Practice Profile: Team of 41 creates excitement at Pi Dental Implant Center
By Dr. Alfonso Monarres, Academy News Editorial Consultant
FORT WASHINGTON, PA – Dr. Thomas J. Balshi founded the Institute for Facial Esthetics in 1985, just as the Academy of Osseointegration, in which he was one of the early leaders, was starting to organize. The dream to house collegial specialty practices under a single roof materialized a year later when the doors to 467 W. Pennsylvania Avenue in Fort Washington opened, showcasing prosthodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, and oral maxillofacial and esthetic facial plastic surgery.
In addition, Fort Washington Dental Laboratory started making the first restorations of Brånemark implants in the United States. Two decades later, the building is brimming with scores of happy patients treated with a multi-disciplinary approach and unique team dynamics. Prosthodontics Intermedica, now known simply as Pi Dental Implant Center, began at the Institute as a resource for comprehensive board-certified prosthetics and has evolved to become a cutting edge implant treatment center, the home of Teeth In a Day. A team of 41 dedicated individuals blend clinical expertise, administrative prowess, refined laboratory skills, creative marketing and academic challenge to establish an environment pulsating with excitement. New technology and old-fashioned compassion are the operative philosophies that shape each new day in this Philadelphia suburb.
Eleven of the 30 treatment rooms at the Institute are devoted to implant prosthodontics and buzz daily with diverse clinical protocols designed to engineer healthy smiles with distinctive esthetics. The Center’s motto is Luceat, which means “let it shine,” according to Dr. Balshi. “Our center has been designed to blend the most sophisticated and successful system in dentistry with a sensitive and comfortable environment that puts even your most anxious patient completely at ease,” he says.
The largest of the center’s operating rooms is the core of Viewpoint, the Institute’s state of the art teaching center. Here fellow specialists observe the treatment of unique cases and offer their own “viewpoint,” brought through wide glass panels directly into the mouth of the patient. The intimacies of the surgical procedure are clearly visible from even the far corners of the classroom. Additionally, the Viewpoint operating theater houses the I-Cat cone beam scanner with the capability of projecting its results on flat screen monitors throughout the center. Pi Dental Center’s reception area is inviting and comfortable, envisioned and designed by Joanne Balshi. The theme is “oasis,” reminiscent of a British respite amidst the African plains. Patients can sink into a chocolate alligator sofa or lean back into woven palm chairs. The vast open space is appointed with genuine African artifacts. The walls are adorned with several dozen artistic animal photographs, seen through Dr. Balshi’s own lens while on safari in Kenya. No glass doors or windows separate the administrative staff from the patients they welcome. The atmosphere at the Pi Dental Center is deliberate hospitality, and those who create new smiles will warmly beam their own into the mix of travelers. Patients frequently come long distances for care; therefore, the multilingual staff members (offering fluency in English, Spanish, German, Russian, Chinese, Italian, and Portuguese) are specifically trained to extend unparalleled comfort and service. The newest dimension to Pi is Smiles Bistro, located adjacent to Viewpoint. The Bistro provides creative home cooking and innovative cuisine for the Institute’s 140 employees as well as for patient family members with time to fill. It is also the catering resource for the many implant courses regularly offered in Viewpoint. Post-operative implant cases particularly appreciate the soft touch of Smiles Bistro after surgery. The milkshake menu is just what the doctor ordered for flavor, nourishment, and a touch of fun.
Drs. Tom Balshi and Glenn J. Wolfinger stand at the helm of the Pi philosophy for excellence in implant and prosthodontic care. Their team also includes the research director, Stephen F. Balshi, whose master’s degree in biomedical engineering is invaluable in the planning of guided surgery cases, and Dr. Gary Morreale, the in-house board certified endodontist. Drs. James Bowers and Jack Thaler round out the team, with fortes in traditional crown and bridge restoration and the application of exquisite veneers.
The Pi Dental Care Center also houses the Pi Foundation. Each year, six to eight patients with dire dental conditions and no financial resources are granted complete smile makeovers. Funds are provided by public support via lively fundraising activities. The staff donates time, and dental support companies regularly contribute materials and services.
Pi was born as Prosthodontics Intermedica. It is now recognized simply as Pi, a haven for education, research, clinical achievement, and philanthropy, thrust toward the advancement of dental medicine and hopefully making people smile from somewhere deep inside.