Growing up in a small town, Chase Thrasher did not envision becoming a dentist one day. “Our community had one dentist in the entire town, probably the only one in a 30-mile radius. As a kid, I assumed I couldn’t pursue a career like that.”
When he headed off to college, like many students, he wasn’t sure what to study and what he ultimately wanted to do for his career. “I bounced around for a semester or two and realized some kind of medical field was the way to go,” Thrasher said.
During his search for medical career paths that seemed like a good fit for his interests, Thrasher narrowed his program search and applications to respiratory therapy and dental hygiene programs. He got into at least one of each program, but ultimately chose dental hygiene. “It was a bit of luck to be honest. After about two weeks into the program, I realized I enjoyed it, and it was a good fit for me.”
After dental hygiene school, he practiced at several dental offices including some that are now part of the Benevis organization. With encouragement from mentor and Benevis dentist Dr. Peter Igoe, he decided to take the next step and go back to school to become a dentist.
His wife had her career in New Orleans, so Thrasher narrowed his application to just one school, Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. Through his persistence and experience, he was accepted to the program.
For those considering applying to dental school to pursue a career as a dentist, Dr. Thrasher advises patience. “Just hang in there. It seems like a long road, but it goes by fast and it’s worth it.”
He says Benevis and its employees helped him out along his journey, with advice and encouragement from his mentor, Dr. Igoe, and the office staff finding him shifts to work for extra income while in school. “They did a ton to help me out, finding somewhere for me to go on Saturdays, Martin Luther King Day, or other days when school was out," said Thrasher. “Going from full-time work to school, the extra income was very much appreciated. They helped me out through all of it.”
After dental school, Dr. Thrasher and his wife relocated away from the city and from hurricane evacuation areas, particularly as they have two young children now.
With the support he received from dentists and staff at Benevis, he knew the organization provided a good community to be a part of as a practicing dentist. He now works with patients at Taylor Dental & Braces’ Monroe, Louisiana office.
Dr. Thrasher also knew he would have the opportunity to work with children at a Benevis-supported practice. “From my years working with kids as a hygienist and then having children of my own, I knew I enjoyed kids as patients.” Now, he provides care to children and their families, giving them a much-needed dental home.
In the end, Dr. Thrasher enjoys a sense of accomplishment from serving his community. “Being able to fit a patient in who worried they weren’t going to get their issue solved that day, just being able to help them, is fulfilling.”