When Megan Hamblen Taylor, dentist at Hickory Creek Dental Arts, was in college at Tennessee Wesleyan, she thought she might pursue a history degree and eventually enter the legal field. After a summer internship in a law firm, however, she came to the conclusion that a life in law was not for her.
She realized she needed a career in which she could use her hands, in addition to her mind. As someone who grew up surrounded by dentistry (quite literally, as her father Russell Hamblen’s dental practice occupied the upstairs portion of the same building in which the Hamblen family resided), Taylor decided to test the dental waters. During a summer spent shadowing her father in the office, Taylor knew she had found her niche.
After graduating from Tennessee Wesleyan in 2007, she entered the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Dentistry in Memphis. She obtained her doctor of dental surgery degree in 2011, joined her father’s practice thereafter, and then took over Hickory Creek Dental Arts in 2015 when her father retired.
Growing up in McMinnville, Taylor was an excellent student who stayed active by playing sports. She attended Boyd Christian School and played soccer in the league at Pistole Park. When she entered her high school years, she added softball to her athletic repertoire and played for the Boyd Lady Broncos.
The position Taylor was assigned on the softball team was designated hitter, and her instructions for every at-bat were to bunt. She was also the team hair-braider who put her skills to use on the bus on the way to games.
On the Boyd soccer team, Taylor served as center halfback (midfielder) and was so talented Tennessee Wesleyan offered her an athletic scholarship. Furthermore, when she graduated from Boyd in 2003, she had earned the distinction of class valedictorian.
At her dental office, Taylor tries to make all her patients comfortable during their visit, and to allay the fears of nervous patients with her kind, gentle dental-chair manner. She engages others with her warm personality and attempts to use humor whenever possible.
Taylor says she tries to operate in accordance with a maxim her father (a practitioner for over 50 years) would frequently vocalize: “If the dentist isn’t having fun, nobody is.”
It was in dental school that Taylor met her husband John, a Manchester native. One weekend the two carpooled back to the Midstate from Memphis. Arriving at John’s parents’ house in Coffee County after the four-hour drive, John stated, “My parents are out, and I can’t get in the house” (an apocryphal assertion) and suggested the two take a Jeep ride around his family’s nursery.
Thus the two began dating. They were married in 2013, and John joined the practice in 2017, making Hickory Creek a two-dentist operation. In January 2019, the Taylors welcomed baby Charlotte, who Megan says is the office mascot. Charlotte, when she’s at the office, makes the rounds and spreads good, newborn cheer to all present.
For fun, the Taylors enjoy visiting national parks during the summer. They have traveled to Glacier, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Acadia, and Everglades national parks, and have plans to visit the Badlands.
Taylor notes there is a familial atmosphere among the staff at Hickory Creek, engendered in no small part by the longevity of some employees. Marci Griffin has been office manager since the Gerald Ford administration, and Julia George has been dental hygienist for 31 years.
Taylor, every day, tries to extend those same good vibes to her patients, for whose well-being she feels responsible. Her ultimate goal, she says, is to “be good to people.”