The Same Day Dentistry STORY
The lifestyle and the journey to success
I graduated from dental school in 1977, and, although it didn't take too long for me to become a “successful” dentist, it would be many, many years before I discovered how to be a truly happy one. In fact, it was only about four years ago that I finally took my own professional leap into same-day dentistry. At the time, it was absolutely terrifying—but it has worked beyond my wildest expectations.
I will never forget that Christmas Eve. I had to tell my family I had just been let go from a dental practice I'd been working for as a private contractor. I was 59 years old. Just three months before, I had sold the dental practice I owned. With nothing to fall back on, I'd have to start all over. And quickly.
Until then I'd been in the habit of purchasing existing practices from retiring dentists. I would run them for several years, and then, feeling disillusioned and burned out, I would sell them and move on. These dental practices, invariably, came fully staffed with a complete roster of patients, established office culture, operating capital, and working business models. But they'd also left me feeling empty and hollow. I would emulate the departing dentists, so my inherited patients wouldn't defect—meaning I hadn't had much chance to be myself or practice dentistry in my own way.
Still, about a decade ago, I had begun to use newly available technology to produce crowns in a day. Accomplishing this complicated procedure was really exciting and satisfying for me in a way that little else had been. I began to wonder, “What else could be done in a day? Could an entire business be built around that model?” It was finally time to find out.
I have found that, both personally and professionally, there's nothing easier—or scarier!—than simply being who you are. I decided that my unexpected reversal of fortune was an opportunity to build a new business model around transparency and authenticity. Above all, I would be honest and open with my patients and true to myself. There was no clear roadmap, but I knew, too, that I wanted to frame my new practice entirely around the concept of same-day dentistry.
It seems that I was on the right track. Despite my worries and uncertainty, financing fell into place, I found the perfect location, and improvements to the office were finished early and under budget. I had started from zero, but I, along with a few staffers, would be up and running in seven months.
We started conservatively, only planning to be open two days a week at the new office. Meanwhile, I took an extra job to ensure I had enough capital to live on. But soon we went from two days a week to three. (I was able to leave my side job after a year.) By our two-year mark, we'd increased to seeing patients four days a week and then five. Now, we're open six days a week, and I'm looking for another associate.
The Same-Day Dentistry Mindset
We do not spend money on external marketing, but we do bring in 80 new patients each month. However, our practice is built largely on the quality of our patient interactions, rather than the numbers. As a result, our patients are very loyal and very vocal, often organically sharing their Same Day Dentistry experiences and reviews on social media.
As we continue to attract new patients, our biggest challenge is avoiding becoming Someday Dentistry instead. Success is a matter of balancing the amount and rate of growth and being truly dedicated to the concept of same-day dentistry.
Today, my mission is to leave the dental profession better than I found it by teaching others how to infuse their own practices with authenticity and transparency. I've seen firsthand how well this model works for patients, for staff, and for formerly burned-out professionals like me. Living and practicing the Same Day Dentistry model is more difficult, and it is more work, but it is also very, very gratifying.