As his business grew, Dr. Steven P. Billings ran into a conundrum with how to move forward. He was running three separate Braces By Billings offices — the original in Parkville, Mo. and the newer spaces in Platte City and Belton, Mo. — but needed help.
Instead of immediately expanding the workforce, Billings waited just a bit longer.
Branson Billings, the oldest of five children, finished up his own education last year and joined the practice in September of 2016. Almost a year into the partnership, Braces By Billings continues to expand its hours and serve even more people thanks to adding a second Dr. Billings.
“I got spread kind of thin,” Steven Billings said. “Branson’s been a great help. But the best part is he’s back home after all of the schooling, and I can’t imagine anything better than being able to work with your son or daughter in a practice situation. It’s a dream come true.”
Originally from Wichita, Kan., Steven Billings completed his doctorate of dental surgery and orthodontic certification at UMKC and opened his Parkville practice in 1979. Thirty years later, he continues to serve both children and adults in the Kansas City area, although his reach extends a little further.
Billings has raised all five of his children in the Platte County R-3 School District, and he opened his second office in Platte City about 15 years ago. Braces By Billings in Platte City has been at its current location at 2000 Kentucky Ave. for the past decade.
Branson Billings graduated from Platte County in 2006 and went on to the University of Kansas then UMKC before finishing his education at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.
Branson and younger brother Duncan Billings (a 2007 graduate) always showed interest in the medical fields. Once he chose to pursue dentistry, Branson started to think about joining his father’s established practice.
“I think it was kind of unspoken. This was the dream that I think we’d both thought about,” Branson Billings said.
Steven and Branson now help to operate the three offices with Parkville open five days a week — 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays — and recently expanded hours in Platte City from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Belton office is open on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Branson said working with his father hasn’t been difficult, and he’s more comfortable than ever in contributing to the business’s success. For his part, Steven Billings can offer tips but also never hesitates to use his son’s recent education to broaden his own knowledge.
“It’s good criticism,” Branson said. “He’s not afraid to teach me a few things, and I think we both learn from each other. Every day, I’m learning from him, and I think he learns things from me, too.”
The family grew up in the orthodontics office setting, and Steven Billings doesn’t appear ready to retire any time soon.
Braces By Billings remains busy, and more help could be needed. Duncan Billings will be graduating in December, and while he’s currently performing his residency in general dentistry, he would be welcomed into the family practice if that’s what he wants to do.
“The Billings boys back together?” Branson quipped.
“I think he has to make that decision because general dentistry is a great field, too,” Steven Billings said. “He might like that better than he likes orthodontics.
“But yeah, it’d be great to have him if that’s what he chooses.”