Innovations Spur the Evolution of Family Dentistry

02 Oct 2022

A veteran-owned dental practice expands to embrace the growth of the Sandhills

By Elizabeth Sugg  »  Photos by G. Frank Hart

Family dentistry still has its roots in a good bedside manner. Serving toddlers, growing children and adults in a range of ages requires a fluency in making patients comfortable. It’s quite a juggling act to be as personable as you are expert at dentistry, the profession trained in the prevention and treatment of oral disease, yet Dr. James Medwick of Pinehurst Dental has achieved just that.

Drive out Highway 5 from Pinehurst towards the post office and on the right is a state-of-the-art building Medwick and his wife Michelle designed for his busy practice with growth and comfort in mind. High ceilings and sunlight spill into the friendly waiting room and reception area, and wide hallways loop around to each patient room, all of which are on outside walls so each one has a window. Glass-fronted barn doors can be closed to offer privacy, their openness keeping the patient areas light and open, these touches all with the patient in mind. An enjoyment and embrace of the latest technology also are characteristic of this growing dental practice with Medwick being a part-time faculty member at East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine. Pinehurst Dental also partners with Central Carolina Community College as a teaching facility for dental assisting students as well.

Medwick served in the US Army as a Medical Service Corps Officer with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He deployed on two separate occasions in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom before returning home to attend dental school. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2007. Upon graduation, Dr. Medwick recommissioned back into the Army to serve as a Dental Officer. He attended the Comprehensive Dental Program, a 2-year Advanced General Dentistry Residency at Fort Bragg where he served as Chief Resident and graduated with distinction.

The small-town atmosphere of Moore County is why Medwick chose to open his practice in Pinehurst. “It always was what I wanted growing up. I love the fact every time I go out and about, I run into patients. It’s a true pleasure serving this community, and I can’t imagine having it any other way,” he shares.

And the community has found him, enough so that he just hired a recent East Carolina Dental school graduate, Dr. James Mead, to assist with the family practice that provides a number of patient-centered services including not only teeth cleaning but cosmetic dentistry, oral cancer screening, non-surgical periodontal therapy, root canal, crowns, bridges and more. The lure for Mead was not just the respect for Medwick who he became acquainted with at East Carolina and the excitement of being invited to join a budding practice, the young dentist admits with a smile, that the cherry on top was moving to an area where he could pursue his love of golf.  

“Growing up in Wake Forest, NC, I spent a lot of time in Pinehurst as a junior golfer and have a deep connection with the area,” says Mead, “I am fortunate to share this hobby with many of our patients!”

The following is an introductory Q & A with Mead:

What experience are you excited to bring to Pinehurst Dental?

I think my education experience can enhance the practice and services provided. Prior to dental school I worked for three years as a dental assistant, and during that time, I was a core member of the N.C. Missions of Mercy, an organization through the North Carolina Dental Society that offers free dental care to the underserved populations of North Carolina.

My dental school training locally at East Carolina University also prepared me for the rigors of private practice. ECU is unique in many ways. Firstly, it does not have specialty programs, but focuses on training well-rounded comprehensive dentists. This allows the students to experience more complex cases that they would otherwise not see. ECU, outside the main hub in Greenville, has eight community service-learning centers around the state, and that makes ECU a unique dental school in the country.

What is a niche the practice fulfills in the area?

I feel like Dr. Medwick takes his gift for education and applies it to the Pinehurst Dental mentality. He has tons of experience and has a gift for teaching students and residents. We have a unique comprehensive dental practice with a focus on patient education. Our goal is to educate patients on their dental health and provide them with a variety of treatment options to best suit their needs.

What is something you want people to know about the quality of services at Pinehurst Dental?

We are a comprehensive dental practice that offers a wide variety of services for our patients. If there is a certain service that we are unable to provide, we have a well-established relationship with dental specialists in the area to give our patients the best care possible.  

Dr. Medwick has unbelievable clinical skills and judgement shaped by his military background and years of private practice experience. I couldn’t ask for a better mentor to guide me in the start of my career. Its great having someone right down the hall to discuss various topics in dentistry to help improve our patient experience and grow the practice as a team.  

Pinehurst Dental

25 Trotter Hills Cir, Pinehurst

910-295-9700  |

More Sandhills Dental Practices with Their Own Special Niche

Sandhills Weekend Dental

200 Westgate Drive, Suite C, West End

910-687-4423  |

A native North Carolinian, Dr. Terry Anne Sams spent summers with her grandparents in Rockingham so the Sandhills has always been a part of her life. A graduate of Wake Forest University, she got her dental degree at the Medical College of Georgia Dental School in 2004 with a doctorate in dental medicine. In addition to family dentistry and cleanings, Sams’ services include crowns, bridgework, root canal treatment, porcelain veneers, teeth whitening and much more. Best of all, Weekend Dental’s real niche is that the West End practice has Saturday hours from 9am to 4pm, perfect for busy families.

Southern Pines Family Dental

Dr. Paul E Gauthier

655 SW Broad St, Southern Pines

910-692-6500  |

This family dentistry has a personable doctor at its helm. Dr. Paul Gauthier has never met a stranger, and that ease and his patient care has attracted a devoted patient following through the years. A native of Washington, D.C., he is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. Joining him in practice is Dr. Chris Cockrell, also a graduate of the Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, and who has extensive training in cosmetic and laser dentistry, sleep apnea, and snoring treatment. In addition to family dentistry, their niche is combining preventive care with cosmetic dentistry and other services.

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