The dental practice is one of the top 10 companies by votes in Columbus CEO's 2020 Best of Business readers' poll.

Dr. James Hutta wants more people to smile.

Each morning, the orthodontist sets his alarm to play “Beautiful Day” by rock band U2. “I want every day to be better than the last day,” he says. “I’m always working to self improve.”

Stay up to date with the region’s business scene. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.

Hutta started his practice 28 years ago with one employee. Today, his staff of 21, along with fellow doctor Jeffrey Price, includes financial support services, lab technicians, hygienists, and more. Hutta’s two grown children also work for the practice.

As a freshman at Ohio State, he knew he wanted to pursue medicine, and eventually he landed on dentistry. “I saw the changes it made in people’s smiles,” he says, “and with their confidence level, including myself.” He, too, wore braces and remembers what his teeth felt like when they came off. “They felt like Chicklets!” he says. But it helped him gain confidence.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, his employees were out of work for six weeks. “I’m a strong believer in treating people the way you’d want to be treated,” he says. He and Price personally paid their employees’ wages.

Every patient also gets a Sonicare toothbrush (“Braces are not easy to brush around,” he says), and the practice is actively involved in several charities, from high school sports programs to breast cancer prevention, and providing “smile scholarships” for those in underserved communities.

“Especially given today’s stressors, smiling makes the world a happier place,” Hutta says. “What better thing than to smile at each other. I wish more people would smile.”

Virginia Brown is a freelance writer.