East Coast Comeback

Dr Nano's dental comeback story after a fire

After a fire destroyed much of his practice, Dr. Safwan Joseph Nano was up and running just two weeks later.

On the night of December 30, 2018, most people across the country were settling in for the evening, perhaps anticipating their upcoming New Years’ Eve festivities. But for Dr. Safwan Joseph Nano, a peaceful evening in South Portland, Maine was cut short when his brother alerted him that an alarm had been triggered at the office of Nano Dentistry.

A faulty light was to blame, but by the time Nano arrived on the scene, teams of firefighters swarmed around his building to contain a blaze that had reached his oxygen tank and turned a small blaze into a serious problem. Nearby roads were closed.

“When I arrived, the flames moved from roof to roof on our building, and it was clear that this was going to be a major event,” Nano said. “On television, it looked like a war zone.”

As local news teams arrived on scene to document the event, Nano had the presence of mind to make vital phone calls. Family. Insurance. Patterson.

Late Night. Head Start.

For over 13 years, Nano had relied upon Patterson Equipment Specialist Dennis Martin for a variety of needs. So when Nano called on a Sunday night at 9:30 p.m., there was no surprise when Martin answered the phone.

“When I reached Dennis, he said he was sorry about the fire, but I was like, ‘I need a place to work,’” Nano said. “So while I was watching the emergency teams put out the fire, he told me about an office that was available.”

And just like that, as the fire consumed the practice he’d built, recovery plans were already underway.

The first stroke of good fortune came in the way of a nearby vacant dental practice that had been on the market for months. Nano and Martin did a walkthrough just two days after the fire and determined the space was move-in ready. Chairs. X-ray units. They quickly closed the deal and coordinated with the elated office team to started moving equipment. There was no time to lose.

“We were really lucky to find this practice – honestly, if you put the fire aside, it was one good thing after another in the process of getting operational,” Nano said. “The office location was just five miles away from our former building and was actually more convenient for some of our patients.”

nano dentistry temporary location after fire

With the temporary space secured, it was time to start contacting patients. Thanks to their onsite data backup, they were able to quickly retrieve Eaglesoft practice management and all patient data.

It would be fair to say that patients were equal parts mystified and over the moon when Nano Dentistry was calling to confirm appointments just seven days after suffering a debilitating loss.

“Everybody was so surprised that we were rescheduling,” Nano said. “They thought we’d be down for a while, and a few had even made other plans.”

Moving Forward

Nano loves working with the latest technology. In his former practice, he installed the full range of Dentsply Sirona innovations, from Omnicam to Orthophos. And while he temporarily lost his practice home, he was able to work with Patterson to get loaner equipment moved onsite and maintain the highest-possible level of patient care.

And while Nano had no prior plans to add to his assortment of advanced equipment, the unforeseen circumstances allowed him to onboard CEREC Primescan AC – the newest scanning unit from Dentsply Sirona – unveiled in early February.

“When I got the Primescan, it was fantastic because we were the first practice in Maine to install,” Nano said. “It was a big surprise because not only were we already operational, we were actually upgrading.”

Now, filled with gratefulness and hope, Nano is looking toward rebuilding his old practice. In fact, since it wasn’t a total loss, he’s working with a local contractor and his Patterson team to inhabit the same space in late 2019.

“We were able to salvage the blueprints from the old building – they were a little wet, but usable,” Nano said. “So I’ve been meeting with Dennis and we hope to be back home by December.”

But with the way he works, it wouldn’t be wise to bet against an earlier date.