Some families pass down recipes or pocket watches but Dr. Leonard Scott - an Indianapolis-based dentist since 1973, has passed down a passion for teeth. Not only is he a leader in his field but his commitment to it has influenced two generations of his own family to follow in his footsteps.
"I wanted to be a dentist before being a musician," says the 70-year-old Dr. Scott who is also the founder of Tyscot Records, which launched the careers of a who's who in gospel music. "I was inspired by a high school biology teacher to go into medicine and my dad always wanted me to be a physician. However, I had a fear of blood, so I chose dentistry instead," he chuckles.
While Dr. Scott was a pre-dentistry major at Indiana State University, he started playing with a funk band, The Soul Messengers, which opened for rock acts such as Steppenwolf and The Byrds. However, he eventually left secular music behind, started to build his dental practice and helped his church choir record its first album. "We couldn't find a company to put the album out, so in 1976 I started Tyscot Records to release the project," he says.
In the early years, "We had a little house," Dr. Scott recalls. "The record label was on the top floor; the dental office was on the first floor and my family lived in the basement." All of his 7 children helped out in one of his businesses. In spite of Tyscot's success over the years, Scott Dentistry has always been his main focus. His daughter, Dr. Lynna Scott-Diggs joined the practice in 2007. "I grew up in the practice, watching my father work and decided when I was very young that being a dentist was one of the things I really wanted to do with my life," she says. "Being exposed to the profession at such a young age was a huge factor in choosing my career and the reason I think it is so important to expose children from every background to as many STEM careers as possible."
Scott's daughter, Melanie was attending her dad's alma mater when she met her husband Duane Bennett II who is now a dentist with two offices in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Now, the third generation of Scotts in dentistry has begun with Dr. Leonard Scott's granddaughter, Brook Scott, who graduated from Indiana State a few weeks ago and was hooded by both her grandfather and aunt. "I decided when I was 13 that I wanted to be a dentist," she says. " It started with me hanging around my grandad's dental office. He has always been so good with his patients and they always left the office happy and satisfied... Now, I enjoy being able to remodel smiles and rebuild confidence." She has joined the family practice which is aiming to expand nationally.
Meanwhile, Dr. Scott, who has over 20 million digital streams under his belt, has a new gospel radio single, "Holy Spirit" (from his 13th album, Jesus Love Legacy), on the market. "Dad is making people smile with his music and with his dental practice," says his son Bryant Scott, who runs Tyscot Records. "That's a significant legacy to make people smile internally and externally."