Pennino Family Dentistry - A True Family Practice

Businesses Around Town
July 26, 2017

Pennino Family Dentistry is not only a dentistry for families but also quite literally a dentistry OF family.

The practice, headed by husband and wife Dr. Doug & Amy Pennino, is now joined by two of their four sons, Dr. Chase & Dr. Connor, who are also dentists.

Born and raised in Arlington Heights, Dr. Doug graduated from Rolling Meadows High School and went on to attend the University of Iowa for undergraduate and dental school. At the University of Iowa, he met his wife Amy, herself originally from Davenport, Iowa.

The couple moved back to the Northwest suburbs, started a practice in Barrington, and have been moving the practice every couple years for the past 27 years.

Now, with a recent move to a location on Northwest Highway, it looks like they've found a permanent location. Living60010 talked to Dr. Doug & Amy Pennino about this practice’s 27-year history in the Barrington area and what makes this featured Barrington Bank & Trust ‘Business Around Town’ so special.

Living60010: Can you give us a little history on the Pennino practice and how it's changed over the years?

Dr. Doug: I graduated in 1989 from dental school, and an equipment representative who was going to help me start a practice told me about a practice for sale in Barrington. The woman who owned the practice had two young children and was pregnant with her third and did not want to own an office any longer. So we came out here to look at it, and it was a pretty small practice right on Hager (right by where the Sweet Spot is currently). That’s where we were for the first ten years.

Then we moved over to a spot on Old Northwest Highway by the Field of Dreams, then to a place on Lyons Drive for 5 years, and then we moved to our new location where we’ve been for just about a year.

Amy: Permanently. Final Destination.

Dr. Doug: Yeah, we’re never moving ever again.

Living60010: Why establish in the Barrington community?

Dr. Doug: Great place to work. I’m familiar with the area (from Arlington Heights, currently living in Crystal Lake, and a graduate of Rolling Meadows High School). One of the nicest places to live and work has to be Barrington. It’s right on the train line, has a great community with a high percentage of people who are highly educated and care about their health. So, from that perspective, you couldn’t be in a better place.

Living60010: Pennino Dentistry has been in Barrington since 1990, but recently had a location change. How has the move changed your business?

Dr. Doug: It’s not even close. As we’ve moved, each location has gotten a little bit better, with better visibility and facilities. We knew the owners of this building and the building was vacant, so we came to an agreement pretty quickly and made a nice purchase. It turned out to be a great location, and you’d be surprised by how many people come to us from drive-bys. People get stuck in traffic out in front, and they’re like, “Oh, I saw your building!” In comparison, our building on Lyons Drive had much better visibility than we’d had up until that point, but this one is so much better.

Amy: We made the move mainly because our boys were also going to be joining us and we wanted to expand and grow. We wanted to have room for the additional personnel and the newfound visibility was really just a side-effect.

Living60010: Like father, like son. You and your two sons in the practice went to the University of Iowa for undergrad & dental school. Why Iowa?

Dr. Doug: Well, firstly, Iowa is where we met, so Iowa City has a great vibe for us. Secondly, I think we all went there just because it’s the best. That’s it. (laughs) It does happen to actually be one of the top dental schools, probably top 10 in the country. Also, it’s a state university, so it’s a little bit less expensive, it’s fairly close, a three-and-a-half hour drive or so and it’s easy to get back and forth. It works out better if you go to undergrad there if you know you’re going to go to dental school there.

We weren’t really pushy as far as the boys (Connor and Chase) going to Iowa. You know how some families go back to their school with their kids and they tailgate at games? We actually hadn’t been back there since we left. So when Chase was starting to look at schools, he was like, “Well, I guess I’m gonna look at Wisconsin… and I’m gonna look at Iowa”, and maybe just because we had gone there. But we never really took them to Iowa beforehand.

Living60010: You openly offer office tours, as well as offering water bottles to waiting patients. How important is courtesy in your business?

Amy: It’s huge. Courtesy, comfort; it’s all about the patient. Making sure that when people come in they feel welcome. A lot of people have fears of coming to the dental office. But also, personally, I think that courtesy is becoming lost in our society. I think that it’s so important that when people come in that they feel like we’re happy that they’re here, happy to see them, take care of them, etc. Full service is very important to us in that we do whatever we can to help make their visit easier; that’s basically what we’re here for. So to me, when people walk through the front door, it’s important that everybody at the front desk is friendly, helpful, answers all their questions. And also when they go back to the dental offertories, the courtesy from the hygienists and the doctors is still there.

Living60010: There's an entire section on your website devoted to Patient Education, and you also list on your website, "We believe informed patients are better prepared to make decisions about their health and well-being." Clearly, patient education is an important aspect to you. Can you speak on that?

Dr. Doug: Informed consent. If people are going to make an informed decision, they need to know what their current state is, what their options are, different approaches, what the price points are for those different approaches.

Amy: I think it definitely improves people’s dental health by educating people. I mean, there’s no question; I think the more you know, the more you care about what you’re doing with your health.

Dr. Doug: And this is a community that has a high dental IQ. A lot of college-educated people who care. People want to know, so we make it openly available.

Living60010: What do you think makes you different from the plethora of dentists in the Barrington area?

Amy: I think our service and our culture, the people that we have who work here, etc.

Dr. Doug: When you really look at some of the places that have done well, it is service. Nobody wants to be treated like a commodity, and I think if we act like we’re a commodity, then we’ll be treated like a commodity. So we will try and differentiate ourselves from other places by doing things that nobody else will do.

Amy: And going the extra mile. Doing the extra stuff that people appreciate. Trying to put yourself in their position and thinking, “How would you like to be treated?”

Dr. Doug: We talk about this all time; if you’ve had a service experience that was really bad, you remember those. But you also remember the really good service. Like when you bring your car somewhere and somebody opens the door for you, you’re like, “Wow, that was really nice.” When somebody gives you great service, you usually remember.

Living60010: Can you tell us about your relationship with Barrington Bank & Trust?

Dr. Doug: They’ve been very supportive. We’ve been customers of theirs for 5 or 6 years, and it’s nice to do local banking. When you have a request, there’s always somebody who you can meet with face-to-face, and that’s a big advantage when you do business locally. And you can stop in and be like, “We’re looking to buy a piece of equipment, and we need to set up a loan and it needs to be relatively quickly,” and you can meet with that person right on the same day. Huge advantage.

For more information, visit Pennino Family Dentistry's website here.