Each month an active member of our AAE Connection Community will be highlighted.
Position: Full-time endodontist employed by myself (see below)!
Career Highlights: Built/opened my own GP office in 2000, became restless in 2005 and decided to go back to school to specialize. Sold my practice in 2007 and went back to residency. Moved to Colorado in 2009 to "live near the mountains!" Plan was to work corporate for a few years and then either join a private office or start my own. 2 years turned into 10, but I always knew that corporate for the long-term was not for me. I just opened my own practice in October 2020.
Why Endodontics: I loved the endodontist I worked with in my area and had great respect for him - I actually didn't do that many root canals because he was so good. He inspired me to go back to school. I also don't love cosmetics, I instead love the aspects of healing, helping and improving quality of function - endo was a good fit for that.
Best Piece of Career Advice:
1). Meet the patient where they are. Sometimes the patient really can't afford to keep the tooth, so either do it for free or send them for extraction. Either way, honor their circumstances in that moment. I don't believe we help patients by driving them into more debt if they truly can't afford the debt they already have. I tell my patients exactly this so we can talk honestly about where they are right now and make sure the choice is the right one for them.
2). Never do a root canal on a patient who isn't ready! The general dentists fed me this tidbit! I've seen way too many patients in my chair relaying this to me: "I was perfectly fine with that missing tooth space for 25 years. It didn't bother me a bit. But, my dentist kept harassing me that I needed to get that bridge and now I need two root canals on top of that. I wish I'd never agreed to do that!" And in endo, it goes like this - there is a necrotic tooth/asymptomatic lesion and the patient is absolutely skeptical of everything you are telling them because "it doesn't hurt me." I say to them "If you don't believe you need a root canal, then don't do it. I don't work on people who don't believe they need my help. But, if you change your mind let me know, I'm always happy to help." If you really have to talk a patient into treatment, it will be the biggest post-op flareup you've ever seen and to make matters worse, it will be in that percentage of lesions that never heals and there will be egg on your face even though you did everything right and by the book. Just wait, the patient will come around.
Endo Challenge: I'm smack in the middle of it right now! I'm trying to build and market a practice in 2020. Marketing has been a HUGE challenge - can't have lunch, can't do lunch and learns, it's difficult to just drop in on offices unannounced, everybody has different Covid protocols - you don't want to make the staff uncomfortable or freak out the patients. It's proven to be a lot harder than when I started my GP office in 2000. Personally, I feel that nothing takes the place of sitting down for lunch, coffee or a beer with a potential referrer. That gives us time to get to know each other during a defined period of time. Dropping in on offices feels like such an interruption to the dentist. And right now, all of the restaurants are closed. If I can figure out how to make this practice succeed during COVID, I think I can do anything.
Reason for Becoming an AAE member: My residency director, Dr. James Kulild! He instilled in his residents the duty of membership and serving. I hope to get back to serving again, once this practice takes off!
Fun Fact: I just started a blog: www.beautifulolive.com. It serves women in the trenches of whatever trench they are stuck in and inspires them to keep looking up!
Community Question: Offer up your best/most creative COVID-friendly marketing tool!
If you have a member you would like to recommend, please email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org