June 25, 2019

085 How One Passionate Teacher Changed Frank Spear’s Life and the Profession of Dentistry

Millennial Dentist Podcast

We are so excited to have the one and only amazing Dr. Frank Spear on the show today. We kick off the show with an amazing story by Frank that changed his life, and the course of dentistry. It’s all thanks to a special teacher that Frank tries to emulate each and every time he steps on stage.

Dr. Frank Spear also shares the lean times when he first started practicing, and how he was invited to mentor in study clubs. We also get to learn some highlights from his book, his practice, his teaching, his mentoring, and we talk about the Spear Education Center. This is an interview that you won’t want to miss as Sully and Peyray have a candid conversation with Dr. Frank Spear.

You can find Dr. Frank Spear here:

Dr. Frank Spear

Spear Education

Spear Education Facebook Page

Case Acceptance in the Modern Dental Practice: Break Down Barriers, Increase Referrals and Boost Patient Satisfaction

Show Notes:

[02:21] Frank grew up in a small farming community. He had no interest in dentistry.

[03:38] In the 1970s, his parents said he needed to pick a college. Chico State was ranked the number one party school in America on the cover of Playboy Magazine.

[04:40] He didn’t get accepted to Chico State. He went to Pacific Lutheran University.

[05:46] He had to pick a major. He decided to take anatomy and physiology to get them over with. He ended up liking the courses.

[06:39] His teacher was passionate about anatomy and asked him to meet with her. She suggested he go into a medical field. She setup a meeting with the pre-med adviser who was a dentist. This is how he ended up in dentistry.

[08:54] He applied to twelve dental schools and graduated in 1979.

[09:45] While he was in his periodontics and  prosthodontics class, a faculty member named Gerry Schultz who had been running study clubs saw Dr. Spear give a presentation.

[10:27] He invited Dr. Spear to give a presentation. He was then invited to speak again. He was a month out of his grad program.

[11:31] At the end of this meeting, he was invited to speak by other people.

[13:02] Dr. Spear was lucky to be inspired by amazing people and great faculty. His instructors were influential about what was possible.

[17:03] Whoever the clinician is, they need to be able to recognize what is outside of their comfort zone.

[20:03] Sending more work out can open up room in your schedule to do what you want to do.

[20:44] Finding what you enjoy and are the most competent at. Doing what you like the most is more fun.

[21:21] At Spears they want dentists to have more fun, be more profitable, have more free time, and to grow clinical in competence and confidence.

[25:47] Young dentists need to take some time and examine what they do and don’t like before opening up a practice.

[26:41] In June of 1982, interests rates were 19% and 20%. He worked six days a week. On Mondays, he rented a space from a periodontist.

[28:19] On Fridays and Saturdays, he rented other space from periodontists, and he was seeing a lot of military families. He learned a lot about phasing treatment.

[29:35] The rest of the week, he was an associate for the family dentist in the town he grew up in. He covered all of the emergencies and did the work the established dentist didn’t want.

[30:51] At that time, he was asked to mentor a study club on aesthetics. By 1984, he was mentoring four study clubs.

[32:11] There was a powerful reputation from his graduate program.

[33:22] In 1985, he and John Kois bought the small family practice and partnered.

[34:39] In 1987 and beyond, Frank was spending a large part of his year speaking.

[37:36] They also brought in an associate. You also have to set boundaries on what you commit to.

[40:31] Frank wrote the book Case Acceptance in the Modern Dental Practice: Break Down Barriers, Increase Referrals and Boost Patient Satisfaction.

[41:40] They are three treatment models. The authoritarian model, the scarcity model, and the co-diagnosis model where you present the findings, consequences, how treatment would help. They ask for the treatment plan.

[44:37] Give your team a why, and they will be more likely to do it.

[45:03] What is the patients attitude during treatment presentation.

[50:39] General practitioners have a recall advantage. The challenge is people come in for all kinds of reasons. The consult, the traditional exam, and the comprehensive patient.

[52:42] Intake calls are so important.

[55:41] Frank Spear and John Kois wanted to have a small teaching center that they ran together for six years.

[56:39] In the early 1990’s, Frank opened a practice and did seminars and workshops.

[57:35] In the early 2000s, his teaching really took off.

[01:01:19] What Dr. Frank Spear teaches is what is current and fundamentals of treatment planning etc.

[01:03:47] It’s so important for dentists to understand the fundamentals. Don’t stop learning after dental school.

[01:05:31] Technology changes how things are done. But most day-to-day treatments aren’t changed.

[01:07:37] Dr. Spear would have paid more attention to money and business from the beginning.

[01:14:35] It’s not selfish to think about money.

[01:15:03] Dr. Spear shares a story about the first study club he belonged to.

[01:18:36] Dr. Spear encourages Sully and Peyray to let everyone at the club have input.

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:

The Millennial Dentist Website

@Millennialdentist on Facebook

@MillennialDDS on Twitter

My New Smile

John Kois

The Crabtree Group

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

Dr. Sully’s website and blog

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