Chances are if you’ve witnessed an Elizabethtown High School sports team in action, seen families enjoying “Movies at the Park” or just noticed someone’s nice smile and teeth, Dr. Richard Knowlton and the team at Knowlton Dental Associates has been a part of it.
“We are a family-oriented dental practice that believes in giving back to our community,” says Dr. Richard Knowlton. “The local residents have been loyal to us over the last 30+ years, and we are appreciative of the relationships we’ve developed with our patients and several organizations.
Knowlton Dental Associates opened in Elizabethtown in 1983, when Dr. Knowlton took over Dr. Ralph Thome’s practice. He moved to his current location at 102 W. High Street in Elizabethtown in 1986, as he began seeing Dr. Bill Moore’s patients when Dr. Moore retired. And for those 30+ years, Dr. Knowlton has made one point clear – “the patient comes first, and there is no second.”
“You’re not just a number here,” Dr. Knowlton says. “We treat little ones, families, young adults and senior citizens with the respect and care they deserve. Dentistry keeps changing and is becoming less personal. But we’ve made a commitment to keep it personal. It’s more than just being nice…it means knowing our patients, their dental history and how they want to be treated.”
Knowlton Dental Associates is a comprehensive general dental practice that offers a variety of services including cosmetic dentistry, dentures, orthodontics, gum surgery, oral surgery, periodontal disease treatment, root canals, implants, sports dentistry, and sleep apnea treatments.
Because of extensive and diverse education, Knowlton Dental is able to offer all of these services at their Elizabethtown office. Dr. Knowlton has spent the past 35 years engrossing himself in dentistry as a student and a teacher. The 1978 Penn State University graduate earned his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from Temple University in 1983 and added a fellowship from The Academy of General Dentistry in 1988. A Mastership, similar to a Ph.D., followed a few years later. And with more than 3,000 hours of additional education beyond his Doctorate, he has also earned a pair of Life Long Learning and Service Recognition Awards from the Academy of General Dentistry.
“Every time I take another course or teach, I’m motivated by the ability to improve and provide better service to our patients,” says Dr. Knowlton.
That continual lifelong learning has allowed the practice to offer a host of services and to be able to meet most patients’ dental needs.
The knowledge foundation is impressive, and the service is even better, because “it always leads back to the patients” for Dr. Knowlton and his staff of nine. The practice is consistently one of the finalists for Lancaster Newspaper’s Reader’s Choice Awards, and has once again been chosen this year as one of America’s Best Dentists by the National Consumer Advisory Board, an award that Knowlton Dental has been honored with for 12 years in a row.
“Dr. Knowlton considers the patients part of his extended family and friends,” says Jeanne Lilley, the Business Manager at Knowlton Dental Associates. “His love for patients goes well beyond the walls of this building.”
“Make no mistake about it…this is a family practice and Dr. Knowlton truly cares,” says Ralph Clouser, a local Elizabethtown resident. When asked why has been a patient of Dr. Knowlton’s since 1983, Ralph simply stated…“When you find the best, you forget about the rest.” “My teeth were in poor shape when I first visited. Rick’s been a great friend and legitimately cares about me and my family. I’ve always said to him ‘Take care of my teeth, like you would for your own dad.’ He always has, and after all of these years, my teeth are in excellent shape and we have all benefited from his expertise.
“We” includes three generations of the Clouser family. Ralph’s two sons, their wives, and Ralph’s six grandchildren are all patients of Knowlton Dental.
“Dr. Knowlton is kind, friendly and has helped our family with emergencies over the years, recalls Matt Clouser, Ralph’s son. “When you call on a weekend with root canal pain that’s a 10 out of 10, and he says ‘come on down, I’ll meet you at the office in 15 minutes’… it means a lot. And now, my wife Janel and I have brought our four kids here since they were little.”
Scott Clouser, his wife Lori and their two boys are also patients. “We’ve been here forever…I guess you’d call it a family tradition…we’ve been treated well and the whole staff makes it fun for the kids!”
Maggie Clouser, 8, is Matt and Janel’s daughter and added, “I’ve never had a cavity and I always get extra prizes!” Kids like Dr. Knowlton, who is well-known for his “Surgical Glove Balloon Creations”, because he likes to entertain the kids and is extra generous with the prize box after check-ups!
Dr. Knowlton, a former volleyball player and a member of the Academy of Sports Dentistry, extends that generosity into community service that focuses on two of his passions – sports and teeth.
For the past 18 years, he has provided custom-made mouthguards to several local sports teams and athletes, including teams and individuals at Elizabethtown High School, Donegal High School and Elizabethtown College. This service, coordinated by Knowlton Dental’s Expanded Function Dental Assistant Casandra Dodson, also includes the Women’s U.S. Field Hockey Team that practices at Spooky Nook in Manheim, as well as other area high schools, middle schools, college and minor league sports teams.
Dr. Knowlton and his staff visit the teams for individual fittings and provide the mouthguards, which are “pro-level” rated and can cost several hundred dollars each, free of charge. The mouthguards protect athletes against possible injuries and debilitating damage to the mouth.
“I always feel it is important to give back to the community and this is a mission for me,” Dr. Knowlton says. “I strongly believe once a tooth is injured it is injured for life. This helps along the way to avoid that.”
Most importantly, for the patients who visit Knowlton Dental Associates, an awesome, experienced staff surrounds Dr. Knowlton. “Our staff is highly experienced and many of us have been with Dr. Knowlton for years,” says Jeanne Lilley.
Linda Gockley, the Business Administrator, has teamed with Dr. Knowlton for more than 30 years, helping patients with appointments, coordinating care and setting up payment plans.
Staff Hygienists Chantel Miller, Alexandra DiGiacomo and Karen Smith, like to ‘hand out hugs” to patients, and spend time coordinating outreach to schools and organizations to teach proper teeth and gum care habits as part of Children’s Dental Health Month.
In addition to Casandra Dodson, who is celebrating 25 years with Knowlton Dental, Stacy Weaver and Jamie Charles also serve as Expanded Function Dental Assistants, meaning they assist with in-depth procedures such as fillings, sealants, topical fluoride and anesthetic. Ruby Santiago is a Dental Assistant and organizes the Elizabethtown “Movies in the Park” that Knowlton Dental Associates has sponsored for several years.
From forming partnerships with insurance companies to help families, to creating an enjoyable atmosphere, the staff works together every day to provide the best patient experience from start to finish. “We’re conscious of the daily juggling acts and busy routines families have, and we do our best to make their visit go smoothly, while providing trusted, high quality dental care.
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