Dr. Missy Burton was raised in a small town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, surrounded by her father’s dental practice. People traveled for miles around to get their teeth worked on by Dr. James Taylor, and it was the office’s friendly nature that kept them coming back.

Today Burton models her own downtown Franklin business, Taylor Made Smiles, after the family trade she grew up in. Located just off Main Street, the doctor now hosts her own patients in the ca. 1903 home, historically revitalized to accommodate the dental practice that offers custom cosmetic services and tailored preventative care options.

“I got to see what my dad did with patients, and how much he enjoyed his time at work with them,” she said.  “And being from the small town that I am, I want to project that hospitality I learned at a young age through my office here.”

In addition to several hygienists and staff members, Burton’s husband, Court, is the office and business manager. Taylor Made Smiles is, in the truest sense, a family affair—and that’s exactly how it was intended to be when the Burtons put roots down in Franklin nearly 10 years ago.

“We want this office to be the extension of a family.  It’s all about relationship building,” Dr. Burton said. “It is a very close-knit office. I think people can feel that, because we consider our patients to be family too.

“I mean, we have patients travel to see us from all over the world. We have patients from Singapore, Brazil, Jamaica and France. Most of them have family here, but I think that says something!”

Because Taylor Made Smiles understands that many clients have predisposed hang-ups about visiting the dentist, the internal crew goes to extra lengths to ensure that individuals feel completely at ease in the former historic home.

The front room is decorated to feel like the living room that it once was decades ago, and a kid’s corner includes an X-box and PlayStation, among other games. But among the more defining attractions of the practice are the individual treatment rooms, Dr. Burton says.  In addition to each having a private space, patients are treated to aromatherapy, noise-canceling headsets, and lavender-scented eye pillows and towels.

“Our motto is ‘experience the difference.’ We’re here to break a cycle and change people’s perception of dentistry,” Burton said. “We’re pretty nurturing. If people have had bad experiences in the past, we help them through that.”

Before starting any cosmetic treatment, the Taylor Made Smiles team performs or examines X-rays to screen for active decay, leaking silver fillings, periodontal disease, and oral cancer. In addition to standard cleanings, the practice also offers a wide range of preventative care and restorative dentistry, such as root canal therapies, smile makeovers, implant restoration, oral surgery, laser dentistry, dentures and more.

And, Taylor Made Smiles is also on the forefront of green dentistry, taking a whole-earth approach to tooth car—not only was the office designed to maximize energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint, but the business also uses state-of-the-art dental technology to minimize toxic pollution and water waste.

Burton says that, through her 10-plus years of dentistry, the profession has offered an unexpected outlet for her creative talents.

“It’s been surprising, because it’s allowed me to use my artistic abilities. I can take an ugly, broken down tooth and make it pretty and functional. Or we can take a patient who has never smiled before and totally change their outlook,” she said. “When a family member comes behind and says, ‘they’ve never talked so much!’ then it makes it all worthwhile.”

And though neither Dr. Burton nor her husband is a Williamson County native, the couple says they aren’t going anywhere soon.

“We chose Franklin because we knew my accent needed the south,” she laughs. “The first time we drove through the Square, we knew we’d stay. It’s like Disneyland: business was booming, there are these huge festivals, but it’s still quaint and beautiful.”

For more information, visit their website at www.taylormadesmiles.com.

“Faces of Franklin” is part of a series on merchants and small business owners in downtown Franklin, Tenn. that runs in the Williamson Herald each Thursday.