting that the “old-fashioned” description is an effect of the low-volume dental office model that Swartz subscribes to.
“I see us filling a need for people who want to have a dentist with a lot of experience but who also want their dentist to really take the time for their care,” Lurye said.
Experience is an arena in which these two dentists aren’t lacking. Swartz practiced adult-centered dentistry in Denver and Greenwood Village, Colo., for 36 years prior to opening his Ridgway office. During that time, he was a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute of Advanced Dental Education in Florida for 20 years; he continues to sit on that organization’s Consulting Faculty. He is a fellow of both the Academy of General Dentistry and the International College of Dentists. He is also a past president of the Colorado Academy of General Dentistry.
Swartz was selected by his peers to be included in the first edition of “The Best Dentists in America” 2004-05; He was also listed in 5280 Magazine as one of Denver’s Top Dentists in 2004.
Lurye, meanwhile, boasts an equally impressive professional resume. He holds the position of Clinical Associate Professor in the Restorative Dentistry department at the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, where he has volunteered as a teacher once a week for the last six years. He is a Fellow in numerous honorary dental groups including the Academy of Dentistry International, International College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy and the American College of Dentists.
Currently, he is involved in an international dental research project headquartered in San Diego. He also serves as President of the Colorado Dental Association, a 3,000-plus-member organization representing over 80 percent of the state’s dentists. Through his political involvement with the CDA, he recently chaired a national committee on Access to Care for the American Dental Association. He was also recognized by the Grand County Rural Health Network recently for helping initiate and promote programs aimed at providing dental care for at-risk children in Grand County.
Swartz and Lurye both agree that while the practice of dentistry is their professional passion, they are also committed to looking beyond a patient’s mouth to examine the bigger picture of health and dentistry. “Health-centeredness is high on the list” of what’s important to Swartz as a dentist, he said. “A lot of focus in dentistry in the last years has been the relationship between a healthy mouth and the health of the rest of the body. Hopefully we can make a difference in that sense, rather than being just tooth carpenters.”
Recognizing that a person’s dental health exists synergistically with the rest of their body’s health lies behind Swartz and Lurye’s comprehensive care philosophy; examinations usually take an hour, during which time the dentists want to get to know their patient as a person, while identifying all possible issues that could keep her from having a healthy mouth for a lifetime. “From this point we can agree on additional data that is indicated to develop a lifetime plan,” which can span a many-year timeline, Swartz said. “This is what Dave and I mean by comprehensive care.”
Lurye adds that the political side of dentistry and medicine ranks high in significance for him, and is the impetus behind his current role as President of the CDA. “There are all kinds of pressures in health care right now to reduce costs,” he said. “It’s not about going over what’s necessary, but it’s also not about doing just the minimum. It’s about doing what a dentist would want in his mouth.”
Lurye currently lives part-time in Winter Park with his partner Patricia.
Swartz received his degree in dentistry from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 1969. He and wife Sally have two sons and five grandchildren.
To reach the dentists for an appointment, call 626-3303. The office is open Monday through Thursday, with typical hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.