I became a dentist for several reasons, but primarily I like helping people and I like serving. There's a little bit of artistic flair to it as well, so you can kind of create things. You know, a tooth is not a tooth is not a tooth. You know, you can make it really match, and you can change people's lives with a smile and all those things.
The other thing is, I always liked the atmosphere of a dental office. As a matter of fact, most of our patients come in and they talk about the laughter that they hear here. It should be fun. I mean, it's a scary place. Dentistry has a scary kind of an overtone to it.
I became a dentist to have more time with my family, to have some time off and to really be a husband and a dad. And (inaudible), it’s probably not the ... I don't know where this would fit in, but certainly I believe God called me to be a dentist, too. I believe that's been the direction of my life. I've known I wanted to be a dentist since I was 10 years old, and so I geared my whole life to become a dentist.
The most rewarding part is, one, serving people and being able to serve them in a way that, one, you take away their pain. You know? So, we serve them in different ways. We take away their pain, their ... they have an infection or something. So that's very rewarding, because they go from pain and discomfort to back to having a normal life again.
In 1987, I went to ASU Jonesboro for five years. Graduated there in 1992, and then I went to LSU in New Orleans, to the school of dentistry, graduated there in 1996. I went to LSU primarily because it would get me in the clinic the fastest. In other words, they would allow me more time to learn how to treat patients. Of all the schools that I had access to, LSU got you in the clinic the fastest, and that's what I wanted to be - was the best clinical dentist to be able to help and take care of people.
Continuing education-wise, I'm kind of a continuing education junkie. When I got out of school, I just made a list of all the things that I felt like I was deficient in, and then I just started checking off that list as I went to enough education to get that part. It started with children's dentistry and endodontics, the root canals. And then it went from there to orthodontics – putting on braces, straightening people's teeth, making their smiles pretty, making their bites right. From there it's gone into implants, and dentures, and things like that. So, I'm just constantly going to learn.
Dr. Joseph Barker graduated from Arkansas State University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He then received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Louisiana State University in 1996. After graduation, he moved back to his hometown of Newport, AR. There he worked with Dr. Mike Brown as an associate dentist for eight years. He then purchased an office in Brinkley, AR, working there for 11 years before selling the practice. In 2016, he opened his current practice in Searcy.
Dr. Barker enjoys serving others through his work. Given this, it’s not surprising he was named the New Dentist of the Year for Arkansas in 2006. Earlier, in 1996, he received an Operative Dentistry Award and Outstanding Senior Dentist Award.
Dr. Barker lives in Newport with his wife, Lori, and their son, Tyler. He is a member of the First Baptist Church, where he teaches Sunday school class. He enjoys mission work and helping those in need. In his off time, he also enjoys spending time with his family and their Labrador retrievers. The entire family loves spending time outdoors.