The Dental Office, Dr. Mark Santana welcomes Dr. Nick Barbon to his downtown dental practice.


When I first entered Dr. Santana’s office, which occupies the entire downtown corner block of Queen Street and Elgin in the beautiful historic Cochrane Block Building, I was awestruck by the breadth of beauty in this modern elegant reception space. The ceilings are high and the near floor to ceiling windows fill the space with available light. This in turn casts a warm welcome on the modern decor. I was here to write a story about Mark’s choice for an associate and to present him to our readership.

What were you looking for in a new associate? “My patients are everything  to me. I was the first associate in this office. My father started all of this in 1959. I have the privilege of taking care of the third, fourth and fifth generations of his legacy.

While I am definitely not planning to retire anytime soon…what matters to me? Who is going to care for the next generations? In my search, I started with values. What is it about this office, or better yet, the people that have placed their trust in us that has allowed us to care for so many generations.

There are few healthcare relationships that demand and achieve such a high level of inter-personal connection like dentistry. I believe the greatest value we can bring to our profession is an all out love of people, irrespective of their stripes and a commitment to caring for them. Through that, trust comes”.

“Nick and I had many conversations leading up to the decision to mutually come together and we have had many more since. Of course we have our dental geek talks – new materials, techniques, the latest equipment etc. But it was Nick’s experience in an outreach program that sold me on his fit for my office.

Nick graduated from University of Detroit Mercy in May 2016. In one of our candid conversations, he reflected  on his time at Detroit Mercy and in particular, on an out-reach program for underprivileged children the school offers it’s students. “I had never seen children so enthusiastic and energetic about seeing the dentist.

It was through this experience that I came to understand for the first time the awesome opportunity we are afforded as dentists and how important it is to humble yourself to this position we are given and know that it can never be squandered. You may only get one chance. In the four years I spent at UDM, this experience was the most rewarding and is one that I will hold close to me throughout my professional career”.

When Nick told me of this experience and what he learned from it, I was sold. You can’t teach that kind  of perspective to a 24 year old kid. He just has it.

Tell us more about Dr. Barbon. “I liked that he was from Sault Ste. Marie and our patients feel he will be here for the long haul because of this. He is invested emotionally in the Soo and is the future of  our city.” Nick adds, “Sault Ste. Marie is home to my parents, Kim and Walter, my sister Sarah and much of my extended family. My parents helped me greatly with my education and put their lives on hold to help get me through dental school. The emotional aspects of going through the rigours of a dental education and being away from home can be overwhelming at times. My family has been there every step of the way and I can’t thank them enough for their support.”

How has Nick’s introduction to your office been? “Patients are eager to meet me. They want to make personal connections by asking if I’m related to so and so, what part of town do I live in, where do my parents work etc. You know, classic Sault Ste. Marie. It’s great!  It’s why I came back.”

What does this mean for Dr. Barbon? “Getting to know Nick in the past 6 months and seeing how he appreciates every opportunity to serve our patients, Nick will be an excellent dentist. He has all skills needed to succeed.  He will be a great asset to our community”

If you are in need of care, be it for an emergency or for a lifelong dental relationship, I encourage you to support him. Our office welcomes new patients.

The Dental Office, 388 Queen Street East at Elgin .The Cochrane Block Building 705-759-4780