The Buckenheimer & Bulnes dentistry practice has thrived in South Tampa for 33 years, and has benefited from the expertise of Dr. Christopher Bulnes for nearly 13 of those years. This practice has thrived over the years due to simple word of mouth; the staff at this office believes that happy patients will tell family and friends about how much their dentists care about them, and they have been proven right. Dr. Bulnes talked to me recently about his practice and what sets him apart from other dentists in Tampa Bay.
Where did you go to school?
I went to school at the Southern Illinois University School of Dentistry in Alton, Illinois, just outside St. Louis, Missouri.
Tell me about your staff.
There’s Teresa, who is my office manager; she takes on the role of overseeing day-to-day operations, like scheduling, front desk duties, and everything that happens with insurance and cash payments. She’s really the right-hand person who helps bridge the gap between myself and the rest of the staff. We have two dental hygienists, Diana and Jenna, and they’re the ones that patients see for their cleanings. Recently they did become trained in anesthesia, so they can now administer local anesthetic to patients and it allows them to branch out and learn new tasks apart from hygienist duties. We also have three assistants, Karen, Janelle and Kaitlin, who are cross-trained, so they can sit next to the doctors and assist them in their work and also work the front desk. Their versatility helps us so we never feel like we’re in danger of being understaffed.
There is another doctor here who is my partner and was a former owner; his name is Dr. Terry Buckenheimer. He works out of the office about ten days a month and he spends the rest of his time performing duties related to him holding the office of president of the Florida Dental Association.
Do you take continuing education?
Yes. We are told to take 30 hours of continuing education every two years, and I find that to be too little. On average I take between 80 and 100 hours of continuing education every two years.
How long have you been practicing, and how long have you been in this practice?
I graduated dental school in 2000, and I was originally brought on as an associate at this practice in July of 2001, so I’ve been working here going on 13 years. Dr. Buckenheimer offered me the associate job, we shook hands, and it led to me becoming partner in 2004 and I’ve been here ever since. I found a home here.
What is new in your office?
We’re in the process of going completely paperless. We’ve started doing digital X-rays. We have a new service that allows us to confirm appointments for patients via text message or via e-mail. There are no more mailings or phone calls and we found that our patients are very appreciative of that. Also, typically after an appointment, we send out a text message that allows them to fill out a survey so we can find out if their needs are being met, if we are serving them well, and what we can do to improve their experience. We’re getting good feedback on that.
Do you take insurance?
We’re a part of the Cigna Radius Dental PPO network. If your PPO allows you to go out-of-network, we are more than happy to file the paperwork and work with their insurance company.
What distinguishes your practice from others?
We make sure that we meet the needs of every one of our patients and we keep an open dialogue so the patient is happy. Also, we’re a word of mouth practice. We have had patients that have come to us for years and we earned new patients through their recommendations. I think what distinguishes us is the way we communicate with patients and that we excel in carrying out treatment that works for every single person.
What are your office hours?
We’re here Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a lunch hour from 12 to 1, and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch taken between 12 and 1.
Buckhenheimer & Bulnes DMD PA is located on 3906 W. Neptune Street in Tampa. For more information, call (813) 259-9000 or visit southtampadentaloffice.com.