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Dr. Lewis Chen on Keeping Up with Change in the Dental World, and More – Episode 44

Rob and Paul host Dr. Lewis Chen, a young entrepreneurial practicing dentist and multi-practice owner who did a ground-floor storefront dental practice start-up in the heart of New York City’s, Greenwich Village while at the same time acquiring a dental practice in Edgewater, New Jersey.

Dr. Lewis Chen

Paul and Rob chat with Dr. Chen about his somewhat novel business model, the importance of embracing change in the dental world and keeping ahead of changes in the dental profession, as well as the importance of office culture. Dr. Chen also talks about his penchant for teaching that led to him becoming one of the youngest faculty members at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and how he has improved himself professionally through teaching.

You can learn more about Dr. Lewis Chen at lewischendds.squarespace.com/, you can follow him on Instagram @Dr.LewisChen and you can also email him at lewischendds@gmail.com.

Full Transcript:

Intro: Welcome to the Dental Amigos podcast with Dr. Paul Goodman and attorney Rob Montgomery, taking you behind the scenes of the dental business world. All the things you didn't learn in dental school, but wish you had. Rob is not a dentist and Paul's not a lawyer, but since Rob is a lawyer we need to tell you that this podcast is for informational purposes only and shouldn't be considered legal advice. Listening to this podcast does not and will not create an attorney client relationship. As is always the case. You should formally consult with legal counsel before proceeding with any legal matter. Learn more about the dentalamigos at www.thedentalamigos.com and now here are the Dental Amigos.

Rob: Hello everyone. I'm Rob Montgomery and I'm joined as always by the head nacho himself, Dr. Paul Goodman.

Paul: Great to be here. Rob,

Rob: Welcome to another episode of the Dental Amigos podcast. Today we're joined by Dr. Lewis Chen, who is a Dental Amigos podcast listener. So if you, if you listen, you may, you too may be on the show someday. Uh, Dr. Chen is a young entrepreneurial dentist. He graduated from the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine where he graduated at the top of his class with highest honors and the distinction was inducted into the renowned national dental honor society or Macron Kappa Upsilon. After completing his dental school career, he completed a residency at the Bronx VA program known to be an extremely competitive and comprehensive program with a focus on full mouth reconstructions, prosthodontics and surgery. And during his residency, Dr. Chen moonlighted in private practice cofounded a dental tech startup, which he left and then started his own dental practice, which he began from renting a chair and another office soon after completing his residency, and he embarked on a journey to multi-practice ownership with his partners by building a de novo ground up storefront practice in the heart of New York city in Greenwich Village. And at the same time acquired a practice in Edgewater, New Jersey. Dr. Chen has always had a pension for teaching since his high school years and that includes working through college as well as through dental school. And through that commitment to education, he assumed the role as one of the youngest faculty members at Columbia university. And now without further ado, here's Dr. Lewis Chen. Welcome Amigo, and thanks for being on the show.

Lewis: Thanks for that great introduction. I think I'm happy to be on board and it's nice to be a listener and now being interviewed for it, so I'm excited.

Paul: Yeah, it's a hard hitting podcast, Lewis. So I would like to ask, you know, you're up there in New York city. If I came up and I said, Hey Lewis, let's go for nachos. Where would you pick to go and what topic would you go with?

Lewis: So, you know, one of the, one of the good places for tacos, tacos or nachos? You mean either? I like them both.

Paul: Either one.

Lewis: So there was a place called Rosa Mexicano and Columbus Circle. It's great. It's a seasonal thing they have, guacamole ice cream. don't know if you've had it. It's rarely available. It's a very seasonal. So to that extent I like my tacos dipped in ice cream. It's different, its unique and it's good. Favorite topping, uh, you know, you slap on everything on there and that's my favorite toping.

Paul: Nice. Nice. That works. I like that. We would get along, Lewis.

Lewis: Yeah, whatever's on the table, I'll just have

Rob: So I know, too, you're big into fitness and taking care of yourself. Life is not all nachos, Paul. It's not a healthy, healthy approach to taking care of yourself, but tell our listeners a little bit about what you do to keep your sanity and keep yourself physically together.

