Dr. Blake H. Weber loves being a dentist, relieving pain both physical and psychological, and enjoying being part of his patients' lives, many of whom he has treated from their childhoods.
"I am very blessed to be able to enjoy what I do," Dr. Weber said. "I love what I do mostly because of the human contact. I see people from three to 93. A lot of patients I've been seeing since I started practice. These personal contacts are the great part about it.
"I've treated the children and watched the kids grow up. Seen them graduate from college and get married. It's been nice. It's really neat to be part of that and be connected to families."
Blake, who specializes in preventative and family dentistry, as well as cosmetic and implant restoration, has been in practice for 23 years.
His parents may have set him on the road to his profession with a joke. While other kids replied "policeman," "fireman" or "cowboy" to the question of what they wanted to be when they grew up, Blake's answer was a bit different.
"When I was a little kid, my parents thought it was a good laugh to teach me how to say 'orthodontist.' When anyone would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, I'd say 'orthodontist.' I can't remember actually wanting to do anything else (except dentistry)."
John Novelle of Maumelle, owner of two drug and alcohol treatment centers for adolescents, said one thing he likes about Dr. Weber is the warm, welcoming atmosphere of his office.
"It's just kind of a family thing. I walk in, grab a cup of coffee, share pictures," Mr. Novelle said.
"Blake has been my dentist since 1989, something like that. He did my daughter Lauren's teeth when she was two years old. She's 23 now, and my granddaughter, Kristin, her daughter, who is five years old, goes there. She doesn't have a great need for work. We just put her in the chair and make her comfortable with it.
"I would trust no other. I would not go to another dentist."
The base of Blake's practice is family dentistry, but he does a good number of cosmetic procedures, too. This side of his practice is heartwarming, with his biggest reward often being "a big hug around the neck."
Not all patients are that emotive. Blake remembered a teenage boy who had brown and white splotchy teeth replaced with porcelain veneers. Clearly, the teen was pleased when he looked at the result in the mirror, but he said very little.
"I ran into his mother ... who said, 'I can't tell you how much you did for "Billy." Literally, his personality has changed. He interacts with people. And he laughs.' When someone tells me, "it literally changed my personality,' those are really the coolest moments of what I do."
Then there are those folks who are terrified of going to the dentist. Blake said he understands their fears and works to make visits less stressful.
"We handle it two or three different ways. We encourage parents to bring their children in with them, as early as two or three years old, when they get their teeth cleaned. So kids see it's no big deal. The ones that already are (afraid) ... we sit down and visit with them and let them know that their fears are not uncommon, that a lot of people feel like that. Also that dentistry has changed a lot. And that we are going to let them know exactly what we are going to do. And, that they are in complete control. All they have to do is raise their hand, and we'll stop immediately.
"And then, there's nitrous oxide."
The fact that dentistry has changed a lot with advances in technology helps patients in both physical and psychological ways. The digital x-rays Dr. Weber uses greatly reduce exposure to radiation. He gets an image almost immediately and pops it up on a video machine, so that not only he, but his assistants and the patient can see. Also, he utilizes oral cameras that can snap photographs the patients can see. Light-activated bleaching allows for tooth whitening in a couple of hours. And, far better materials than mercury amalgams are available.
In addition to his practice, Blake works with a group of dentists who volunteer their skills for the Harmony Health Clinic on East Roosevelt Road. The non-profit clinic opened in December 2008 offering free medical care, and its free dental clinic opened in March 2009. It serves local residents ages 13 to 64 whose income does not exceed 200% of the Federal poverty level.
Since opening, it has provided $369,731 in free medical services and $517,943 in free dental services. In addition, it has given out $739,238 in free medications and performed $643,021 worth of free lab tests.
"The people there are so incredibly thankful," Blake said. "I am touched by my patients in my office every day. But the patients at the clinic are so thankful, many of whom are homeless and very disadvantaged, and I am touched by that as much as anything."
Story by Bobbi Nesbitt, February 2012 Shoppe Talk.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Tell us about your family. I have two teenage boys, both seniors at Central. Paul is 18, and Hunter is 17. I have a daughter, Jessica, who is 12 in 7th grade and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her mom. I am incredibly blessed with all three of my kids. They are smart and handsome and beautiful, really good kids.
Do you have any pets? I have Spot, a two-year-old rescue dog, and Buddy, who is an 11-week-old goldendoodle.
Goldendoodle? It's a standard poodle and a golden retriever (mix).
What do you like to read? I read a lot of different magazines, and I like spy thrillers. I like John La Carre and James Lee Burke. I like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Robert Ludlum. Tom Clancy.
What's your favorite Little Rock restaurant? Brave New Restaurant is always exceptionally good. Trios is great, and Arthur's is great.
Where were you born? I was born and raised in Little Rock and went to public schools here and graduated from Parkview High School in 1979. I went all the way through Little Rock public schools.
Do you support any charities? I support Harmony Health Clinic and Camp Pfeifer and we do a lot of things through the office. We support different charitable auctions, offering tooth bleaching. We support eight to 10 organizations that way. I am active at the church (Pulaski Heights Christian Church) and on the board.
