Dr. James R. Mattingly, DDS: Destined for Dentistry
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Program Reporter
WALNUT CREEK — Many people don’t discover their professional proclivities until later in life, but Dr. James R. Mattingly, DDS seemed predisposed for dental work from a young age. “Unlike a lot of kids who grew up with a fear of being in the dentist’s chair, going to the dentist was always a positive experience for me,” he remembers. “Later, during my undergrad years at UC Davis, I was debating whether to go into medicine or dentistry. It wasn’t until I did some volunteer work in the dental field that I decided it was the path I wanted to take.”
Dr. Mattingly graduated from dental school in 1997 with high honors in the top 10% of his class and immediately began working in Walnut Creek, CA. Today, after nearly two decades in the field, he says his favorite part of his job is the opportunity to impact his patients’ lives. “I get a lot of satisfaction from helping my patients, whether it’s curing them of their fears or improving their smiles. A restored smile can really change a person’s outlook on their day-to-day life, so that’s a pretty remarkable thing.”
A lifetime resident of Northern California, Dr. Mattingly lives in Walnut Creek with his wife, Tracy, and their children, Grace and J.J. When asked his favorite part about living and working in the Bay Area, he cites the region’s vast diversity. “In the Bay Area, you get to meet people from all over the world, and they all have different cultures, backgrounds, and careers,” he says. “It really keeps my job fresh and exciting because I never know who I’m going to meet next and what stories they’ll share.”
Outside of work, Dr. Mattingly spends most of his time hanging out with his family and pursuing outdoor activities. “Whether it’s winter or summer, I love being outdoors,” he affirms. “Some of my favorite pastimes include hiking, skiing, dirt and mountain biking, and playing tennis and golf.” In addition to these active pursuits, Dr. Mattingly appreciates the opportunity to settle in with a good book. “I love to read when I have some quiet downtime.”
As a dental professional, Dr. Mattingly espouses the importance of empowering his patients. “I’m not here to twist anyone’s arm or lecture them,” he says. “Rather, I provide my patients with good information, keep the lines of communication open and let them decide what’s best for their situations. I always give them my recommendations, but I think it’s important for patients to feel confident about the decisions they’re making.”
When asked what his future retirement might look like, Dr. Mattingly says he’ll continue to stay involved in the field even after retiring from full-time practice. “I’d still want to keep a hand in dentistry, and I’d love to do it on a purely volunteer basis. It would be a great way to give back to the community, so that’s something I look forward to.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Do you have a favorite sports team?
A: I have a favorite team or player in just about every sport. In football, it’s the San Francisco 49ers; in baseball, it’s the San Francisco Giants; and in golf, it’s Phil Mickelson.
Q: Did you play any sports in high school?
A: I played basketball, tennis and soccer.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
A: Montecatini Ristorante in Walnut Creek.
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: From a faith standpoint, it’s Easter, but the 4th of July is a close second—it’s a neat time to celebrate our great nation, plus there’s good food and company!
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: Definitely an early bird. I thoroughly enjoy getting up when things are still quiet and calm, having a cup of coffee,and going for a morning walk.