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Laurel Smile Dentistry Success Story

This Dentist Learned About SBA’s 504 program through Word of Mouth

Dr. Mussie Sibhatu received his Doctorate degree from the University Of Michigan School Of Dentistry. He specializes in prosthodontics, or rehabilitating broken teeth.  Dr. Sibhatu gained advanced training in full mouth rehabilitation of complex dental cases, placing and restoring implants, removable dentures and cosmetic dentistry.  He provides both general and specialty care to his patients.

Dr. Sibhatu decided to open his practice, Laurel Smile Dentistry, in the Laurel District because he had lived in Oakland before going to dental school. After practicing for a few years in Arizona, he wanted to come back to the Bay Area. When the opportunity to purchase a practice on MacArthur Blvd presented itself, Dr. Sibhatu jumped at the chance.

“I always heard about the SBA loans they provided to small business,” he said. He began his process by approaching a bank to consider a 7(a) loan. After careful consideration, he chose to go with the 504 instead due to its lower down payment. The bank referred him to TMC Financing, a Certified Development Company (CDC).

The 504 Loan Program provides approved small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization.  504 loans are made available through CDCs, SBA's community based partners for providing 504 Loans.

“Owning is cheaper than renting,” Dr. Sibhatu observed. He also values the control he has over his premises; he and his architect are working on remodeling plans now. Laurel Smile Dentistry already occupies two of the four units in the building, and the Doctor intends to expand into a third unit as well. His goal is to provide comprehensive preventative, restorative and cosmetic solutions based on the individual wants and needs of his patients.  Expanding his practice will help him meet his goal for even more patients.

Born and raised in Eritrea, Dr. Sibhatu knows that access to good oral care is not something to take for granted.  As such, he goes on an annual two week trip to Kenya along with other dentists and dental hygienists to provide free dental services to children.  He hopes in future trips to extend his volunteer practice to rural areas and adults.