Dr. Finley was born into a family of educators. His mother was a second-grade teacher, and his father was a math professor. When Dr. Finley was in the fourth grade, the family moved to Monroe, where his father accepted a faculty position at Northeast Louisiana University (now the University of Louisiana at Monroe).
Dr. Finley’s desire to become a dentist was influenced by his uncle, who was a dentist in Missouri and enjoyed his work a lot. His uncle noticed that from a young age, Dr. Finley was particularly skilled with his hands. After attending ULM, where he played baseball as a freshman and received his bachelor of science degree, Dr. Finley decided to pursue a career in dentistry. He knew it would be fulfilling because dentistry would allow him to work with his hands, use his artistic abilities, and help people. He obtained his degree as a doctor of dental surgery from LSU New Orleans School of Dentistry.
“I have always seen the science and art of dentistry as a never-ending learning experience, and because of this I have always strived to learn as much as I can about my craft.”
His Treatment Philosophy
Dr. Finley feels that each lost tooth is a step closer to not having any teeth at all, so his focus is on prevention and saving teeth whenever possible. Early in his career, he studied endodontics so he could provide root canal treatments and save teeth.
Dr. Finley has a vivid childhood memory of a horrible dental experience. The dentist’s injection was so painful that he says, “I swear it felt like the dentist was hammering a hot nail into my head.” That experience continues to fuel Dr. Finley’s commitment to practice painless dentistry. He has developed the art of delivering pain-free injections, comfortable root canal treatments, and painless dental care overall. Many of his patients are surprised when a procedure is complete, but they didn’t feel anything at all.
Dr. Finley is one of only 60 dentists in the world who have earned Accredited Fellow status in cosmetic dentistry. Still, he feels that the priority for all of his patients is function. In his words, “You can’t have long-term aesthetics without proper function and occlusion that protect against damage. Prevention is the key to the longevity of the dentistry we do.”
What He Finds Most Satisfying about Dentistry
Dr. Finley loves people and the relationships that dentistry creates with patients. He has multiple generations of patients. He says:
“I also love being able to give a patient a shot and have them tell me that they didn’t feel it. Or doing a root canal and hearing a patient ask, ‘Is that all there is to it?’ I love it when a patient says that they hate dentists but not me, or that the only reason they come to the dentist is me. I love helping children not be fearful of the dental visit. I love the true complexity of dentistry and solving the puzzle. And of course, I love cosmetics and helping patients smile. Creating smiles lets me use my artistic eye, my hands, my knowledge, and my heart to help a patient.”
Education and Training
- BS – University of Louisiana Monroe
- DDS – LSU New Orleans School of Dentistry
- 80 hours of continuing education each year—four times the amount required by the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry
One of the things in my dental career that I’m most proud of is the fact that I went through an extremely difficult and long accreditation process to be one of the best cosmetic dentists around. I knew that if I did that, if I followed through and became accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, that it would make all my other dentistry better because what it did is it created this eye where I look at things differently than I used to.
Whether it’s a filling in the back or a root canal or taking out a wisdom tooth or doing gum surgery or creating a beautiful smile or placing implants, that accreditation process created a fire in me to try to be perfect. My eye for accuracy, my eye for quality improved dramatically over time, and I try to put every effort into every aspect of dentistry as I would into a new smile. And so we expanded our offerings to patients where now, we place implants. We do implants under dentures. We do All-on-4™ implants, where you can have a denture made, it snaps onto four or six implants, or they actually are held in place by screws so that the patient can’t take them out. So there’s no worry about, “I sneezed and my denture jumped out of my mouth.”
You know, they’re anchored in the mouth, just like teeth. We like to create invisible smiles, and that’s the whole thing. I can walk out in the mall and I can spot a denture a mile away and I can spot ugly crowns a mile away, but I can’t spot my smiles a mile away, and neither can other people. And that’s the key: is to create that invisible smile that people – it just looks like they had their teeth all these years, and that’s the way they’ve been. It’s so pretty.
- Accredited Fellow – American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD)
- Fellow – Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) (fewer than 30 dentists worldwide have achieved both AACD and AGD fellowships)
- Winner of nine medals in the AACD annual Smile Gallery Competition over five consecutive years, including four gold medals
- Monroe Chamber of Commerce – 2016 Thomas H. Scott Spirit of Excellence Award
- American Dental Association
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
- Academy of General Dentistry
- American Academy of Implant Dentistry
Dr. Finley and his wife, Valerie have five children—Megan, Ashton, Kaleb, and twins Kristin and Coalton—and one grandson, Parker. They also have five dogs.
In his leisure time, Dr. Finley enjoys ﬁshing, target shooting, working in the yard, and completing Valerie’s honey-do list. For 15 years, he coached boys’ youth leagues. Read our community involvement page to see how Dr. Finley and his team give back to Monroe.