Dr. Christian Yaste, D.D.S., and Dr. Joseph Hufanda, D.D.S. founded the Ballantyne Center for Dentistry in 2001. For Dr. Yaste, his professional life started with a bicycle accident. For Dr. Hufanda, dentistry is closely related to his other passion—art.
Dr. Christian Yaste, D.D.S. is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. After graduating he moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and completed a two-year postgraduate residency in Oral Medicine. Dr. Yaste is qualified in all areas of general dentistry and has had advanced training in cosmetic restorative procedures as well as oral medicine and pathology. The focus of his practice for the last 21 years has been adult dental care and he has written several articles in leading dental journals as well as been a consultant and speaker for various dental manufacturers.
Q: So it all started with a bicycle accident?
Dr. Yaste: That’s right. I was in dental school at the University of Michigan and I was on my bicycle in the middle of winter. I was on some black ice and I went over the handlebars and smashed all my front teeth. I went to a dentist and it was all downhill from there. I literally sat in a chair for an hour while I was bleeding and waiting for the dentist. I was insulted and went through hell while dentists and specialists bounced me around. It was “old school” dentistry at its worst and I almost quit dental school.
Dr. Yaste: I thought, “if that’s the way I’m going to be treated then I’ll just do something else.” I did not want to see myself hurting people. If dentistry meant pain, I wanted out.
Q: You stayed in school…
Dr. Yaste: I did and I commited to offer a totally different experience…one that’s patient-friendly. My experience losing my front teeth put me in the same situation as many patients and I want them to have an experience that’s comfortable. I want them to feel cared for and cared about and I want them to get the smile they have always wanted. Because of my traumatic experience I feel that I can be more empathetic towards my patients who have had similar experiences. When a patient tells me “Don’t take this personally, but, I HATE the dentist!”, I smile inside because I know exactly how they feel. I know that I can help them.
Q: Your father is an architect and designed the interior. Is that correct?
Dr. Yaste: That’s right and he has a total fear of dentists. So he wanted to design a practice that was not like an “old school” practice. It’s more like a spa.
Q: What’s really important to you when it comes to helping patients?
Dr. Yaste: A great smile can really change someone’s life. Some people have had dental problems and want a better smile. Some people, like me, had an accident. Some people have had their original work fail. Here at Ballantyne Center for Dentistry, we want to help patients get a beautiful smile that lights up a room. We want to make it affordable and comfortable…in fact, as close to pain-free as possible.
Q: What do you like to do outside the practice?
Dr. Yaste: I spend a lot of time with my family. That’s obviously very important to me. I also enjoy reading about and learning about the business side of dentistry, specifically direct response.
Q: How do you define cosmetic dentistry?
Dr. Yaste: It’s highly specialized although it is not recognized by the dental industry as “specialty” as I think it should be. It’s complicated and getting to a really good final result requires a lot of expertise and experience. We can complete most of the procedures in our practice, sometimes just taking a day. Ultimately, it’s about helping patients achieve the smile they have always wanted and helping them feel a lot better about themselves and their dental health.
Q: What’s your advice to someone who is on the fence about cosmetic surgery?
Dr. Yaste: Come in and see us. An initial consultation is always free. Take a look at the before and after photos. Watch the testimonials from patients. Read the testimonials. Tell us about what’s holding you back and you can even tell us that you hate going to the dentist! I understand! Totally! We’ll be upfront with you and go through all the options and then you can decide about what you want to do. We’re very low pressure. Our patients have said to themselves, “I’ve wanted to get the smile I’ve always wanted and now is the time.” The results can be life-changing.
Dr. Yaste is the bomb. Ballantyne Denistry is well worth every penny. The staff is very courteous, the waiting room is definitely nice especially with the massage chair and the way they offer you snacks and drinks makes going to the dentist as comfortable as going to the spa. The wait is not long either. Keep up the good work Dr. Yaste."
-Sheron N.—Ballantyne Center for Dentistry Patient
Dr. Joseph Hufanda, D.D.S. is also a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. After graduation, he underwent three years of additional training with the Upper Peninsula Rural Health Services. Dr. Hufanda has completed continuing education courses in advanced full mouth rehabilitation and aesthetic restorative dentistry. He has a background in fine arts and has tutored clinical operative and prosthodontic applications at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.
Q: You and Dr. Yaste went to high school together?
Dr Hufanda: That’s right. We went to high school and dental school together. After dental school, Dr. Yaste entered a graduate residency program. I worked at the Rural Health Center. After that, I decided to join Dr. Yaste in Charlotte to continue my career in dentistry. We were both interested in cosmetic dentistry and we still are…but after working for a group practice in Charlotte for 3 years, we wanted to start a cosmetic dental practice which highlighted our strengths in full mouth rehabilitation and smile makeovers.
Q: Why cosmetic dentistry?
Dr. Hufanda: Both my parents are in the medical field. Initially I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow them into medicine as I have a creative streak. The great thing about cosmetic dentistry is I can be in the medical field and be creative and artistic.
Q: I understand art is an important part of your life?