Lewis: Nowadays I've been kind of catching a little bit more on sleep and around six and a half hours, I'm trying to get to that number. Um, but prior to that, it was a, I used to sleep around five and a half hours, five hours on a, on a regular because most of the times I am doing work too late and I wake up earlier. I'm not like you, where you wake up at 4, butI used to wake up around 5:15 and then I would just spend some time at the gym and get my day started. I think a part of that came from this premise, this idea of commitment and dedication. A lot of the times I think I just felt better over there, I guess during my time dental school and I was, you know, eating a lot because, you know, school was school and then you need sustenance so you'd, all you do is snack, snack, snack, and before you know it, one o'clock, two o'clock kids and you've just had a Big Mac and a from McDonald's. Right. t. So yeah, I was really packing on some of the, uh, like a lot of the food. And, um, I decided, you know, when they came put setting for boards, I just kind of was focused and I didn't have my mind always around, you know, munching and snacking and suddenly, you know, I'm kind of lost a bit of weight and it was like, Oh, it's pretty sustainable. I didn't feel like I was, had an urge to eat. And then from there on I just maintained in here I am. It's been kind of a lifestyle as it is becoming habit. I think a part of committing to that, um, journey of being coming, you know, um, you know, becoming more in tune with myself by keeping myself physically active. Uh, I discovered that, you know, it becomes a part of you and a, it's like almost like I think that you cannot remove from your life every time. I don't go to the gym, I think my energy levels are low. Like right now, I haven't gone this morning and my energy level's a lot lower than typically it would be. Um, but I think once I started to see the difference, how becoming physically active has it made an impact on my life. I've made a commitment to kind of continue and do it all the time just for, I think it's importsnt from a management standpoint to exude that optimism and energy to the team as well. So I do it for everyone else's and then of course looking good as secondary, but everything else is more important to me, especially my sanity.

Rob: Yeah, I think it's easy to fall into the trap of I'm too busy to work out or I'm too busy to eat well or too busy to take care of yourself. But you know, I tell my, uh, my younger attorneys here, like that's when you absolutely have to take care of yourself when you're too busy or too stressed. And you know, it's almost counterintuitive from a time standpoint. It's so easy to say, I just don't have time. But the reality is when you get to that point, you don't have time not to do it.

Paul: Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I've gone through different phases. I think being a dentist and any personality is that we have a lot of all or none in us and it's not very healthy. You know, like, you know, got to spend seven hours studying and three hours at the gym. And I think in my medium age dentist years, Lewis with my small humans who live in the house, you have to just develop an attitude where you do something physically active. Because, you know what's interesting is we think of dental schools the most stressful time in our lives, but it's, it's a weird stress. It's different than being a practice owner. You know, this, I think your stress level and stress doesn't have to be a bad thing, but your commitments and responsibilities just grow in life. And you just need to figure out a way to infuse physical fitness because it's important and I agree with you when you go, I don't go at your guys' hour. Sometimes Rob sees me, I go first. You know, first for me is not a 5:00 AM to me it does give you more energy.

Rob: I, I it gives you, I've run into Paul, I'm like in a client meeting and Paul comes breezing into Starbucks. [inaudible]

Paul: like a meeting with yourself. That's important. And I, I've, I've adopted some of the first thing in the morning type of thing cause some of your, sometimes your day just gets away from you. Um, I've enjoyed loads. You've come to Philadelphia and contributed an awesome implant lecture to our, our young dentists study club and you'll be coming to our boost festival this week and be a new dentist, boot camp, a speaker. And I just applaud you because I started teaching right after my residency program. So sometimes people think, Oh, you know, you're young, you shouldn't be teaching. But I actually think the exact opposite because it keeps you sharp and you know, gives the students a face that kind of looks like theirs, which is nice. Mine is not looking as as close to theirs as yours is these days. But uh, tell us about your teaching role at Columbia.

