By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury—Luciana Petto Messina is living her dream after years of dedicated effort.
She was a dentist in Brazil when she met—at a dental conference in Arizona–and subsequently married an American, Vincent Messina. But when she moved to the U.S., she had to work as a dental assistant until she completed another two years of dental studies to be able to qualify for a dental license in Massachusetts. Dr. Messina has practiced dentistry in Massachusetts for several years, the last five with an office in Shrewsbury.
When that practice was recently sold, “the situation brought the opportunity for me to start my own practice,” she said. “If I hadn’t had a passion for dentistry, I would not have gone back to school when I moved to this country. So why would I not want more for myself and my patients?” She and her husband have been overseeing construction of the new office for the past four months.
The result is Songbird Dental, Dr. Messina’s practice at 555 Main St. in Shrewsbury which opened at the end of August. She is joined by Marie Troy, dental hygienist, and Kim Wooten, dental assistant and office operations manager.
To make it truly a family business, Vincent Messina is the practice’s business manager. The couple has a four-year-old son.
“We are very fortunate to have a seasoned staff who all know each other and are working together right out of the gate,” he said.
“Starting a new practice is overwhelming, but very rewarding because it’s mine,” Dr. Messina said. “I could have purchased a practice, but this way patients are coming because they choose to be with us. I have a reputation and a following built over the past five years, and people want to stay with a dentist they have come to like.
“I feel blessed to have found this opportunity to continue serving my patients in this community,” she added.
Vincent Messina was the office’s first patient. “We had to make sure all the equipment was working,” he said.
The Messinas laugh when asked why they chose the name Songbird Dental.
Vincent’s background is in dental marketing, and he was working on a name, including checking out the national bird of Brazil, which turns out to be a type of songbird.
“She didn’t like the name at first,” he noted. “It didn’t sound very dental. But it’s positive and happy, and people remember it.” The body of the orange and gray bird that makes up the practice’s logo is a tooth.
Dr. Messina agreed that she quickly came to appreciate the Songbird name. “It’s friendly and soothing, and a good brand for me.”
Songbird Dental provides a full range of general and preventative dental services, and offers cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening and porcelain veneers. Dr. Messina also does restorative procedures such as crowns, bridges, implants and dentures.
It is a family dental practice, treating both children and adults. She suggests parents bring their children in for a first visit around age two, just for a check to make sure all is well. And recommends that, in the meantime, parents do not put their young children to bed with a bottle of milk or juice.
At present, Songbird Dental is open Monday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s closed on Thursday.
For more information or an appointment, visit the website, www.songbirddental.com, or call 508-842-8100.