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Chris Devlin, D.M.D., doesnâ€™t like to talk about himself. â€œI kind of always try to support and push other people.â€ But between providing care and sharing his passion for automobiles, he gives back a great deal to those less fortunateâ€”especially within his community.
Devlin is passionate about dentistry, but he’s also passionate about his collection of Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Chris Devlin, DMD., always knew he wanted to be a doctor and he’s also always had a strong background in art. So it’s no wonder that Devlin, who started Highland Dental Care & Orthodontics in 2009, affectionately refers to his patients as “walking canvases that are able to smile.”
In other words, he blends his talents and sees results from them every day.
“Taking someone who is embarrassed to smile and show their teeth, and having them walk out (of the office) smiling, laughing and hugging me, that’s really all I need to pick me up,” Devlin says.
Devlin started his career as an associate in a New Jersey-based private practice. It was the type of scenario where the principal dentist was going to retire in four or five years — but seven years later, was still practicing. Devlin decided it was time to move on. And after a brief two-year stop in Nashville, he settled in Texas where he opened his current practice.
“I’ve always been a warm climate person,” he says. “It’s a great town, and I think a lot of people are still following me down this way. I usually joke with patients and tell them I’m running from the law. But I’ve finally found a nice home here.”
He’s also found the time to coach and train other doctors. He was a founding member of the Dental One Doctor Advisory Board, and currently serves as a regional dental director in the Houston market. Devlin says he gets back as much as he gives.
“When you’re bringing in doctors, whether they have one year or five years of experience, there are still things that they’re unsure of,” Devlin explains. “It’s great to be able to be their mentor. And it doesn’t fail that every single time I’m sitting there helping them with a patient, I learn something too.”
An advocate for learning, Devlin is a graduate of both levels I and II of Dental Boot Kamp, as well as the Bell Leadership program. Of Dental Boot Kamp, Devlin says the focus is on getting down to the patient’s level, and understanding where they’re coming from.
“It’s made me a better clinician to really sit there and be able to listen to someone,” he says. “And know that we’re both on the same page. That we’re going to end up at the same result. That’s exactly what the patient wants.”
Devlin is passionate about dentistry, but he’s also passionate about his collection of Ferraris and Lamborghinis. He grew up with car photos on the wall of his bedroom, and when his father took him to the New York Automobile Show he would drool.
“I think I bought my first car with money that I made from a paper route,” he recalls. “There’s something exciting about cars. There’s just a connection being on the road, and it’s just me and the car and music.”
It has also opened doors to meeting like-minded car enthusiasts who have a deep appreciation for the evolution of the automobile, as well as the simple pleasures such as driving something that has a cubic centimeter or CC engine instead of a horsepower engine.
Does Devlin have a favorite? He says he’s a huge Lamborghini fan, partly because those were the cars he had pinned to his bedroom wall growing up. Last year he purchased his first brand new model, right off the boat.
“That was the benchmark for me,” he says. “To get there and kind of join that club. It was Frank Sinatra who said, ‘You buy a Ferrari when you want to be somebody. You buy a Lamborghini when you are somebody.’ I think it’s the pinnacle.”
Devlin also uses his association with automotive enthusiasts to reach out to local families who have children battling cancer and other illnesses. Each year he sponsors families and offers his services to them — taking care of their dental needs at no charge.
“It’s rewarding to see the appreciation and the awestruck look in their face when I don’t even feel like I’m doing enough,” Devlin says.
BENEFITS OF RUNNING
Another of Devlin’s benefits is running — but not running simply for exercise or the sake of running. He participates in numerous marathons and half marathons to benefit charities. He acknowledges that running is the hardest thing he has ever done, “Because I hate it,” but the enjoyment comes from knowing he’s helping others.
“My brother forced me into doing some Tough Mudder events, which was great because it raised money for Wounded Warriors, and challenged me to do something I didn’t think I could do,” Devlin says.
Then a friend turned him on to some runDisney events which raise money for various charities, including Wounded Warriors, and Autism Speaks.
“I’m a huge Disney fanatic, so he didn’t have to twist my arm to get me there,” Devlin says.
The challenges, instead, came from having to wake up at 4 a.m. and start running one hour later, and pushing himself to keep going when his body wants to quit.
“You have to overcome everything in your mind that’s telling you to just take a break for a while,” he says. “It’s just you against you. There’s nothing holding you back except what’s going on in your head.”
Devlin says that’s just the way he was raised, to try and always go above and beyond. But it doesn’t hurt to know that he’s doing something that will benefit others.
“I’ve gotten a really good hand,” he says. “There’s no reason why I can’t turn around and help benefits others. And if I can hear someone say something good about what we’ve done for them and, you know, make that dental-phobic excited to come back, and people from distances travel to come see me, it means the world to me.”
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