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Simpsonville dentist inspires and guides Furman students

Dentist Matt Bynum and Caleb Kim ’26.

Last updated June 15, 2024

By Erikah Haavie

Walking into the waiting area at Matt Bynum’s office is almost like walking into his living room. It’s comfortable. Bynum, known by his patients as Dr. Matt, doesn’t even wear a white coat. Eliminating barriers in the doctor-patient relationship is part of his practice and a lesson he imparts to young dentists-to-be.

In the past two years, Bynum has mentored three Furman students, including his son, Luke Bynum ’23, who is currently enrolled in dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Last summer, he hosted Katelyn Sousa ’24, captain of Furman’s lacrosse team. She will begin her dental training this fall.

“Internships like these provide Furman students with invaluable hands-on experience in health-related fields,” said Kerry Sease, executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of Community Health (IACH). “It allows them to apply classroom knowledge to real-world situations, build professional networks and gain the skills and confidence needed to excel in their future health careers.”

IACH currently offers 225 internships throughout the summer and the academic year to give students opportunities to gain academic credit and explore different health professions with more than 100 community partners. These IACH collaborations enhance the health and well-being of the whole community. Health Education Manager Loretta Crowley and Health Careers Internships Coordinator Rebecca Redman manage those relationships.

Caleb Kim ’26 was Bynum’s latest intern from Furman during the spring semester. Kim and his identical twin brother, Joshua, are both health science majors from Charlotte, North Carolina, and they’re both planning careers in dentistry. This semester, Joshua also completed his internship at Family Dental Health in Greenville with the support of IACH.

This spring, Caleb Kim also volunteered as part of the dental program at the Greenville Free Medical Clinic on Thursdays. His experience with Bynum Aesthetic Dentistry gave him a second opportunity, a window into another side of general dentistry, he said. Kim’s experience working alongside Bynum and fellow dentist Mollie Matz on Wednesdays enabled him to observe a wide range of procedures, including veneers, crowns and implants. He also assisted the dental hygienists and dental assistants with patients and helped set up rooms and sterilize equipment.

In one case, he was able to observe a “full smile change,” a dental surgery where a patient with no teeth received an entire set of dental implants.

“I was so impressed by how Dr. Matt treated his patients,” Kim said. “He is gifted at making his patients feel comfortable.”

It’s a soft skill that’s vitally important for dentists, a skill that’s part of a growth mindset he works to share with students, said Bynum, who has been practicing for 29 years and co-authored a book, “The Boomerang Effect,” which focuses on what dentists need to believe to be financially and emotionally successful.

“I always ask myself, how can we help the next generation of students,” he said. “My goals are to share my passion for dentistry with them, to build students’ confidence as they interact with patients and to help them to really enjoy their time with us.”

Bynum’s formula seems to be working, and he’s looking forward to hosting more Furman students in the future through his partnership with IACH.

“This experience has reaffirmed my passion for dentistry,” Kim said.

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