Close to patients, community, Gillespie expanding practice with new building
By Christine Bolaños
Dr. Thad H. Gillespie’s whole life may be one for the books. He served in the Air Force and has had not one but two private dental practices. But in 2002, he chose to open his second and current clinic, Liberty Hill Dental, in Liberty Hill. He chose the location because he noted a need for a dentist in the community but also fell in love with the small town charm of Liberty Hill.
“Initially my dad was a pharmacist,” Gillespie recalls. “I had a family dentist (who) I liked a lot and he helped me with a science project as far back as sixth grade. That’s kind of where I got the bug.”
His destiny as a dentist was laid out for him despite him only being in the sixth grade.
“That’s how I got started. I went to dental school where I found out what it was all about,” Dr. Gillespie shares. “Then I went from there into the Air Force for four years in Germany. Then came to Austin in 1984 and worked as an associate, and then had a practice we sold in 2002.”
He and his wife Kerstin wanted a smaller community to raise their family, run the practice and grow together.
“Since then we started this practice here about that time; in 2002 as well,” Dr. Gillespie adds.
He remembers that even though Liberty Hill was growing as early as 2002 there were 10 to 12 classes of kindergartners and no hometown dentist. He says five of their six children went through the Liberty Hill ISD system, from Lauren to Jack, who is a 16-year-old sophomore at the high school.
Liberty Hill Dental still offers the same quality service that patients were afforded during its infancy. The clinic provides general, cosmetic, sedation and restorative dentistry treatments to patients, who range from children to adults to seniors.
In addition to the latest technology and treatment options, the full-service practice offers a range of dental services ranging from checkups, to cancer screenings, to dental implants and porcelain veneers and effective treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, and TMJ-related migraines.
Though times have changed, Dr. Gillespie’s favorite part of his job remains the people.
“I enjoy talking to people. I enjoy hearing about what they do — what they do for fun, what they do for work,” he says. “I enjoy being in the Liberty Hill area. Some people just grew up here but a lot of people, especially that (are) moving in, have chosen this place so I think it’s a very fun place to be.”
Dr. Tiffany Georgiefski, an associate dentist who recently joined the practice, would attest to that. She yearned to work in a community like Liberty Hill, which was reminiscent and close in proximity to her hometown of Leander.
“It’s a very small town; tight community,” Dr. Georgiefski states. “Everyone knows everyone. I felt like I could really make long-lasting relationships here with people. I want to have that dental office where I know the mom, the dad, the children and I get to see the children grow.”
She found a business home in Liberty Hill Dental and a mentor in Dr. Gillespie.
“He treats everyone like family. That’s something that I admire and want to do as well,” she says. “My patients are my family and really that more than anything got me interested.”
Dr. Gillespie believes what makes the practice stand out is the welcoming environment. He said his team works to make patients feel comfortable.
“Making people as comfortable as they can be and getting them through their past,” he remarks. “Some of the fears that have kept them from coming in and to get work done. Some of the cosmetic procedures that change a person’s whole demeanor. When they can all of a sudden start smiling where they weren’t before is always very rewarding.
“Some patients are either embarrassed or scared or not treated very well in the past; shamed or lectured to,” Dr. Gillespie believes. “I think we do a very good job of helping people beyond so that we can get to whatever it is that they need done dentally.”
He said the team listens to the patients and genuinely tries to give them the best care because that is what they deserve.
It may be that way of running his business that explains his success. He now has plans to take down the old building where the clinic used to be located, and replace it with a second building that will serve as an expansion of Liberty Hill Dental’s current location including a new parking lot. He is working with United Community Bank to make that happen but nothing has been set in stone yet.
“The second building would be a learning center and event center,” Dr. Gillespie explains. “It’s a 1000-square-foot multi-purpose room that we can use for different events to lease out. Then we’ll also use it for the assisting school. We’re planning on expanding that and also offering some advanced classes with these assisting program.”
He teaches at the Dental Genius Assisting School on Saturdays, and is director of First Samaritan Health Ministries in Cedar Park.
“We take those students (who) are learning how to become dental assistants and take them over to the First Samaritan Health Ministries clinic, which is on the campus of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, “Dr. Gillespie adds. “We take our students over there because we have a dental clinic over there as well.”
He hopes to know more within the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, there was some work done on the fire hydrant on the clinic property.
“The Economic Development Council brought that over from the other side of the highway,” he says. “And then we put the fire hydrant on and the city is kind of looping it sort of going in the direction back towards the water tower.”
He said so far the feedback from the community regarding the potential expansion has been positive.
“There’s not very many places where we’d like to do a lot of types of continuing education including some tutoring opportunities,” Dr. Gillespie states. “Some co-educational events we could work with the school district on to help provide a different kind of facility. If someone wants to have a small reception, a small party or whatever then they would have a place they can utilize.”
Liberty Hill Dental takes community pride seriously. The business supports the local FFA, the high school sports boosters and local youth recreational teams.
“We enjoy being in Liberty Hill, serving the community and look forward to the growth,” he says.
Liberty Hill Dental has patients from Liberty Hill, Burnet, Bertram, Georgetown, Leander, Round Rock, Cedar Park and surrounding areas. The practice is located at 14933 W. State Hwy. 29.