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Tupelo orthodontic practice celebrates 20-year milestone

When Cleveland native Dr. Watt Bishop opened his orthodontic practice in Oxford in 1976, he had two overriding priorities: to provide “state-of-the-art” care and to foster a “people-centered” environment.

Some 29-plus years later, that focus has continued to grow, as the practice — now called Bishop & Gililland Orthodontics — celebrates a 20-year anniversary this month of its Tupelo office, and the recent expansion of its Desoto County location, which opened in 2003. The three offices comprise a busy practice that Bishop said is dedicated to working in tandem with patients.

“I knew in the beginning that I wanted this practice to be special,” Bishop said. “Over the years, we have evolved to what we refer to as ‘working with our clients, not on them.’

Bishop and Tupelo native Dr. Todd Gililland said that they are dedicated to patient interaction and a customer service philosophy that promotes a positive educational approach. For example, Bishop and Gililland use incentives to encourage clients to arrive for appointments on time, for wearing elastics and for brushing as instructed. Clients can redeem the “currency” — called “Bishop Bucks” and “Todd Tokens” — for various prizes.

“We also provide a game room and t-shirts and welcome parents and other family members into the treatment area to participate in treatment,” Bishop noted.

Additionally, each client is assigned a specific treatment coordinator who they see at each visit.

“We like to involve our clients by having them look in the mirror at their mouth with the treatment coordinator, parent and doctor,” Bishop observed. “Together, we make observations and refer to the beginning digital photos, x-rays and treatment plan that can be accessed online at the chair. A decision on how to proceed is made and options are discussed.”

While the practice has grown geographically and has continued to expand its client-centered philosophy, it has most importantly kept current with the latest concepts and technologies in the field. Bishop has continued to study, teach, support and be active in related educational endeavors at all levels of the field throughout his career.

In the early 1980s as his practice developed, Bishop taught in the Department of Orthodontics at the University of Tennessee. Additionally, he was also involved in a five-year National Institute of Health grant with two University of Mississippi professors to study facial and dental development and breathing patterns.

Gililland, who literally grew up in the practice, first as a lab assistant during college, then as a patient and now as an orthodontist, brings an impressive résumé with several honors and awards garnered during his dental and orthodontic training.

Bishop said that treatment advances over the years have led to better results and more comfortable client visits.

“One of the things I have observed in my 29 years of practice is that daily I see people achieve things I did not believe was possible — wearing elastics to correct a bite relationship instead of a headgear (night brace) or in some cases, surgery.

Another example is treating without removing teeth to create a space,” Bishop noted. “We have 15 team members plus Todd and I with more than 200 years of healthcare experience working with people. I am very proud of the way we work together in providing a positive treatment experience for our clients.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Karen Kahler Holliday at mbj@msbusiness.com.

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