Katherine Snodgrass Joins Live Well Buckner Dental Team

Nov 01, 2017

Live Well Community Health Center - Buckner expands dental team with their newest addition, Katherine Snodgrass, Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). Originally from Odessa, Mo. she moved to Lee’s Summit while in elementary school. Later, she attended Blue Springs South High School and eventually graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC).

Snodgrass knew early on she wanted to pursue a career in health care. She enjoyed helping her father at his dentistry practice in Odessa and explains how he was one of her early influencers. “When I was 14, I would ride with him to work during my summer breaks and clean rooms, sterilize the equipment, mop the floors, and take the trash out,” she said. “Then as I got older I started assisting and stayed working at his practice until the summer before I began working here at the clinic. I have just always been around his office.” 

 Mr. Snodgrass wasn’t her only influencer. She also spoke of her mother’s impact. Mrs. Snodgrass was a teacher and later became a principal at Voy Spears Elementary located in Lee’s Summit. Snodgrass talked about her mother’s commitment to education, motivating attitude and how she cares for others, including the school’s teachers and students. “She has really been a good influence on me. Just the power of caring for people around and making sure that as a leader, you are leading by example, because she definitely does that in her school.” 

After graduating from Blue Springs South High School, Snodgrass continued her education at the University of Missouri (Mizzou), where she graduated in 2013 with a degree in biology. While attending Mizzou, Snodgrass thought she would go to medical school. She planned on taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), to become a surgeon. But that changed the more she shadowed medical doctors. “The more I shadowed medical doctors the more I realized how much I liked being in my dad’s dental office,” she said. There she learned how to get to know patients, something that is still important to her. When she shadowed surgeons, she said she noticed that creating that patient connection was a bit different than what she experienced at her dad’s dental office.

“My dad opened his practice right out of dental school around 25 or 26 and, here, 30 years later, he still sees the same families. He has literally watched kids grow up and have kids of their own,” she said. So, when the time came to apply for medical schools, Snodgrass decided she would rather apply for dental school. Now, like her dad, she is a practicing dentist with patients that she too plans to see grow up.

When asked how dentistry has changed over the last decade, Snodgrass said that technology has expedited the pace of health care delivery when it comes to certain procedures. One example is the CEREC machine which molds crowns right in the office by taking digital impressions. She is also working with Dental Director Geoff Peterson, DMD to offer younger patients silver diamine fluoride to stop cavities right in their tracks. 

Digital charting and digital x-rays are also improving oral health care delivery. She explains how digital x-rays are viewed as soon as they are taken, “We use a digital sensor rather than an old-fashioned film that you have to process and so there isn’t a lag time there.” Another change Snodgrass mentions is how dental implants are being requested more by patients instead of removeable appliances like dentures. 

As for pervasive health care issues, Snodgrass says two common ones are cavities and periodontal disease or gum disease. Snodgrass believes the best home remedy is good preventive care. She recommends having teeth cleaned every six months (every three months for people with gum disease), brushing teeth in the morning and before bed, and flossing regularly. 

As for her patients at Live Well, she strives to reduce dental anxiety and provide patient-centered care. She adds that practicing in a rural area is ideal.  “I like smaller towns. There is this sense of community here,” she said.

To schedule an appointment, contact Live Well Community Health Center - Buckner at 816.249.1521.

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