Lewis: Yeah. So a theme with you, I think that's completely opposite thing. That teaching makes me more alert. It makes me be held accountable for treatment. Um, a lot of the times I think even being trained at like the VA, you just see so many things that you may not ever see in private practice, but even then when you go to a dental school, you'll see patients you'd never see at the VA or residency or private practice. So you really get a Mo like multitude of kind of patients from different kind of demographics and populations. And I love teaching Columbia because it's, I, I do it once a week at nighttime becauseI just, I want to commit myself to, you know, consistent number of students who is committed to stay at nights and see patients. And teaching has been great because I've been doing it for maybe over 10 years. I just love challenging myself. I think in order for me you know, the material, I have to be able to teach it. Um, and I think that's, you know, if you ask, and I think it's the way we teach is very, very important. Um, I, I questioned a lot and I kind of question students and give alternative solutions or alternative approaches to things just to stimulate their minds and broaden their vision. Um, even then I feel like I haven't learned enough. I wish I had done another year at the VA. I mean, it just, there's so many things that I wish I could still learn. And that's the beautiful thing about teaching is that not only are you a teacher but you're also a student.

Rob: Right. That's cool. And I think at a certain point, I ask you guys this too, and we've had other guests on that, that, that lecture a lot and that are professors and you know, Paul, obviously you're very involved in that space. Do you feel like at a certain point it's almost like a mantra, you know, like, you know, if you, even though, you know, if you say it enough times to somebody else, then you know, it just becomes so much more like part of what you do and who you are.

Paul: I think it's, you know, it's the ultimate win-win, you know, like, uh, I do a lot with patient communication and making dentist's decisions and it just helps me, you know, practice and say it over again. And then, you know, it's a, um, you know, when you have a four and a half year old in your house, uh, they hear everything. So it's a lot of times it's like watching your language around, you know, four and a half year olds cause you're making an impression on him. So just some students like what I can say to a 41 year old dentist like me, Oh just take this, you know, shortcuts, shortcuts, not always bad. Shortcut could be a good thing, right? But I know that I can't tell a dental student or, or a resident to take that same shortcut because they're going to not see the broad picture. And it's just, it's just really, I agree with you, it just helps you just strengthen your dental core. Talk about your dental core. It's kind of like a workout thing too. Just strengthens your dental core.

Lewis: No, I think you're 100% right. I mean, like a lot of the times, you know, dental students are really in it just to graduate and get the requirements and kind of get their degree and head out the doors. Um, I think I like to tell students, even though they're interested in becoming an oral surgeon and periodontists and on any anyone really, uh, I tell them, you know, the fundamentals really come from here. Um, and that's gonna just kind of drive you to do certain treatments certain way as long as you have the dental core or to fundamentals solid. Um, I think that people are taking shortcuts too early and it's almost, again, it's, it's like a habits, you know, once you get to the habit of taking shortcuts, the first thing they want to do is how can I do this faster? But they don't, they don't think about doing it well first and doing it well consistently before to do it better and faster and props perhaps, you know, starting to cut corners.

Rob: It becomes a mindset almost, right? I mean it's like if you're going to be invested in and it pays dividends too, I'm sure. Right? You know, start doing everything the right way and it just has a, has a big return.

Paul: I'm just going to start calling maximum efficiency. Right? I'm not taking a shortcut. I'm doing max max efficiency, but the maximum professional, I know that, you know, when you, when you're good at something that you do and you do it all the time cause you have a lot of experience, you're not really taking, not as a shortcut. You just know how to unstuck. If you get stuck, you can become unstuck because you know what, how to do that. If people don't know how to become unstuck, they're in their office and they're just stuck and that doesn't, you know, people think of a procedure but it doesn't always have to be procedure. It could be with treatment planning a patient, right? It could be with a business idea in your practice.

Rob: Problem solving, right? What's, what's the one of the most important skills that you want your children to have? Like, you know, they can go and memorize times tables or algebra or whatever. At the end of the day can you solve a problem? And if you can solve problems, things are going to go pretty well for your life. If you are not a good problem solver, you're going to have a lot of problems.

