A resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Lavigne owns her own practice, Courtney Lavigne Dentistry, in Wayland, Massachusetts where she focuses her practice on complex restorative and cosmetic dentistry.
Hard to believe today, but this successful 2017 Incisal Edge 40
Under 40 honoree once considered leaving the profession after earning her dental degree.
“Three years out of school I was running myself ragged with single tooth dentistry. I ran multiple operatories with multiple assistants and I was doing very rudimentary dentistry over and over again. It wasn’t fulfilling, and it wasn’t what I have envisioned in patient care.”
What kept her in dentistry? She decided to make a change.
“As a last resort, I spent a lot of money starting the Spear Education curriculum, beginning with the Facially Generated Treatment Planning Workshop. I realized it wasn’t dentistry that I hated, it was the way I was doing dentistry,” she says.
Dr. Lavigne shared her experience staring her fee-for-service practice from scratch in 2014.
“After finding my happy place in dentistry, I realized I wanted to impact others’ ability to find everything that hoped for in the field. I started lecturing both about my experiences as a dentist (the good and the bad) as well as on clinical dentistry. I started by writing articles for Spear and in peer-reviewed journals, and this led to speaking in front of first small, now larger groups.”
On connecting, dentist-to-dentist
She continues “While clinical dentistry is rewarding, it’s an entirely different experience being able to connect dentist-to-dentist. I absolutely love helping others in the same way my mentors continue to help me.”
A word of advice
Dr. Lavigne, who graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine at the top of her class, shares what she wishes someone had told her then.
“I wish I had known that every office is unique, and you don’t know it all. I came out of school thinking I was a really great dentist because I did well amongst my peers.”
“I’ve learned over the years to respect what you don’t know, and to always remain open to new concepts and ideas. If the first office you find isn’t mentoring you to become a better dentist, find one that is. Always remember that you don’t know what you don’t know!”
Always eager to learn more, Dr. Lavigne completes between 100-150 continuing education hours each year.
Aside from hobbies of snow skiing, water skiing, and interior design, Dr. Lavigne enjoys taking time to author peer-reviewed articles.
“I always learn in the process. Sometimes there will be a question I’ve been meaning to look up, and I’ve had it on the back burner for a few months. Writing allows me to take one of those questions I have, something that makes me curious, and delve deep into it so that I can not only wrap my head around it myself, but understand it in a way that I can shed light on it for others. It keeps me motivated,” she says.
Last year, Dr. Lavigne took the stage with Dr. Frank Spear, one of dentistry’s most respected clinicians and educators. Together, they presented a lecture at the Spear Faculty Club Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona. She describes the experience as a dream come true.
“Frank has been a mentor to me since my first days at Spear, and there are few people who have had such an impact on the profession as a whole. I never thought in just four short years of taking an intense amount of continuing education that Frank would think I had a story worth sharing with him. It was humbling and exhilarating.”
This year, Dr. Lavigne will take the stage at the Spear Faculty Club Summit again, this time solo.
“I’ll be presenting on implementation strategies for comprehensive care in the everyday office. One of the biggest struggles I hear from other practitioners is how to get home and start putting to work all of the new knowledge you gain from continuing education. Your team isn’t trained on it, your schedule is fully booked, and you don’t own all of the ‘stuff’ you need.”
Dr. Lavigne hopes her lecture will help others simplify the process of doing the dentistry for which they’ve trained and dreamed.