Coming Home

Auburn-Opelika is home to nearly157, 000 people. Can you believe that? There is growth in every direction. It’s easy to see new houses popping up everywhere and businesses thriving. But no matter how much development I see, we still have the small town feel.

I see all the people I know in Kroger. I am surrounded by hospitality, along with the tastiest cuisine and always something inviting around the corner. It’s like we are our own little island, enjoying all the amenities of something grand, yet in a condensed and wholesome environment. As a native of the area, one of my favorite things to witness throughout the year is the return home of other young locals. I recently met up with one such lady, Abby Northcutt Adams. I remember Abby from growing up here, as she was one of my best friends’ cousins. I also vividly remember seeing Abby as a little girl riding her bike through town with her family of fi e. I’m sure traveling to hit up Samford Hall and maybe even a Toomer’s treat. “Growing up in Auburn,” says Abby, “you know it’s nice, but you don’t really realize how nice. After you’ve left, you realize it’s something special. It’s different from other places.”

Abby is back home. Raising her own family here in Auburn and serving in her career. Abby is a third generation Auburn University graduate. After graduating from the College of Sciences and Mathematics, Abby made her way to University of Alabama Birmingham where she graduated from dental school in 2014. Abby says while studying dentistry, she knew that eventually she wanted to have her own practice in Auburn. “It’s growing here. It always has opportunity and people value their healthcare. It’s a good place to be in the health profession specifically but it’s also a nice place to live and have kids.” After having worked in Columbus, Ga., for a few years, Abby was able to buy a practice close to EAMC, Auburn-Opelika Dental.

Abby is laying some new groundwork not only for her community, but also for the future of women in healthcare. “There is a difference in the way women have to portray themselves and do things a little bit differently than the way a male would run his office or treat his patients. I decided to embrace those differences and make them a point of strength…to make those the best things about who we are.”

Abby runs an all-female practice, both in her Opelika office and her second location in LaFayette. “We have a fully female staff. I’m the practice owner and doctor, and we have an associate doctor. We work really hard in choosing our staff and treating one another with kindness and respect. That’s the vibe we share and that trickles down into our patients.” Abby believes in sharing in the overall health of her patients. Comfort and ease are a priority for their office , along with ownership of health and education. “Our goal is for patients to feel calm and relaxed here because it’s not the place most people feel calm and relaxed. We want to meet patients right where they are. While they get their teeth cleaned, they can get a hot wax on their hands and get their warm neck role. Even kids can have choices

on their experience. They can choose their room fragrance, or a young girl can have her hands dipped like mom.” Abby says it’s important to them to serve the patient where needed. Parents are even encouraged to make appointments alongside their children. “We like seeing kids with their families. It gives us opportunity to make connections with the families, and it makes it easier on moms. Kids can watch cartoons up front while mom gets her teeth cleaned and then they can flip flop and Mom can have a coffee up front. It helps for it to come as one package.” Another goal Abby has is to get her patients on board with their own health instead of just telling them what to do. “We work really hard to pay very close attention to what they want and what their goals are for their health. Whether that be their overall health, their oral health or maybe the way their smile looks and then be able to give them a wide range of options. That way they can decide for themselves what they value and where they want their treatment to go. At the end of the day, we are a doctor’s office and some things just have to be done, but in most cases, there are a couple ways to get things done and we want patients to have ownership over that and then we can really empower them.”

Abby says it all goes back to serving the patient in their whole health journey, not just to care for their teeth. “We work really hard to educate patients as well. For example, you may have three cavities, but we need to follow up with questions to figure out why. It could be diet changes, medication changes, lifestyle changes, there are many different things it can be. We are here to help figu e it out so that you can take charge of your own health. Maybe even prevent other treatment moving forward.” Abby’s calm and quiet demeanor play a large role in her quality of care and leadership in running two dental practices. She has the ability to sit still and listen to every patient she sees and tap into their wants and needs. These simple daily tasks give Abby joy in her work. “I enjoy the simplicity of caring for people and working through my day. I really enjoy each little sense of accomplishment. I like when I do a filling and I know I did a good job. I like to see people that want more for themselves and I can help improve their quality of life. That’s very nice to me, to be able to give people an answer to their problems.”

However, at the end of the day, Abby’s two little girls keep her moving in the right direction. “What gets me going is my girls, Audrey and Bea. I work hard so that they will have the opportunity to do whatever they want when they grow up. I pick up Saturdays at other clinics so I can show them the world and introduce them to other cultures. They are why I do what I do.” East Alabama is lucky to have Dr. Abby Adams. And we are all lucky to be part of this beautiful community full of talent, leadership and life.