Paul: I'll just use one example that I was doing this morning on the way with Daphne to school. And this is something I really commit to myself with a cause. We live in the city. So I never crossed the street unless the light's green when I'm with her, even though I will do that myself because I'm just saying, I ask her, tell me when the light is green and even though it pains me cause I'm um, it's, there's no one around. That's just a perfect example cause I don't want to give her any thought that she can make a judgment. Cause she did. That's basically it. Lewis. I mean, and you're a young guy. It's like the students can't always make those judgements because they haven't had enough experience. So that example, kind of drives it home.

Rob: This morning I walked my daughter to the bus stop and we're running a little late and she asked me would it be okay if we jay walk, we're together. And I said it's okay to jay walk because you're with me.

Rob: Hey and Lewis, so as you said though, that you had a pension for teaching that started back when you were in high school. Tell our listeners about that.

Lewis: Yeah. So back in high school, you know, like, like any other high schoolers is all about how much money do I have in my pockets, could spend it on a food and, you know, go watch a movie and play some arcade games. Right? So for me, when I was a high school student, I was, I know I did fairly well in the math departments and whatnot. So I did a lot of SAT tutoring, um, for high school students within the high school. Uh, there was like a program. My high school, we, I enrolled in a, we were paired with a student and since then I started my kind of tutoring career there. At first it was like, okay, here, great. I spent an hour here, I get this hourly, you know, this hourly rates. And I go home, great. I have money in my pocket and I go spend it. Right? So it was a little bit of much, uh, you know, you live paycheck to paycheck to paycheck kind of thing. It's kind of funny, but, um, and I, I had a very young age, but it's since I was 16 I started tutoring. And then it wasn't until I hit high, uh, college where, you know, tutoring really mattered to me because when I was in college, I was a commuter. I went to school at NYU, I was an economics major and you know, I was doing the economics degree, uh, requirements and as well as the sciences for dental school and uh, you know, plus commuting. That took a lot of, a chunk at a time. So there was a time in college where, you know, my first started, first semester GPA was a 2.8. And, and I was sat there kind of tutoring a high school student at the time was no, maybe two years, three years younger than me. And I sat there, I'm like, how am I able to teach this person some thing, maybe it's math, maybe it could be something else. And I don't actually have commandment over the material. And you know, like it wasn't, it was a biology class that I didn't do well in about teaching math. But by and large the concept of teaching, you know, it was a premise and the principle behind it, right? So when I started teaching, I figured this is, I cannot be teaching someone anything if I don't know how to teach myself and I've, I cannot learn the science, then I cannot learn the material to cheat someone something. So what I did was I pulled back a little bit of my teaching tutoring career and kind of reevaluate myself, took a break, you know, went on vacation with my family and came back and just hit the second sophomore year of college strong.

Lewis: Then I went, got a 3.9 straight across the board. And so I graduated and it all boiled down to my fundamentals, my, my, my own personal philosophy, which was if I am gonna commit myself to something, to a goal or whether it's teaching, tutoring, whatever it may be, I better be good at that because otherwise I'm kind of, I'm not meeting my expectations. So immediately after I actually found a lot more joy in tutoring. In fact, I started teaching more. I took on more students privately and I became a tutor in college. So I was working two part time jobs, almost three and commuting and doing those high end advanced courses. Um, and from here on it just, I just realized that I had just personally grew so fast just because I had that revelation of why can I, I can't be doing this just for the sake of making a dollar to write it for me. It was more like, now I do it because I really liked doing it. And since then I've been tutoring and as soon as I hit residency, had finished my private tutoring kind of, uh, uh, sessions and hours, I went straight to teaching at Columbia. And then since then I continued to teach.

Rob: Yeah, that's really cool.

Paul: Yeah, that's great. And I think you just shared something important is that, you know, even with sophomore year in college, that just because you're not doing as well as you want to do in something doesn't mean that you can't, it's one of the, I don't know if you guys watch some my videos I make my daughter do where I say this is dental school, John, have you saw it? I think I tag Lewis on Instagram. I said, this is dental school teaching of how to ride a balanced bike and they got bikes with no Noah pedals. Now you guys know that it's crazy. The balance bike versus being supportive. It's a joke, but it's meaningful because I think too often that we don't embrace that enough of, you know, it's, it's normal not to be good at something for a variety of reasons, but you can make yourself better. And I think as we, that's a good segue into telling us, Lewis a little bit, you know, so you do all this, you know, you work hard, you go to dental school, you do your residency, and now you own a practice and everything's just easy, right? You work like 9 to 3. You sit back and relax and collect giant checks. Everyone gets along. You've got the dream. Podcast over, right?

