Doctor Spotlight: Dr. Carl Boykin

Carl Boykin started off his education with the intent to “look” into people’s minds, studying psychology at Dillard University in New Orleans. Now, he looks into a different part of the head – the mouth – as a dentist for Benevis-supported Taylor Dental & Braces.

While his father had been a dentist for 30 years, Boykin wasn’t initially drawn to the profession and his father didn’t push him into it. “I’ve worked in a dental office since I was 8 years old. I worked at his practice every single summer, so while I may not have been familiar with the procedures, I knew the lifestyle. I knew my dad was always in a position where he enjoyed what he did every day. He got to spend time with his family. I knew that it was a field that I could go into and thrive.”

After graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Dentistry, Boykin worked within community health and private practice in his father’s office. A couple of years later, he decided to join Kool Smiles practice (now Sunnybrook Dentistry) in Jackson, Mississippi, because of its focus on underserved populations. “It was refreshing to see a larger population in my community and provide services to them.”

Boykin also enjoyed the opportunity to work with more children. “It was a fun aspect. The environment, the culture, it was vibrant.” Boykin added, “It was such a needed thing in the community as well. Nobody had ever seen someone that looked like them providing services because the access to care for the underserved community was very slim. We opened that office, and the community was able to see people that looked like them, people that they had never seen before in these positions. So that was very fulfilling.”

After working in Mississippi, Boykin moved to Louisiana to work at Taylor Dental & Braces, which has nine Louisiana-based dental and orthodontic offices that provide care during 101,000 patient visits annually. The practice’s patients are largely supported by Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which covers 94% of them, the majority of whom are children.

“One of the great things outside of providing services to the patients is educating them and educating their parents on oral health,” Boykin said. “Recently, we had a parent that felt that the child’s baby teeth just needed to come out and didn’t need to be fixed. We were able to educate her and explain the importance of baby teeth for eating, speaking, and placement of adult teeth and the value of dental hygiene to create a routine for that child going forward.”

In addition to seeing patients in the office, Boykin promotes oral health education through volunteer initiatives. Over the last four years, the practice adopted a local elementary school, and they regularly go to the school to provide care. “Whether it’s parent-teacher night or career day, we’re going into this school and we’re making ourselves available to these families. We make ourselves available, so the kids and parents don’t have to come to us. We’ll come to you if you have any questions.”

Taylor Dental & Braces has also participated in Benevis’ Sharing Smiles Day since it began eight years ago. The event provides free dental care to uninsured children and their families. Last year, the New Orleans Metairie office saw the most patients out of all Benevis-supported practices that participated.

“The community wants outreach and that’s what we’re doing. We’re making ourselves available to the community and letting them know that we’re here. It’s not just one thing. We’re here for the services. We’re here for the education and we’re here for the follow up at the same time.”

Boykin says being a dentist is a career that pays back tenfold when practiced within a framework. “Dentistry requires patience, empathy, understanding, and integrity. No one can tell what a bad tooth looks like except for another dentist. You don’t want a patient to walk away thinking everything is fine if it’s not. Without a sense of integrity, empathy, and patience, dentistry will not be where it should be as a profession.”

Outside of work, Boykin is an avid cyclist and volunteers regularly with his fraternity. He is a long-time New Orleans Saints fan and season ticket holder. He enjoys spending time with his family including his wife of 23 years and three children.

For current or prospective patients interested in dental services with Dr. Carl Boykin or his fellow providers in Louisiana, learn more on the Taylor Dental & Braces website or call 225-831-7843.