Estero Dentist Aaron Leishman celebrates 20th Anniversary

 

By Cheryl Mandell

 

Exterior of the building before build-out

Exterior of the building before build-out

Twenty years ago, in April 2004, Aaron Leishman, DMD, and his wife, Melica, chose to open their new dental practice in a small town called Estero. It was a carefully executed plan, including an amount of foresight from Leishman.

“I chose Estero to start my practice because I had a vision of what it could become,” he said.

Leishman determined in high school that he wanted to own his own dental practice. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in biology from Berea College in Kentucky, he went on to graduate with high honors from the University of Florida College of Dentistry.

Leishman and his parents moved to Southwest Florida in 1994, and, soon after, he met his future wife at church. Melica’s family lived in Bonita Springs since the 1980s; she grew up knowing Estero only for its exit off I-75 — and its cow pastures. During their courtship, Leishman left Southwest Florida on a two-year mission trip to Brazil, but he and his future bride kept in touch through letters.

 

The Dental Dream Grows

Aaron and Melica married before they started dental school, and they joined together for the long haul at UF in Gainesville, where he attended dental school and she earned a bachelor’s in dental hygiene. When it came time to choose a location for their practice, the Leishmans chose Estero, specifically because it was positioned between Fort Myers and Naples.

“It really wasn’t saturated — there were only three dentists in this whole area,” Leishman said. “I liked Corkscrew Road; I liked its proximity to the interstate, to the airport, to the beach. It just seemed like the perfect place to start a practice.”

Before they even had a building, Leishman was conducting interviews at the library for an assistant and front desk receptionist.

The building they purchased was just a shell at the time, so major work was required to get the office up and running. Leishman saw the potential.

“When I saw it, I saw sort of an octagonal shape,” he said. “I could see a treatment room with a window where people could look out and see the sun, the trees, so I thought that would be a really nice place for people to lay back and relax.”

Dental Practice of Aaron Leishman_ DMD current staff photo

Aaron Leishman, DMD and his staff

The Leishmans and their three children have grown up along with the Village of Estero over the past 20 years.

“Alexis, our oldest, was 3 years old when we opened,” Aaron said. “Now she’s starting graduate school.”

Since opening his practice, Leishman has seen the construction of Gulf Coast Town Center, Coconut Point, the Hertz headquarters, the widening of Corkscrew Road, and the development of numerous gated communities.

After Hurricane Charlie, Leishman performed emergency extractions at his office with no power, using a headlamp for light.

“We’ve weathered storms Charlie, Wilma, Irma and Ian, and our dental practice has remained standing through them all,” Leishman said.

The practice remained open during the Covid-19 pandemic. Leishman and his dedicated staff improvised and overcame obstacles so they could continue to serve the community.

“We’ve been blessed to work with wonderful and talented team members,” said Leishman. “Chrissy Hatlee has been our gentle and caring hygienist for 18 years, and she’s truly part of our family.”

Leishman is quick to credit his wife for building much of the foundation upon which the business stands.

Recently Remodeled Reception Room

Recently Remodeled Reception Room

“Melica has been a loyal and supportive office manager and hygienist throughout the years and has been an integral part of the design process, working with contractors during the construction phase and collaborating all along,” Leishman said.

 

Looking to the Future

There have been many advancements in dental technology over the past two decades, and Leishman incorporates those into his practice. His office uses digital scanners, 3D printers and digital photography to provide the most accurate and efficient care to patients, who are the No. 1 priority.

Leishman said his highest priority is to ensure his patients are comfortable and confident when it comes to their treatment. Leishman’s staff is trained to be an extension of his beliefs. Some may call it the secret to his success after 20 years in business, despite growing options for dental care in the area. His patients are loyal — the earliest patients of his practice are still patients today.

“We’ve always remained true to our values and principles as a family-owned and operated business,” Leishman said.

He travels across the country throughout the year to stay on top of the latest innovations and treatments in dentistry. He has been voted one of the top dentists of Southwest Florida by his colleagues every year since 2011.

“I am truly blessed to enjoy my profession,” said Leishman. “After 20 years, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. When you really love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work.”

Redesigned Front Desk

Redesigned Front Desk Area

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