Lewis: Yeah. As everyone may already know, or maybe the people who want to know, but don't know, is that everything outside of that is completely the opposite, is nothing like rays of sunshine. It's a lot of rain, a lot of stormy weather. And then you're waiting for the clouds pass until the sun comes. But part of it is sometimes nicest in the rain. You know, it's fun to wait for, to the clouds to pass and then suddenly get hit by a big ray of sunlight. It is completely opposite of what people may think about practice ownership. I personally had this vision when I was in college of multi-practice ownership, maybe around my sophomore year in college actually. And I just didn't know when I was going to pursue it.

Lewis: Luckily I had partners who were supporting me and then wanted to partake in this journey and we both join forces and I actually got two others, so a total of three joining forces and then yeah, we just decided to build a practice and buy a practice on two separate, two separate things though. The one in the city. I have two other partners in the one in New Jersey that have one other partner. It's a complete opposite. You go walk in, you thinking you know these cause now you're a doctor. You, can you do, you do clinical dentistry, you think you know everything because of course now you're the big man in the office. But when they all come and see your hands, you want to and if things don't work out, you're scratching your head half the time. But I really enjoy that part.

Paul: We had Todd Fleischmann on reminds me. But Rob here, I'm their main main client. I come here, I'm the top client. I have an award or a hat I wear when I'm here. Number one client. It's got beer in it. I know, but I, you know, he has attorneys here and a team. But what's interesting, and I mean, I just like to share this with the listeners, Rob. It's like to do the dental job, you need so many people on your team. It's a very complex thing to be a dentist. And I call it like, I hope my phone doesn't go off between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM because I'll say, Oh, it's be a good day. It's going to be a good day. Oh, my hygienist has a sick child up. Okay, well that's not so good. And a lot of these are unavoidable life issues, but it's just, it's very difficult. It's, I mean, I, I've played sports growing up and uh, it's like I, I didn't play football, but I just imagined football is a very complex sport. I mean, there's so many people on the team, right? But you know, basketball is a different type of sport and it's just that, that's the challenge of practice ownership is that you just open your eyes and you're just not sure what's gonna happen. And the majority of these hurricanes or tornadoes or clouds are non dental ones, right? They're, they're more management ones. Which Lewis, I know you're back in dental school teaching, so I'm just gonna ask you, because you're the closest one we got. I'm going to teach our residency program. They're teaching a lot of business now, right? Because they realize we haven't taught businesses for 50 years, so we're going to put it in their curriculum now. Is that, is that accurate?

Lewis: Yeah, they, they, they kind of just kind of a sprinkle it expense can best describe it now with a dental school with a sprinkle some of that stuff. Uh, but it has nothing to do with the visits at all. Actually. It had nothing to do with, uh, at least when I was taught, um, it was just like, here's the future. Here's what exists. Now here's some things you should think about. And that's pretty much it. Yeah.

Rob: So where did you kind of acquire your information and sort of some of your, your skills and tools to, uh, from a business standpoint to prepare you for, for practice ownership?

Speaker 3: Td, to be honest a lot of it came from my personal motivation to want to be a part of the ownership owned practice owner. But at the same time, I like to do startups. I like the idea of innovation and being a forward thinking. So I started my initial entrepreneurship of kind of like journey by Leslie to like a podcast. So to start, it had nothing to do with Anto is, uh, just how I built this by Guy Raz. And it talked about all these big multimillion and billion dollar companies, industries, uh, that talked about how they all started. And it's really inspiring to see that all these people would just kind of did things by chance and by luck and there is a common theme and motif. So I figured why not I do it. I mean, I'll figure it out eventually.

