The Smile Guru Dr. Peter Lan

The Smile Guru Dr. Peter Lan

by Steve Gamel

It was a typical Monday afternoon, and Dr. Peter Lan D.D.S. found himself sitting patiently in his office answering a myriad of questions for an article on him and his practice. As the proud owner of Vanilla Family Dentistry in Denton, Lan, a soft-spoken and self-professed perfectionist, had a lot to say, and he handled that interview with grace and confidence.

Yet as the interview was nearing its end, Lan knew there was still a crucial piece of the story that hadn’t been told yet.

A few minutes later, Lan began grinning from ear to ear as one of his patients, Donna Moss, finally came walking into his office. He quickly gave up the seat behind his desk – signifying that Moss was the real star of the interview.

“What can I say? He saved my smile,” Mrs. Moss said. “He’s my rock.”

Lan, who moved from China to America with his family when he was nine years old, stood by the doorway blushing like that small boy from many years ago as Moss spent the next 15 to 20 minutes crediting her favorite dentist for saving not only her smile but also her career. Moss is a renowned interior decorator and designer, and the host of HGTV’s Donna Decorates Dallas. She also has a new show called Bling It On airing this summer on The Design Network. Her smile and charm can brighten any room, yet she has quietly battled behind the scenes through numerous and complex procedures to combat what she referred to as hereditary tooth decay.

Moss happily travels nearly two hours from her home in Arlington – just to see Dr. Lan. She represents a growing number of patients, including those right here in Denton County, who can’t imagine going to any other dentist office.

“It’s like my hairdresser. I follow him around no matter where he’s at,” Moss said with a laugh. “When you develop a relationship with a dentist like I have with Dr. Lan, you’ll go wherever he’s at. It’s a relationship. He wants his clients to be happy, and he’s not going to be satisfied until you’re totally happy. That’s what sold me on him.”

Vanilla Family Dentistry is located in the Lakewood Square shopping center on Teasley Lane in Denton. Lan treats patients ages six months through 90 while focusing on general and cosmetic dentistry such as crowns, veneers, and root canals to implant restorations, Invisalign, wisdom teeth extraction, laser whitening, and full-mouth rehabilitation.

Dr. Lan graduated from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and averages roughly 30 to 40 hours of continuing education each year. To put that into proper perspective, Texas only requires 12 hours per year of continued education to maintain a dentistry license. That broad knowledge of dental specialties allowed him to complete a fellowship with the International Congress of Oral Implantologists.

He was also voted by his peers as the Best Dentist in Dallas by D Magazine in 2017.

But as Moss said, at the heart of all that education and dedication to his craft is a man who believes in comprehensive dental care in a compassionate environment. Lan develops relationships with each client, and because he stays up to date on the latest advancements in dentistry, he can provide alternative options for patients who come in fearful that invasive actions such as surgery or tooth extraction are the only options.

“Since my mother is a doctor, I often have conversations with her when I am stressed out about certain clinical situations,” Dr. Lan said. “She understands and supports me, and the pearl of wisdom she gave me is to definitely treat all patients well and make my work as close to ideal as possible, but also learn to relax a little.”

Dr. Lan added, “I give my patients options. If it’s something that I know they need, I will tell them. I explain the pros and cons to everything, and ultimately do what’s best for them.”

That includes referring his patients to local specialists if the situation calls for it. Donna Moss is a perfect example of that, as she has worked with Dr. Lan and an oral surgeon multiple times throughout the years.

“I’m very proud and particular about my work. It’s craftsmanship, and at the end of the day, it’s the patient’s needs that matter more to me than anything. So I want to make their visit as special as possible,” Lan said. “I”m so blessed that I get to wake up every day and say to myself, ‘Wow, I get to practice dentistry.’ I enjoy this a lot.”

For loyal patients like Moss, that commitment to a craft speaks volumes for Dr. Lan. She recalled how she went to 10 or 12 different dentists and specialists as she was searching for the right person.

“I’ll be a life-long client,” she said. “The trust I have with him is a big reason I keep coming back. He’s my smile guru.”

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