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Introducing Dr. Bell and Our New East Memphis Location

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As we close 2021, we wanted to share some exciting news that Dr. Norman Towbin has chosen Bellano Dental to take over his practice upon his retirement at the end of the year. We are so honored for this opportunity and have enjoyed working with Dr. Towbin during the transition. He has been kind enough to take some time to talk with us about his career, the transition, and introduce Dr. Bell, who will be his successor.


  • You have had a very successful and fulfilling career in dentistry. We would love to hear some highlights of your career and what led to your decision to retire?

I have been practicing dentistry for almost 44 years. My first office, back in ‘78, was on Belvedere and then I moved to my current East Memphis location in ‘93 where I have been ever since. Most of my patients made the move with me and to this day I still treat them, as well as their kids and their grandkids. I have become such good friends and even like family with my patients after all of these years so that is the hardest part of leaving for me. It is a bittersweet part of life but I made the decision to go into retirement so we could spend more time with our grandkids. We have 2 in Dallas which is why we finally decided to move there so we could watch them grow up.

  • How did you go about searching for a practice that would take over your practice?

I had 2 parameters that I needed met—the comfort of my staff and my patients. It was important that they feel comfortable with the group that I would end up choosing to take over my practice.

Bellano has met both parameters better than my expectations and my staff has been so pleased.

  • What made you choose Bellano?

The first thing they told me was that they wanted to keep my staff on board. They really saw my team as an asset in helping patients feel comfortable during all the changes and expressed concern for my patients and staff from the beginning. I was also really impressed with Bellano’s leadership team and all of the online reviews which were excellent—and I did my research by going through a lot of reviews. Even the specialists that work with Bellano spoke very highly of their team. I was so pleased that everything I read online matched what people were telling me. Overall, they have a great reputation.

  • Tell us a little about your practice and how your staff feels about joining the Bellano team?

The Bellano staff has made my staff feel very welcomed. They came to this office to help teach my staff the new systems and new technology that we have not offered here before. It is a big change for my staff but the Bellano team has never pressured them and allowed them to work at their own pace. They understand my staff has the relationships with the patients which is most important. I know the new technology is the way of the future so I am happy they are bringing that to this practice. My staff is so smart and there hasn’t been a problem at all.

  • Dr. Bell was chosen as your successor. Has she lived up to your expectations?

Both are better than what I expected. My patients have been very pleased meeting Dr. Bell. We were looking for someone with a low key, gentle nature similar to how I have treated my patients. She is so relaxed and puts the patients’ needs above everything. I am very happy to find someone who thinks like I do, who cares about people and my patients have noticed. It is clear she treats people really well. I don’t think I could have made a better choice with Dr. Bell and Bellano. I know once my patients meet Dr. Bell, they will like her as much as I do.

  • From what we’ve heard, you take great care of all your patients. Is there anything you would like to share with them in the midst of all this change?

I am very thankful and humbled for the opportunity to treat them all of these years. It is bittersweet because I'm sad to lose my patients who are also friends but that means I get more time with family. The vast majority of my patients have been with me for over 30 years and my staff ranges from 11 years to 25 years which makes it difficult to leave. I'm just pleased with the results I've seen so far and as time goes on I know they will keep going in that direction.


  • Dr. Bell, we have heard so many great things about you from Dr. Towbin. Can you tell us about your professional background like how long you’ve been in dentistry and what made you want to be a dentist?

My family members have all worked in healthcare so it was a pretty natural path for me. Everyone from my grandfather who was a town and country doctor that made house calls and delivered babies to my mom who became a nurse practitioner. It was actually my mom who recommended I go into dentistry because of my artistic side and background in healthcare. Dentistry is like engineering with a creative side.

  • Can you tell us more about how dentistry is like engineering with a creative side?