Lewis: I learned a lot through kind of the ropes. Just kind of like having, it's like a, it's like a deck of cards thrown on the table. You may not know where you're going to get but its there. You know, you just got to keep selecting cards and then you just pick an ace so you have a nice hand. But um, there are so many resources out there. It's just not, um, a, a, a, a scarcity of it. So I just think that people need to be committed to it. I know that in this day and age, people are so, uh, distracted with those they know things. Uh, there's so many things, people are overstimulated that they're not focused on the things that could matter to them more. Right. I mean, my, uh, in my eyes, like being a practice owner and, and running a business and, uh, supporting my dreams was my thing. But, you know, it wasn't one I didn't want to just prep to eat all day.

Paul: One of the things you said there, and I love how I built this, did you, did you listen to the Peloton episode recently on that one? Which on how I built this with Guy Raz, the Peloton?

Lewis: Oh, um, no, I haven't [inaudible]

Paul: that's one of the best podcast we're ever listened to. But I think it's good for dentistry because, you know, uh, Rob does so much with startups and that really is a startup is like that, you know, and I just think they should be sharing with the dental students that these are the type of muscles you're gonna need to exercise to be successful. Uh, and the Peloton one I just really liked. My brother said to me, you're like, my brother actually has one of this is a real, real story is one of the best Peloton riders in the whole U.S. So he turned me on to this, this podcast, the guy from Peloton who, who, uh, who built it. And that's what you have to do when you're doing a startup because it's, it's a long journey. And I just think dental students, you know, every, the way we're trained, you know, Lewis, and you could tell us too, it's like, we want things to be perfect. We want things to be right. We want things to go in a straight direction and we kind of freak out when it doesn't. Right. And building a startup business and you know, Rob does dental practices with ideal practices. I know you, I want to hear more about your opportunities. It's literally the exact opposite of that. The progress can be a lot one month, none the next month. And you really have to have a lot of mental flexibility to deal with it.

Lewis: Yeah. Especially since I acquired a practice and started a practice, like trends are in progress is so variable. One week it's good. The next week it's not. One month is good and next is not. It's all relative. And I think that, yeah, like you said, having that kind of flexibility and being able to be flexible is really important. Um, cause it gives people in your team some sort of relief. Um, so that I, I mean, personally, I believe that keeping them a form of full leaf will have them, but will allow them to optimize, optimize their time at the office because they're in less focus on delivering goals and numbers all the time, but more like, cause they want to be there and don't be happy to deliver those numbers. strong, uh, I believe in work culture a lot. I think that developing a team, uh, on a personal level as well as a team level is really, really important.

Rob: Yeah. And at least Americans obviously has been on our show and she's a big proponent of that. And it's true. And I think too, it's just, you know, with a lot of people, it's a difference between having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, you know? And a lot of people cringe and they said, well, what's dentistry gonna look like 10 years from now? You know? And my answer is, it's going to be different, right? It's definitely gonna be different, you know, and, uh, you have to be able to, to adapt in any business. You know, and anybody that thinks that things are not going to change is in for a big surprise and you get left behind. And I think that's the type of culture that you can imprint on your practice, which is one of the great things about being a professional who owns their, their practice. You know, you have the ability to imprint what you want on your practice to make it what you want and, and what you want, Lewis, for your practice can be different from what Paul wants and different from what I want. But we can all do, do it the way we want to do it, how we want to do it with the people that we want to do it with. And you know, I think, you know, and I tell people that that's the most rewarding part of professional practice ownership, you know?

Paul: Yeah, that's what I was going to say to say to Rob. I mean, I, I've liked the ABC, I'm ma, I always like always be changing as opposed to dental school never change. You're going to fail, which is just bad advice. And I think that's the exciting part. And one of the things, you know, I've, I've liked getting to know you Lewis and that, you know, people from the podcast is that preparing for the future doesn't mean things are going bad now. It just means you're preparing and you know, I think that's some of the fun part. So tell us a little bit about this practice model that you have in New York it sounds, sounds very interesting. I'd like to learn more about that.

