Behind The Smiles, The Relentless Dentist

Creator of the Relentless Dentist podcast series, practice owner at Vail Valley Dental Care, devoted father and husband, chaser of dreams, this is his story …  

There were days when it was hard to get out of bed. Some mornings it was all I could do to wake up and tell myself, “Hey Dave! Just make it through lunch today”, and then later I’d push myself to go further, “Hey Dave! Just make it to the end of the day!” I tried hard every day, despite the obstacles.

Three years after moving to Vail Valley, Colorado and opening up my practice, I was still struggling to get patients through the door. The economy was bad, and the bills were piling up. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my wife suffered from a stroke. It was a tough stretch over three years. When I look back at all of it now, it was the persistence and perseverance that kept me going. I was anxious, but I had mouths to feed and bills to pay.

I never wanted to be labeled as someone who just gave up because the going got rough. When you hit bottom as I did, it’s easy to want to quit and give up, but I didn’t.

In 2013 I started listening to audiobooks. I also came across a few podcasts that resonated with me. “I Love Marketing” was the first podcast that I listened to regularly. Despite a lot of the challenges and hardships that I faced with in my practice, I also started to have some significant breakthroughs. That podcast helped me to fill my empty chairs and get the phone ringing. I honestly believe that it saved my practice and helped us from having to close our doors.

One day the lightbulb went on. Many of my breakthroughs came from non-dental podcasts and books. At the time there weren’t any podcasts out there that catered explicitly to dental practice owners. So, that’s how I came to create my podcast series, “The Relentless Dentist.” I came to name it that because I felt that what many people put into the dental school they end up losing when they graduate and engage in their actual profession. I have run into many whiners who really should be winners. A lot of these dentists work four days a week and yet they complain how hard dentistry is.

What puzzles me with dentistry today is that there are a quite a few doctors who stop when they’ve reached the top. They get complacent and sort of plateau afterward. Dentistry follows most business trends. You are either growing or dying. That’s why today it’s more important than ever to create a culture of persistence and antifragility. Even when things are going well, you can always strive to do better.

It’s a disruptive game that we are in right now. There’s a lot of technological changes, and if we aren’t agile and open up our eyes, these changes will make decisions on their own for us. That’s why it’s important always to put one foot in front of the other, even if it is just a micro-step. Never take your foot off of the gas completely.

The relationships that I’ve built from this series are the most important to me. Some of my closest friends today were because I took those steps from either the podcast directly or indirectly. Many of these friends are now involved in building the Dental Success Network (DSN). We wanted to find a way to give private practice dentists every competitive advantage, so they can maintain autonomy while collaborating with other determined colleagues. provides dentists everything I wish I had readily available when I was starting my practice: vendor discounts, a positive and safe community where the simplest and complex practice issues can be resolved, support from some of the brightest, most generous faculty in dentistry, and lots of opportunity for high-quality, live continuing education. There’s just no reason for dentistry’s “secrets” to be kept in the hands of a few. We’re a more powerful profession when we are united.

I’m grateful that I took that leap to create this podcast series. It didn’t always head in the direction that I thought it would, but there have been a lot of pleasant surprises along the way.


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Ian Young

Ian works as the Content Manager for YAPI. He also oversees the blog and Behind The Smiles story and podcast series. In his free time he enjoys photography and videography. If you are interested in contributing to our blog or being featured in Behind The Smiles, reach out to Ian at

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