There's a lot of proportions that go into restoring someone's mouth and you need to have an eye for symmetry. On the creative side, there's a lot of shade matching and design choices like the hue, chroma, and value that all go into making a tooth fit with all the others. Shaping a tooth takes finesse and it is all done by hand so it is like being an artist. I like to think that I am not just engineering a fixed tooth but creating a smile. That requires a lot of trust from the patient. You need to be able to collaborate with them to make sure it looks how they would like. It's a big deal to be able to trust someone in that way.

  • What was your previous work experience like?

I’ve been practicing dentistry for over 7 years now. I previously worked at another practice in Arkansas that had multiple offices and I saw a lot of patients daily because of the way it was structured. A big part of that job was educating my patients about dental hygiene. It is important to me that patients understand dental hygiene and treatments so they can make the best decisions for themselves. I really enjoyed that part and worked to change the stigma of dentistry. I had to work hard to get my previous patients to trust me because they didn’t realize how dentistry had changed so much over the years. Real life experiences are the best form of education, and I got a lot of that at my previous practice.

  • You began seeing patients on Monday, Nov. 22nd, and since then Dr. Towbin has been there every day to help introduce you to the patients. How has that been going?

Dr. Towbin has curated something beautiful at his practice. I think 90% of the patients I have met have been with him for 30+ years. That in itself speaks about how genuine his character is and the connection he has with his patients. I witnessed people cry when they heard he was retiring because it is like a community of family members that go here. It has been an honor and a challenge because of the big shoes to fill and I promise to live up to his standards. Dr. Towbin has really helped me get acclimated here and has introduced me to his patients which has helped as I work to build their trust. It is beautiful how people trust him. All the patients are so amazing and I am building some great relationships. Part of being a doctor is knowing your patients, not just reading medical records. It's knowing different facets of their life and connecting the dots.

  • What made you want to join Dr. Towbin’s team and the Bellano team?

I was really drawn to how inclusive they are. When I started having meetings with the Bellano team, they were collaborative and immediately made me feel seen and heard. The culture they have created with their doctors and staff has been amazing to become part of. Patients really benefit from this team-oriented culture, receiving better care, and they know that every person at Bellano is striving to give them the best possible experience and treatment plan for their individual needs. Also, I am from Memphis. The chance to come home, and work for this great Memphis practice was something I couldn’t pass up.

  • If you had to pick 1 dental procedure that is your favorite to perform, what would it be?

There are a couple of favorites. Any procedure that can provide immediate relief is really satisfying, like removing a problematic tooth. I like being able to take that pain away.

I also enjoy fixing chipped teeth. Seeing people gaining their full smile back is so rewarding. Giving back self confidence and happiness is huge and a chipped tooth can take that away. One of my favorite stories was when a patient came in to fix a chipped tooth because his daughter was bringing home her new husband for Thanksgiving. I loved being able to help him show off his smile and build that connection.

  • What do you like to do outside of work? Any interesting hobbies?

I am a midtowner and would never live anywhere else. I like being outdoors, hiking, camping, backpacking, concerts and spending time with my dog in the garden. Every year I grow tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs. I also love just hanging out with friends and supporting my musician friends. During times in the past few years when it was hard to be together, we set up a movie screen outside so we enjoy that on the weekends.

  • Is there anything you would like to share with your new patients?

Forging those relationships based on trust and integrity is really important to me. Going to the dentist can be like going to the mechanic—patients have to trust someone else and hope they picked a good person. That can be stressful! I want people to feel comfortable and know that I have their best interests at heart. Figuring out the best treatment plan for each individual patient starts by giving them information they can understand, to then make informed decisions. It's a collaboration. There are many different ways to approach treating common dental issues, and I feel like it is my job to tell you about those options so you can make the best decision for you. It is very personal. Dr. Towbin has even said that some of his treatments may not be the textbook because he chooses what is best for his patients by collaborating and figuring out their needs. I plan to live up to his standards and treat his patients the same way.

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Bellano East Memphis - Dr. Bell