Lewis: Yeah. So, you know, I've always been a firm proponent of uh, increasing access to care. I mean, some of that philosophy kind of trickled down from my time when I was doing some volunteer work across borders, Honduras in college and in Dominican Republic when I was at dental school. So it, increased access to care has been always been, um, something that I've always wanted to do, pursue. Uh, even for myself, my business, uh, my business self, um, in New York, uh, we, we provide, uh, Invisalign whitening and hygiene. Uh, we believe that if you have it, you may already know Invisalign is such a very [inaudible] orthodontic treatment. Clear line of therapy is extremely expensive in New York city, um, everywhere rather, uh, that market rate is around seven to eight even, you know, upwards to that, uh, upwards to like maybe $10,000 a case.

Lewis: So we believed in becoming a bit more affordable to break down the barriers to entry for the consumers so that, you know, consumers can access good high quality dentistry, clear aligner therapy if they want and make them get this model deserve. So, um, we've reduced our rates to the point that's competitive to the new metropolitan area and we believe in on the ground floor is a form of accessibility. And, uh, so we have this 2000 square feet practice with six chairs, um, and it's glass doors and everything like that. And that's where we are.

Paul: That's awesome. And as we get into our nerdy dental talk that Rob loves, and I'm just a joking, that I love this idea and I mean I've had some ideas like this over my past few years of why I think these, these things are really makes sense from a consumer and dentist's standpoint. So let's say someone comes in for a cleaning and I'm just, just a dentist question, they need a crown, where do you send them?

Lewis: So any preventative stuff that's a basic like for instance, crowns and fillings that can be done in house because we have an iTero scanner, we can scan our cases and be sent to a lab as needed. So we are did impression for a year. Here we are just doing everything digital. Um, just for our systematic purposes. Um, but anything else I thought of that. Any endo, any surgical procedures, whatever it may be. Uh, those would be for Adele to our referring doctors.

Speaker 4: Man. I like that cause he's just collaborating with the dentist in your area in a way that could just be a win win for everybody.

Speaker 3: It's designed to be a brand so that we are having these referring doctors be affiliated with our brand.

Rob: Yeah. That's cool. I mean, it's neat to see that, that you're doing that and I think a lot of times, a lot of people now are very critical of sort of the, the other big corporate people that are doing a similar thing. And look, you know, back to what we were talking about a few minutes ago, change is inevitable and it's neat to see that you are staying in front of the wave with that instead of waiting until you get taken out to pick yourself up and figure out like what happened five years ago and think it's a very progressive approach to, you know, what, what is the best way to, to offer treatment and in a competitive way. And that's how you remain relevant in any market.

Lewis: Yeah. I mean, it's crazy. It's crazy how, uh, people are super informed about clear aligner therapy these days at, um, like if we're, you know, a blink of an eye, the first thing that people want now is clearliner therapy. I mean, I think about button, most people don't even quoted events anymore. They go straight to these, uh, locations to get treatment. Um, and then they for go and seeing that says sometimes, you know, and a, a mold and I, I don't know, um, personal experience, but I would imagine that a lot of orthodontists start treatments prior to clearing them for treatments, you know, so, so I think that, um, that's interesting too, right? That there, there has been a mass trend and a mass trend forward just making sure that people are getting their teeth straightened. Right. There's so many corporations now that are starting to own sort of a technology. It's unreal how much plastic can move teeth, I'm wearing invisilign too right now actually.

Paul: It's also like, you know, sometimes that we're having like bunch of small humans at our house and I walked downstairs, I'm like, who's in charge here? And they're like, Oh, none of you are in charge. This is a bad scenario. So at least in your model, Lewis, without going down into the whole discussion of all the DIY stuff going on, Rob wanted Rob's favorite terms. But you know what I think is cool is like you're supervising this like huge robbed world. It's like you're the lifeguard of this world where there's dentists who are knowledgeable and when people are coming in asking for what they want, you also can infuse what they need responsibly, you know? So that's part of it.

Lewis: I mean I think the focus is really wellness, you know, right in, into the lifestyle. To have good oral health and to maintain that is, I mean most people would think about especially in New York city, everything is all like wellness space, right? You can go to anything. We're trying to incorporate that kind of, and I, that concept is that, you know, anything that happens in the mouth is really going to manifest in the body. So, um, it's a different spin on that.