Is there anything you'd like to learn how to do? I did that about six to eight years ago. I took up flying. I was in my early 40s ... had to retest my brain and learn all that material.
What do you do in your spare time? I love to fly. And most of what I do revolves around relationships, kinships, and kids.
What do you watch on the tube? I'm getting addicted to The Iron Chef and Chopped. It's kind of laughable, because I don't cook that much. To be perfectly honest, I've tried to cut back on my TV watching.
What's your favorite city? Taos, New Mexico, or Pagosa Springs, Colorado. I really love it out west. If we go out of the country, I like literally 'end-of-the-road' places where no one speaks English.
Is there anything you'd like to see Little Rock do differently? I wish that somehow they'd find the way and the ability to complete the bike path. I love to bike ride.
Do you have a favorite movie? I've seen two incredible movies in the past week, Mission Impossible and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
What would you do if you won a large lottery? The first thing, family things ... all my family members and extended family members, pay off their houses. And give a big chunk to the church and create a charitable organization. So, I've got a plan - if anybody wins and wants to share the booty.
Donate to FuRR by buying Avon
Avon fans can help Feline Rescue and Rehome by buying Avon products.
FuRR friend Penny Shore is running an email party to benefit FuRR from
now until February 8.
Anything purchased from her website will benefit the organization.
Click on "shop my eparty," select your items, and, at checkout, enter
FURRAISER in the code box.
If you order $30 or more, shipping is free and will be delivered to your
door in time for Valentine's Day.
For more information, call 661-0956 or visit email@example.com.
Chili with a Kick
The 4th Annual Big Red Ball Charitable Foundation's Chili with a Kick will
be held 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. February 25 at Dickey-Stephens Park.
It will benefit Youth Home. Admission is $5.
The event will include games, a kickball tournament, a chili cook-off,
a jalapeno eating contest, live music, arts and crafts, and fare from
Hot Dog Mike.
Bands include Whale Fire, Booyah! Dad, The Year of The Tiger,
Grayson Shelton & War Chief, Suburban Legend, DNR,
Echo Canyon and Falcon Scott.
For information about participating as a chili cook, a player,
or to reserve booth space, contact Larry Betz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group will perform
7:30 p.m. February 14
and 15 and 1 p.m. and
7:30 p.m. February 16 at
Robinson Center Music Hall.
The group's popular
shows combine comedy,
music and technology
for fantastic performance
pieces. Loud, funny and
visually arresting fun for all ages.
Tickets are $24 - $51. 501-244-8800 or ticketmaster.com.
Enjoy Shen Yun 7 - 9:30 p.m. February 27 & 28 at Robinson
Center Music Hall and discover the glory of classical
China's rich culture.
Shen Yun Performing Arts seeks to revive this majestic tradition
through beautifully choreographed dance, drama and music.
Tickets are $50 - $120. Charge by phone at 800-745-300, or visit ticketmaster.com.
Chamber Singers Event at Governor's Mansion
The Arkansas Chamber Singers will hold "A Valentine Soiree" 6:30 p.m.
February 9 at the Governor's Mansion.
Celebrate Valentine's Day with romantic music in a grand setting
featuring local singer Beau Humble.
Tickets are $65 per person. 377-1121.
Flower & Garden Show
The Arkansas Flower and Garden Show will be held
February 24 - 26 at the Statehouse Convention Center.
Landscape architect and author Chris Olsen will present
Five Seasons of Gardening at 11:45 a.m. February 25
and will be signing copies of his book all weekend.
Show times are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
$8, $6 for seniors, and free for
children ages 12 or younger.
Parking is free at Dickey-Stephens Park.
A round-trip shuttle ride is $1 and
free for kids.
Arkansas Custom Knife Show
The 2012 Arkansas Custom Knife Show will be held February 18 and 19 at Robinson Center.
Admission is $5.
The show will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
ASO's February Lineup
"Valentine's in New York" will be presented by the Arkansas Symphony
Orchestra February 11 and 12 at Robinson Center Music Hall.
Hear beloved hits from the stage with featured soloists.
ASO will present "Ode To Joy" February 25 and 26 at the music hall.
It includes Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 and Schoenberg's A Survivor
from Warsaw. Philip Mann will conduct.
ASO River Rhapsodies will present "Ode to Beethoven" 7 p.m. at the
Clinton Presidential Center.
arkansassymphony.org or 666-1761.
Love Poems Inspired Carmina Burana
The Little Rock Wind Symphony will present Carmina Burana
3 p.m. February 26 at Second Presbyterian Church,
600 Pleasant Valley Drive.
Jamie Lipton will be featured on the euphonium, and
Michael Chance will conduct.
Admission is $10 and $8 for seniors.
Free admission for students. For more information, call
666-0777 or visit lrwindsymphony.org.
Hay Ride at Pinnacle
Enjoy a hay ride followed by a cozy campfire
February 11 at Pinnacle Valley Road, a quarter
mile east of Highway 300. The ride is sponsored
by Pinnacle Mountain State Park.
$10 adults, $5 children ages 6 to 12. 868-5806.