I’m sitting in my home office the morning after one of our 3D Dentists workshops. After each program I like to sit down and reflect on how things went, the new people I got to meet, the 3D alumni I was able to reconnect with, and spending time with the 3D Family (the fellow instructors and mentors). Truthfully I have a tendency to spend most of the time dwelling on what could be better.
THIS TIME WAS TRULY DIFFERENT IN MY REFLECTION TIME.
This time I was able to focus with pride and take inventory of the accomplishments 3D Dentists has made in the past 12 months.
It was a comment from Dr. Adam Cotant made in passing at the end of the program that really helped me realize that I’m actually accomplishing my dream and vision for 3D Dentists.
Being a true southern gentleman Adam stopped by to say goodbye to me Saturday afternoon after his last patient and said something simple but very profound to me.
“I came to learn implants but left with so much more”
Such a simple statement really sums up what I’ve always wanted myself and 3D Dentists to be known for. Simply put I want to change the way dentist view our profession and how we practice.
The UnPlanned 12 Month Journey.
We all have professional dreams – sometimes we share these dreams with others and sometimes we keep them to ourselves. Honestly, I keep most of my dreams to myself (it’s a fear of failing issue I have) but I do share quite a few of my dreams with my wife and some of my team members.
It’s important to share your dreams – because it’s with the help, support, and urging of others that dreams become a reality.
The 3D Retreat
In 2013 we renovated the upstairs of our office building to comfortably hold 36 attendees. It was awesome to have the training center as part of my dental practice – people could see that we lived what we were teaching.
I’ve always invited people to my home for dinner and drinks for each workshop. It’s a great way to get to know each other in a casual atmosphere and I don’t really enjoy going to restaurants as big groups.
Over time I started having a few close friends and instructors stay with me at my home during workshop weekends. It was a lot of fun. It finally got a point where we made a ‘dorm room’ out of our movie theater – we put three bunk bed setups in there for 6 people to stay with me. Before you know it some of the attendees wanted to know how they could stay with us.
I guess at this point my wife was getting tired of having the guests every weekend and wanted some peace in the house.
So one day she calls me and says I found the perfect place for you to move 3D Dentists and continue building your vision.
It’s the retreat that allows us to give the “SO MUCH MORE” part of the comment from Adam. And truthfully I love spending time, sharing my experiences in dentistry, and imparting my wisdom of success and failures. We don’t just teach clinical dentistry – we teach life lessons, we teach dental business, we teach winning at life.
I can’t emphasize enough the unique experience of staying at the retreat. I can say with confidence we provide some of the most relevant dental CE as it is – the retreat experience takes it over the top.
In 2019 3D Dentists started offering live patient education – where we provide you patients to work on. We all know that lecture and hands-on education is important, but nothing helps the education stick like working on actual patients. Imagine going through dental school and never doing the work on patients, then trying to go into practice and implement all the book knowledge!
In the beginning we were doing these programs in my private office – which required us to shut down the practice for a few days. It was our ‘testing phase’. In 2021 it was apparent we were on to something, I enjoyed this level of teaching, and we wanted the ability to expand our programs – the search was on to find a full time home for our live patient education.
More importantly, I wanted to place to provide world class dentistry for the ‘working class’ people of our community. My community has helped me become successful beyond my imagination. So why not give back to this community with amazing dentistry that simply isn’t available through other charitable venues.
This past weekend was the first program to use our Smile3D non-profit dental practice. For those of you who have opened a new facility know the stress of making sure everything goes well on Day 1. Well, our Day 1 was hosting 9 dentists from across the country to provide dental extractions, bone grafts, and dental implants to dozens of patients. No pressure, right! Amazingly, everything went off without a hitch.
Opening Smile3D has truly been a dream come true for me. And hopefully it’s just the beginning of doing some amazing good for our profession and community – more on that in a later blog.
It Takes A Village
The old saying is very true – ‘behind every successful man is a strong woman’. Frankly, I couldn’t accomplish so much in my career without the support from my wife. She is an amazing person, physician, and mother. One day I’d love to share more about her medical practice – she’s really doing amazing things.
My love and passion for dentistry and education comes from my parents.
As many of you may know, my father was a dentist in India (graduated in 1974) but never practiced in the USA. Instead he purchased a motel in North Carolina and to help make extra income to support our family, he was a denture tech on the side.
My mother earned a Masters degree in India and went back to school in the late 1980’s to earn a teaching certificate. She drove 45 miles each way every day for two years to earn this degree. She then embarked on a career of being a teacher for special needs children. I didn’t realize it at the time (I was only 13 years old), but witnessing her commitment to continuing her education fueled me to continue my own education post dental school graduation.
Last but not least are my partners and teammates at 3D Dentists. Without their excitement it would not have been possible. A special shoutout to Dr. Sully Sullivan. His energy, excitement, and passion for dentistry is infectious. He keeps me on my toes and pushes me to continue to be better.
There are so many more people involved in making this happen. It truly takes a village
Putting My Dreams Out There Again!
So here it goes – I want to share with each of you my dream and vision for Smile3D. This way I feel the support and pressure to make it happen.
- Phase 1 – Utilizing Smile3D for live patient education programs for 3D Dentists to provide no cost Tooth Replacement Therapy for the community.
- Phase 2 – Me providing lower cost dental care at Smile 3D – Implants & Cosmetics
- Phase 3 – Hiring a full time dentist focused on digital dentistry to provide a broader scope of lower cost care to the community.
- Phase 4 – Establishing a 12 month digital dentistry residency program to have post-graduate dental students learn the latest and greatest in 3D Dentistry from the faculty of 3D Dentists and provide low cost care to the community.
You can help support me in this journey with your words of encouragement and your support of 3D Dentists by helping us spread the word about our amazing workshops. We don’t have any private equity or manufacturer money – we are by dentists, for dentists, and financed by individual dentists.