February 26, 2019

074 Mile High Club

Millennial Dentist Podcast

We are recording this episode live in a plane flying from Nashville to Raleigh. Sully is joined by Dr. Will Jones and Dr. Ford Gatgens. We talk about AEGD, AGD and CE courses and whether they are worth it. We also talk about insurance issues from dropping some types of insurance to going entirely fee for service.

We discuss the fears around losing patients and possible problems if the economy changes. We also talk about buying a practice, hiring and building a team, turnover, and the anxiety it can cause. We talk about discovering what type of boss you want to be, establishing a vision for your practice, using technology to help patients, and more. Join us on our hour long in-flight conversation.

You can find our guests here:

Will Jones Dentistry

Accent Smile Center

Show Notes:

[01:56] Dr. Ford graduated in 2006. He did a residency in 2007. He filled in for a doctor in East Tennessee. He bought his existing practice in 2009. His practice is Accent Smile center in Dickson, TN.

[02:54] He worked over the years to add additional services and create the practice according to his own philosophy.

[03:09] He uses technology to help patient outcomes. He also does digital dentistry, laser dentistry, and implants.

[03:47] Doctor Jones graduated in 2014. He focuses on surgery and sedation dentistry. He bought his dad’s practice, and he is 100% owner, but his father is an associate 2 days a week.

[04:24] They are currently struggling with when to add an associate and with hiring the right team members. They are also moving into a new office.

[06:19] For Dr. Jones, taking a year long program allowed him to better implement what he earned.

[09:04] The benefit for Dr. Ford was placing a lot of implants and the opportunity to hear professors from all around the United States. It also gave him the confidence to go out in private practice and tackle some of those bigger cases.

[13:50] Sully thinks a good associateship is the gold standard of what you can do post practice.

[16:05] Being reliant on a PPO makes it hard to be reimbursed for advanced dentistry. Maybe there is a middle ground to become less insurance dependent.

[19:32] You can’t just drop your insurance patients, you also have to have enough new patients to cover that gap.

[20:36] The plan is to gradually drop one or two insurance providers first. Patients that value higher level service are what we want.

[21:53] Sully believes that the insurance will get them in the door, but he still has an opportunity to do work beyond what the insurance covers. He doesn’t want to lose his initial patients in the door.

[24:01] Dropping some services, you can look at your adjustments and put that money towards marketing and be ahead of the game.

[25:22] Dr. Ford is at the point where he’s going to make some decisions about his insurance providers that he accepts.

[28:37] Another option is continuing a discount with some patients even if you drop their insurance.

[29:20] Dr. Jones shares his struggles with buying his father’s practice. He also struggles with discovering what type of boss he wants to be.

[31:16] He decided to find a way to be nice, yet let people know that it’s his money on the line, and things need to be done a certain way.

[32:00] They’ve hired three new people in the past two months, and it has been great.

[33:46] In Dr. Jones’s practice the staff turnover has led him to discover what type of boss he wants to be.

[35:16] After about six months, Dr. Ford started doing an upgrade on his practice. Not all team members have the same vision.

[36:21] Once you get clear on what type of boss you want to be and what your vision is, there are some things that aren’t negotiable.

[37:52] There are challenges when employees have been doing things a certain way, and you want to upgrade to digital from paper.

[39:13] Become clear on what your goals are and then share that vision and that passion. When people aren’t on board, that’s where the hard conversations come in.

[40:16] Being a good leader is something you constantly have to work at. It’s also important to surround yourself with good leaders and good mentors.

[42:05] Your long-term success comes down to your leadership skills.

[43:34] It’s important to define roles.

[45:44] The more direction you give, the better the team response.

[49:51] It’s human nature not to listen to the new guy.

[52:00] It’s realistic to come into a practice and maintain the same team, but you will probably need to add people as you grow. There could be generational issues, and it’s always good to take the time to communicate and build relationships.

[54:36] Share your vision with your team, so they will understand where you are coming from.

As always thanks so much for listening! If you like the show we would love for you to review the show on iTunes as well as spread the word! If you have any questions or want to get in touch, shoot me an email at  

Links and Resources:

Craig Spodak

Smile Source

The Millennial Dentist Website

@Millennialdentist on Facebook

@MillennialDDS on Twitter

On Instagram  
Dr. Sully…@Millennialdentist on Instagram
Dr. Peyman…@drpeyray on Instagram

Dr. Sully’s website and blog

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