Dentist Bahrum Mehr, a legacy University of Washington Husky, has set up practice in Bremerton in the office previously known as Dr. Pitcher’s Practice. Dr. Pitcher’s recent retirement left a need for a family-oriented dentist with a commitment to the local community, and that’s exactly why Dr. Mehr chose the Bremerton office to set up his new practice, Safe Harbor Smiles.
“That’s why I didn’t specialize,” says Dr. Mehr, when asked about the role he plays in his patients’ lives. “I want to be there for my patients. I want to see my patients and their families throughout their lives, not just once during an emergency.
It’s obvious that the soft-spoken dentist doesn’t like to brag, but the truth is that although the highly-skilled professional is able to take care of a patient’s basic dental health needs, he is also able to treat them for more comprehensive work, such as cosmetic and restorative.
One trait that really sets Dr. Mehr apart is that he truly understands the importance of having a committed and compassionate dentist. As a child, he was an extraordinarily healthy — except when it came to his teeth.
He suffered from early childhood caries, the malady commonly known as baby bottle syndrome, in which baby teeth decay rapidly. His parents took him to see several dentists. Most wanted to simply extract his baby teeth, since new ones would grow out eventually.
“They wanted to take the easy way out,” remembers Dr. Mehr. But not Dr. Daryl Eckland, a dentist and family friend who went the extra mile to treat the young Bahrum instead of leaving the child without any teeth. “He inspired me to do that, go that extra mile, for others,” Mehr adds.
How often do you hear about a dentist who gives out his cell phone number to his patients or calls them the night after they have surgery just to make sure that they’re feeling okay? Not often. It is that level of commitment that proves Dr. Mehr really does go that extra mile for his patients.
“My personal philosophy is that the worst thing you can do is to tell someone how to feel instead of trying to figure out why they are feeling that way,” shares Dr. Mehr.
That philosophy is why he places such a high value on communication. “There are so many reasons that someone can be scared,” he explains. “Are they scared of the needle? The outcome? Instead of brushing them off like it’s no big deal, it is better to address the situation.”
Putting patients at ease — by whatever means necessary — is a top priority for Dr. Mehr. “I can be somewhat of a chair-side comedian sometimes,” he explains. “I spend time with you. There’s no rush. We have all the time in the world to get you numb.”
Dr. Mehr met Dr. Cramer by chance, but was instantly impressed by his dentistry philosophy. Both doctors believe in staying ahead of the industry, treating patients like family, and giving back to the community.
So when Dr. Cramer bought Dr. Pitcher’s Practice with friend and business partner Dr. Steve Smith of Yelm Dental, Dr. Mehr was eager to get on board.
Of course, that “family philosophy” meant that everyone had to be on board — even the retiring Dr. Pitcher. Dr. Cramer asked Dr. Mehr to speak with Dr. Pitcher and Dr. Pitcher approved of the passionate, young doctor.
“He passed the gauntlet,” jokes Dr. Mehr. “I think I was hired the next day,” he recalls, still smiling.
The transition was made easy due to the dedication of office manager, Michelle Schmitz, who had served as Dr. Pitcher’s receptionist and was promoted to her current position by Dr. Cramer.
“She’s been instrumental in my success,” says Dr. Mehr. As much as he considers patients to be like family, he sees his office staff the same way. “The girls are like sisters. I’m so glad they have accepted me as they have,” he says. “We’re always trying to ‘out nice’ each other,” he adds, laughing.
While he is excited to carry on the tradition of a family-oriented practice, he has also increased the number of procedures offered, in the hopes of being there for his patients, no matter what their specific oral care needs may be. Apart from basic dental services, Dr. Mehr also performs root canals, extractions, implants and bone grafts, as well as other services.
“I take it very seriously,” he says of his profession. “I go home at night and read about dentistry. I take pride in my work. I really enjoy looking at something I did and appreciating it on an artistic level.”
Safe Harbor Smiles
3036 Perry Ave., Suite C
Bremerton, WA 98310