The island’s only dental practice has a new home and a new owner. After close to three decades of vacationing on St. John, Dr. Laney Smith took ownership of St. John Dental Aug. 1 and relocated the practice from its longtime home at Boulon Center to Palm Plaza near the Westin.
Smith owned a dental practice in Atlanta for 25 years before selling in 2017. She stayed on there for a year to help the new owner make a smooth transition, then applied for her dental license in the Virgin Islands.
“I met [previous St. John Dental owner] John Purpura, and the timing was just great,” said Smith. “Whenever I could be here filling in, I was. The more I was here, the more John was in Orlando where his family had moved, and he gave me a great offer on the practice.”
Almost immediately after Smith purchased the business, the territory shut down for the second time due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, giving her time to spruce up St. John Dental’s new home.
The practice finally opened for business in its new home in mid-September, seeing patients Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To help stop the spread of COVID, Smith keeps her staff to a team of two.
“It’s a small office and I don’t want a lot of traffic right now,” she said. “Dental assistant Levy Belle and I know what stage of sterilization each room is in and we work really well together.”
St. John Dental offers basic services for all ages including fillings, extractions, and crowns, as well as cosmetic dentistry. Dentists and their assistants are double masked during all cleanings and procedures, and patients are asked to wait for their appointment outside in their car if possible. Dr. Gray Vogelmann and Dr. Winnie Bollen are visiting dentists at the practice. “I’m excited to be here,” said Smith. “I feel like I’m a different dentist here than I was in Atlanta. I’m happy with the slower pace. It’s my retirement job and I’m thrilled.”
St. John Dental is now located on the lower level of Palm Plaza. To make an appointment, call 340-693-8898.