Teeth Exam

Dr. Phillip Buckley views a patient’s dental X-rays during a routine exam Monday, Nov. 25, at his practice, St. Clair Family Dentistry. He took over the practice from Dr. James Bunge who retired in July.

Dr. Phillip Buckley will offer dental implants and mouth guards to treat snoring and sleep apnea to his patients in St. Clair.

In July, Buckley took over the dentistry practice located at 525 E. Springfield Road from Dr. James Bunge who retired.

St. Clair Family Dentistry offers teeth cleanings, X-rays, root canals, fillings, crowns, bridges and more. Implants and sleep apnea treatments, such as mouth guards, are items that Buckley will have available to his patients in the near future.

Sleep apnea mouth guards can extend life expectancy, according to Buckley. He said a mouth guard is worn on the top and bottom of a mouth that hold the lower jaw open to draw in more air while a person sleeps.

“I’m excited about doing that, but it also takes a lot in terms of coordination with physicians, so it’s something that I’m trying to figure out how to implement,” Buckley said.

In 2010, he earned a BA in biology from Ava Maria University, located in Florida, and graduated from the University Missouri Kansas School of Dentistry in 2014.

During dental school, Buckley received a scholarship through the U.S. Army Health Professions program.

After graduation, Buckley accepted a dentistry residency with the Army from 2014 to July 2019. He was stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky for one year and at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas for four years.

At Fort Campbell, Buckley said he gained experience in comprehensive procedures by working alongside an oral surgeon, a periodontist, an endodontist, and a prosthodontist, among other professionals.

“Lots of different specialties working together to really learn how to comprehensively treat patients was super beneficially to way I view treatment planning,” he said. “I think it made my treatment planning a lot more advanced prior to that.”

He added that his training at Fort Campbell gave him the skills required for specialized procedures. At Fort Leavenworth, Buckley said he treated active duty soldiers and inmates who needed dentures and root canals.

Buckley also conducted intraoral scans, which is the latest technology for teeth impressions than traditional plaster molds. Intraoral scans allow dentists to do permanent crowns versus having to do temporary crowns first, according to Buckley.

“The reason we did that in the military was so that people could get deployed easily without wearing temporary crowns,” he said.

Treating patients in the Army is slightly different than private practice, according to Buckley, because insurance and payments not a concern.

“We were able to just give patients ideal treatment without them worrying about finances, which was definitely of benefit to the military,” he said. “It’s not the same reality that we have in private practice. It’s working to come up with a way to help people be able to afford it.”

When h residency ended earlier this year, Buckley was searching for his next career move. He called several dentists who were retiring and Bunge was one of them.

“I came out, visited him, and visited the practice,” Buckley said. “I liked the town. I liked the practice and what he was doing here.”

He added that Bunge’s philosophies were aligned with his in terms of serving as many people as he could and doing good work.

Buckley grew up in Shrewsbury, a St. Louis suburb, so having a practice in St. Clair “seemed it would be a good fit to get back toward St. Louis,” he said.

“I like the pace of the smaller town too rather than being in the big city,” he added.

He said the people in St. Clair are friendly and it’s a close-knit community. Buckley is looking forward to growing and advancing his practice.

“I look forward to meeting everybody in town and welcome them into the office,” he said. “We’ll take good care of them and put their interest and needs above our own.”

Buckley and his wife Michaela have three children, Paul, 4, Simon, 3, and Mariannina, 1. They are currently live Wildwood.

For more information, visit stclairfamilydentistry.com or call 636-629-1103.