110 E. Walnut Street - Oglesby, Illinois 61348  ·  Phone: 815-883-3389

Alliance Dental Group

February 11, 2014 by City Clerk  
Filed under From the Mayor's Desk

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When dentist Brian Billard and his wife Sandi returned to the Illinois Valley in the early 80s, they came back with a purpose.

“Our goal was to bring something here locally that is top-notch,” Billard said.

They’ve done just that.

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Dr. Brian Billard and his wife Sandi returned to Oglesby with a purpose--to bring top-notch dental care to the Illinois Valley.

In December of 2011, the Billards, along with Dr. Manny Valerin, opened shop in a new building located along West Walnut Street. The Alliance Dental Group facilities boast state-of-the-art equipment, 12 in-house labs, and high-tech sterilization area. The dentists’ and staff’s expertise spans preventative, general, cosmetic and restorative dentistry, with an ever-expanding reach and focus.

Of course, things weren’t always this way.

While the Billards did come back with a purpose in those early years, it wasn’t an easy time to begin a practice. The economy was weak and the advice was against setting up on your own.

“But,” Billard says, “we took a chance.”

“I grew up here and it was always the thought that we’d come back,” he said, noting that Sandi grew up in nearby La Salle. “We’ve always loved the Illinois Valley, so it was easy to come back.”

They began in a small downtown Oglesby rental.

“We had two operatories,” Billard says. “Well, one and a half really. One of them was new; the second was just sort of pieced together.”

While Brian looked to the patients’ smiles, Sandi kept them smiling with her people skills.

“She complements me tremendously,” he says. “She has the people skills. She has all the things I don’t have.”

Years passed. The husband-and-wife team built their own building and asked another general dentist–Valerin–to join the staff. It wasn’t long before the group grew out of the new building and set their eyes on something bigger–what eventually became the new facility.

Here, Dr. Billard and Dr. Valerin both serve as general dentists, while Billard specializes in orthodontics.

For more than 30 years, Billard has cared for the teeth of local families.

“It’s been long enough that I have grandkids coming to me now,” he says. “I’ve taken care of the mother, then the daughter, and now the grandkids.

“I’m that old,” he chuckles.

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In many ways, the new building represents the realization of the Billard’s original goal. But, along the journey to the present, new dreams for the future were set in motion.

Through the years, Billard has nurtured his strong interest in orthodontics, considering himself committed to life-long education in the field. His passion has led him to teach his specialty all over the world. For more than a decade, he traveled to clinics and seminars throughout the United States and Canada, as well as places as far-reaching as Australia and the Philippines. The right encouragement from the right people helped him overcome his very shy demeanor and speak to crowds as big as 400 people.

And now, he wants to continue that focus on teaching and learning here at home.

“We thought we could use this facility also as a teaching center,” he says.

Through the many contacts he made afar, Billard is organizing small-scale, specialty seminars on new technology and continuing education. Their first offering in March 2013 garnered an even greater response than they’d expected, and plans for another, longer seminar are underway for March 2014.

Billard says his facilities, coupled with the area, are a draw for dental professionals.

“There are so many things they can see here–Starved Rock, all those little things that kind of make this a destination learning area,” Billard explains.
And while Billard Healthcare Center’s spacious conference room is a great place to sit under teaching, the facility is also a great place to give things a try.

“Our teaching can be very hands-on because we have a dental facility attached,” Billard says, noting the building houses 10 operatories.

The company may eventually evolve in still other ways, with Billard eying an expanded approach to dental and overall health that includes the joint, in-house work of chiropractors, physical therapists and the like–an idea that grew, too, with his knowledge and interest in orthodontics.

“We really went from trying to straighten teeth to this big, big, kind of all-encompassing thing,” he says.