Dr. Hufanda: Absolutely. I have an avid interest in fine arts, music, and painting. Often when I get home from a stressful day at work, I work out the kinks by sitting down at the piano and sometimes play for hours. In addition to playing the piano as a hobby, I play for services at church. I also enjoy the different mediums of watercolor and acrylic paints. It may sound like a bit of a stretch, but I firmly believe my art helps me with the artistic side of dentistry.
Q: How does an artistic background help a cosmetic dentist?
Dr. Hufanda: Cosmetic dentistry starts with getting what people don’t see right. People may not necessarily know exactly what they want but by listening to their wishes, showing them different options and guiding them toward what we feel looks best, we can usually come up with a plan that blends the desires of the patient with our clinical knowledge and critical eye so we really produces a “wow” factor. There’s more than a clinical side to dentistry… it’s art with customized results. As a cosmetic dentist, you have to have an eye for the minute details that can make all the difference when it comes to helping people get a beautiful smile.
Q: What’s really important to you when it comes to helping patients?
Dr. Hufanda: The interaction with people. I don’t think of a patient as a “patient.” The person I’m helping is someone who wants much more than help with their teeth. They want to restore their self-confidence, look better, and feel better. There’s a “wow” factor involved. It’s a thrill to help people feel so much better about their smile and they way they look. It’s a thrill to help people who have put off going to the dentist and make them feel comfortable.
Q: What about referrals?
Dr. Hufanda: A number of people we help come to us because they know someone we’ve helped and they say, “we can’t believe what you did with their smile!” Sometimes we’ve done a smile makeover for a husband and his wife says, jokingly perhaps, “I can’t have my husband looking better than me.”
Q: What’s the best part about being in cosmetic surgery?
Dr. Hufanda: I receive tremendous satisfaction from the confidence people get with their new smile, especially when they no longer feel the need to put their hand over their mouth when talking or smiling. Some are really afraid to go to the dentist and we like working with people who are “dental phobic.” We set up the practice so that it does not really look like a place where you go to the dentist. We also set up the office so that you can get a relatively simple procedure like teeth whitening easily. You can also get a total smile makeover. Every day involves helping someone achieve what they want and that is really satisfying.
"We love Dr. Joe: he made my husband even more handsome…"
-Marion S. – Ballantyne Center For Dentistry
Dr.Eric Satterlee D.D.S. received his doctorate degree from The New York University of Dentistry and also holds a degree in finance from the Univeristy of New York. Dr. Satterlee is one of only a handful of dentists in the region with advanced training in I.V. Sedation Dentistry.
Q: What is it about the Ballantyne Center for Dentistry that made you want to work here?
Dr. Satterlee: I moved to Charlotte in 2014 with a pretty good idea of what I wanted. However, it isn't always easy to find the type of office I was looking to be a part of. I wanted to do more than just "drill and fill", and I was hoping to find a practice with a culture that is fun to be part of. After being in Charlotte for about a year and looking around it became obvious that Ballantyne Center for Dentistry was the place I thought would be the best fit, and I was right. We have a strong team, complete adult patient care, focused on not just treating teeth, but the person. This practice is much different than most dental offices.
Q: Have you always been interested in dentistry?
Dr. Satterlee: I haven't always been interested in dentistry, but have always wanted a career that was fufilling and allowed me to improve the lives of people. That might sound cliche but it's true. I moved to New York City after graduating with a degree in Finance and like many people in their twenties I "floated" through life for several years searching for something meaningful. After a chance meeting with a dentist in NYC I saw that dentistry would allow me to work directly with people, making a difference. As I entered into dental school it was clear I had made the right decision and I persued my studies with a passion. Being one of the more "mature" individuals in my dental classes was a real advantage and having life experience helped me be a better communicator.
Q: How do you build trust with your patients?
Dr. Satterlee: I build trust simply by listening and empathizing. Seems so simple yet so many dentists forget to do this and see only what they want to see. We put the patient first and make sure we prioritize what brought them into our practice in the first place. Of course we consider everything and give recommendations based on what we find, but we don't ever forget that what is a priority or concern for us, may not always be the same for the patient.
Q: Is it really true that dental visits can be painless and completely anxiety free?
Dr. Satterlee: Many people hate coming to the dentist. I don't know how many times a week I hear "no offense, but I hate the denitst!"...and we understand why. That is why we have spent hours of continuing education in providing options for patients that are fearful. We treat numerous levels of dental phobia and dental fear in our practice. One of the first things I did after accepting a position at the Ballantyne Center for Dentistry was to become fully certified in I.V. and Oral Conscious sedation. My patients really appreciate the fact that I can give them a completely painless dental experience. Some of my patients cry when they find out about how I can help them, but not from being afraid; tears of joy.
Q: What is something that most people would be surprised about you?
Dr. Satterlee: Well, most people don't know what a coffee snob I am. I am really particular about my coffee (smiling). To the extent that in the mornings after working out, I actually roast my own coffee beans and then grind them for a perfect cup of Joe. I'm also picky about my tea too.