The big authority on little teeth. Community activist. Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Practice Owner at Arctic Dental. This is his story …
I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, but grew up in Iowa City, home to the University Of Iowa. Both my father and mother were dentists along with my Uncle. My father is an endodontist, my mother a periodontist, and my uncle is a general dentist.
Growing up, I was involved in high school sports. I also made sure that I always took some sort of an art class. I always enjoyed that aspect of working with my hands. As I got older, I went to the University Of Iowa for undergrad and I got involved in a few projects there. I had the opportunity to coach basketball and football for the Jr. High School I had once attended. I realized I enjoyed working with kids. I also worked as a summer camp counselor for a program called Upward Bound. Upward Bound takes kids in rural communities in Iowa and helps prepare them for a college education. A lot of these kids have parents who never went to college. So, it’s an educational summer program, where they go to camp, have a little bit of a school-like environment, and also have fun activities they get to participate in. That was fun to be a part of.
During my college education, I was accepted to dental school at Iowa. It was there that I decided I could undergo the stress of working with little ones. I went on and later received my Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry from UNLV.
What’s a typical day like at your practice, Arctic Dental?
It’s a lot of fun. Every day is different, so that’s always exciting for me. You never know what the kids are going to say or do. You get to react, have fun, and use your imagination. Being able to go down that road and to help shape one’s imagination always keeps me on my toes.
As far as our dental practice is concerned, I feel that it’s important to give our kids options. We have tons of different choices for them. Different choices are acceptable to us, from their prophy paste, their fluoride, to their toothbrush. Giving kids options and the ability to choose helps them to buy into the process of coming to the dentist, getting their teeth cleaned, and overcoming challenges when they do have treatment.
What do you do to ensure comfort and fun for those little ones?
For us, comfort and taking into account their safety is most important.
One of the biggest challenges in dentistry is trying to give a very comfortable patient experience while also minimizing the risk of sedation. I know in the news there are stories of children who have not had good outcomes at the dentist, that’s why for me it’s all about finding that right balance. There’s always that fine line that we are walking down as dentists.
I’ve adapted to knowing what things can wait a bit as the child grows and what needs immediate attention. The more kids I see, the easier this has become to determine. This also gives us the chance to see a child more often than every six months. Periodontal patients go in every three months, so why not do that for kids? So that’s what we do. They get more fluoride treatments and we can also work on behavior. We can also check on things we aren’t treating to see if they are getting bigger or smaller. We can catch other things before they become a problem.
Tell us about one of the coolest things you are doing at Arctic Dental.
I think one of the coolest things we do is we try to be involved in the community with our marketing. Brush, Book, Bed has been a fun ongoing project we have incorporated into our practice. It’s a program to educate parents about three important nighttime routines for children
We also try to do give shout-outs to local businesses we work with, and give away gift cards to local restaurants for participating in our contests. We have fun and enjoy doing goofy things on facebook live too!
The Iowa Find Project:
There’s an aging dentist population here in Iowa. A lot of these dentists will be retiring and a lot of them are in rural communities, so when these dentists retire, it’s going to be difficult for a lot of people in the rural areas to continue to get dental care. This will specifically affect underserved populations that are on Medicaid and other state programs, they won’t have easy access to dental care.
What the Find project does is it reaches out to an underserved community in the state and partners with a dentist who’s either looking to buy a practice and be an owner of a practice or start a practice.
Basically, it’s trying to give dentists that are going to stay in the community long-term the ability of lowner payments, 50 up to 100,000 through the state of Iowa for committing to see unserved patients for five years. You have to see at least 35% underserved patients which could be a patient in a nursing home, a child under three, or someone that’s on a government aid program for dental care.
So, it works out really well. As we know, dental school debt is extremely high now. To be able to come out and help people in the community, to give back and in exchange get a little bit of help on a student loan, ends up being a nice benefit.
You use YAPI in your office. How’s that been going for you?
Great. Six months after opening my pediatric dental office, I found that my schedule was becoming full, but patients were not always showing up. That’s when I contacted YAPI for a demonstration. With limited revenue and cash flow, finances were my biggest concern. Prior to enrolling into YAPI I struggled with the question, “Would the cost of YAPI be offset by an increase in patient encounters?” After the first month, I noticed a reduction in failed appointments and parents rescheduling with plenty of time for me to fill their vacated appointments.
The customer service provided by YAPI is outstanding. Many companies will charge an additional fee for support, but YAPI is all inclusive. Whenever I call YAPI, my concerns are typically addressed within a day. If they cannot be resolved the same day, the YAPI staff is sure to follow-up with my office to keep my staff updated. The team has addressed all my concerns and even has had developers work on a solution for my specific needs.