Guys to Know: Joseph Perry, DDS

Bringing smiles back to San Antonio

Dr. Joseph Perry is modest, but his patients tend to brag about his work and smile whenever his name is mentioned. That’s because of all that this friendly San Antonio dentist and denture expert has done for their smiles — and their lives. With a focus on dentures, dental implants and dental solutions for more than 25 years, Dr. Perry, who has practiced dentistry over 30 years, delights in improving his patients’ lives. Many tell him that they never dreamed that chewing food and wearing dentures could seem natural and comfortable and that they’d get back their smile. More than just a dentist, Dr. Perry is passionate about bringing his clients a renewed sense of comfort and confidence.

Born and raised in California, Dr. Perry joined the Navy, earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, taught dentistry at that same school for a few years while establishing his practice, and met his wife, Ruth, in San Antonio. The couple then moved to Beeville, where Dr. Perry set up his general dental practice, and there he recognized a need among patients that he wanted to address. So he focused his efforts on finding the best possible solutions to their problems with dentures, and for the past 25 years, his career’s primary focus has been on implant dentistry, oral surgery and denture solutions.
Recently, Dr. Perry and his family moved back to San Antonio, where he continues to be dedicated about helping patients achieve a comfortable and functional bite and a natural smile, using today’s most sophisticated denture solutions.

I caught up with Dr. Perry this week to find out a little more about his work and what brought him back to the Alamo City.

Q. How did you become interested in dentistry?
A. I once was a hard-working kid in the Navy, out to see the world, and to my surprise, I found myself marooned in a small town in South Texas. Over time, I filled in off-time taking classes at the local community college, which was at that time known as Beeville County College. I became friends with other students that were studying for a dental hygiene degree. Eventually their interest and excitement in the field of dentistry rubbed off on me, and as time progressed, I found myself enrolled in the University of Texas Dental School here in San Antonio.
I had built strong ties in Beeville, so I decided to return after graduation. In a small-town practice, it is necessary to be proficient in nearly all aspects in the field of dentistry, but it was not long before I realized that there exists a big need for making dentures as well as any type of removable appliance. I found myself constantly engaged in research that would make the process simpler and have a more predictable outcome. In short, it became my mission to help my patients eat comfortably and look as they would have, had they not lost their teeth and jawbone that supports their teeth.

Q: Some people think all dentures are the same, and that if dentures aren’t comfortable or look unnatural, or if they make their faces seem sunken in, they assume there’s little anyone can do about it. Is that true?
A. Many people think that, but these days, that’s not the case. I now can make a positive difference in my patients’ comfort level and appearance. Today, with the Strickland Facelift Denture process, a new denture design that adds visible fullness and definition to the face, we have learned to first evaluate the face and all its structures and make a determination of how it would be if there had been no loss of teeth. At that point, we begin a process to design teeth with bases that will produce a more natural, positive end result. You might say now we use a top-down approach, with molds made to incorporate the movement of musculature, gum tissue and nerve position. A bite is made to produce the most relaxed and comfortable chewing motion. The result is less strain on the muscles in our face, neck and upper back. The sunken-in “denture look” fades, and you see the dramatic changes in facial appearance. The difference is remarkable.

Q: What other services do you offer?
A. We now have a variety of dental implants that allow us to attach or secure the dentures in place. This can be done in a myriad of ways depending on the desires of the patient and the existing bone structure. This is a revolutionary boon for the lower denture sufferer. Today we can give hope to almost anyone in ways that were nearly unheard of just a few years ago: hence our name, San Antonio Denture Solutions.

Q. You obviously work hard and enjoy what you do, but you still seem to make time for family and fun.
A. I enjoy working in the yard and going fishing on the Texas Gulf, and I love being with my family. Ruth and I have two children. Our daughter, Jordin, is a junior at the International School of the Americas located at Lee High School, and she is currently researching future college campuses. Our son, Morgan, is in the eighth grade, and he enjoys four-wheeling all over my garden, fishing and doing anything associated with the outdoors. And then of course there’s our Beagle, named Rikki after the lyrics in a Steely Dan song. My mother-in-law, Luisita Lake, lives with us, and she keeps us all in line.

Q: You attended dental school here in San Antonio before practicing dentistry in Beeville. Why did you decide to move back after so many years away?
A. I like to say I moved back so it would be easier to attend Spurs games, and that’s true. But more importantly, my wife and I wanted my mother-in-law to have access to the outstanding Fort Sam Houston medical care available here in San Antonio. At first, I moved the family on ahead and commuted here part of the week, but that became untenable. We all wanted to be together, so I sold the practice and moved here full time. San Antonio offers very good schools and provides excellent care for the elderly, so we knew it was a good fit for our family. My wife, Ruth, is from San Antonio, so for both of us it felt like coming home.

By Janis Turk
Photos by Casey Howell

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