Paul: I also think we should go easier on our patients to some degree cause they're just people surprise prize patients are people, dentists, we're kind of people. But my point is that a lot of dentists you see on the Facebook groups, like a patient, a person wants to get their teeth straightened. We shouldn't criticize them cause people want to go to a trainer and get in shape for the beach. So you went to a trainer and said, I've got to get in shape for the summer. And they said, well, we're going to stretch for a while. You know, they're not going to be engaged. So it's, it's a combination of saying, you know, giving them what they want in a responsible way. You know, we can get in shape for the summer, but it's also important to work on your flexibility. And that's where I think your model is just, you know, really fitting that niche that you guys have developed. So I compliment you.

Lewis: Thank you. It's good to be having people who want to seem bored who have a similar mindset, uh, is, uh, that dentistry, should it be too expensive, right? I mean, uh, I mean, I can't imagine like if I were to go to a practice and say, Hey, here's $10,000 to get your teeth straight. And I'm like, what? It doesn't make sense, at least for me as a, as a, as a financially set, like more financially, uh, budget friendly person.

Rob: So look, are you in that practice on a, on a regular basis or how do you split your time between the, uh, the practice in Greenwich Village and the practice in Edgewater, New Jersey?

Lewis: So I spend my time, uh, I kind of spend my time on both, um, half and half. So I work and I associate two days a week. So I associate Sunday Mondays. Tuesday, Wednesdays I'm in my Edgewater practice. Uh, and Thursdays I'm in the Greenwich office, but we'll be opening our doors up to Fridays and Saturdays soon too. So I'll be there as well.

Paul: I also want to ask you, Lewis, you, you've been kind of to speak for us and, and I want to develop like you ever see oceans 11 where they have the crew of, uh, of people. I want to do that for speakers, but we don't have to Rob, Rob, anything. Rob is on the team. He's tenured. He's non-paid, tenured position on the speaking team. Um, but uh, you know, what does that mean? Just means you have to come and you come and look at the margarita. You get the margaritas. You can get the fringe benefits, but I'm really passionate about building up other speakers. And you know, we had Todd Fleischmann here who, you know, when I asked him to speak at first, he was not like, Oh cool, I'll do that, cause dentists on through, there's like, I don't know if I want to do that. So I've helped him and he's just been amazing. And be a boost a speaker this week in bootcamp speaker and you're going to be a new dance bootcamp speaker. Tell us a little bit about your speaking journey and where that's brought you. I think it's so important that younger people are involved with speaking and teaching, but it's becoming a bit of a lost art because there's not the incentive that there used to be to do it. So just share with us a little bit about that.

Lewis: From my desire commitment to teaching education, I've always wanted to do it in me. I, as soon as I, uh, you know, reached a revelation that teaching was something that I loved and giving back with something I love to do. Uh, I knew that I needed to do that in dentistry. So, I started my speaking career kind of just like, you know, as many study clubs from lecturers at clubs and schools, so on and so forth. So it kind of helped bring, you know, increase my, uh, or train my public speaking skills. Which still is a work in progress setting. It's always a work in progress. And then, then I met you then I was, it was really my first time going to Philadelphia to speaking. So that was a great opportunity for me to kind of learn to engage with others, um, both live and as well in person. And then since then, uh, I've been on a journey with you, um, to the dentist, dentist, bootcamps, then, uh, I kind of lecturing for your clubs

Paul: I would like to point out, you know, not everybody wants to get up like me, like 50 to a hundred times a year speaking. I love it. It's really actually my favorite thing to do. But what I share with is it really makes you better with presenting to patients and people. So I encourage all dentists, you know, take a Toastmaster's course. Even I, I've, I have this wonderful, I've had two great speaker coaches, Karen Cortel Reisman but Karen Cortel rice my, I've had recently and when I was doing her training for my transition presentations, I just needed to put one together fairly quickly. All I kept thinking was she should be training dentist how to talk to people because that's, that's the magic. And I encourage our listeners, like, you know, even if you don't want to speak at a study club, I encourage you to do so that, that type of exercise, right, to use that is just so valuable in how you present the patients.

Lewis: Yeah, absolutely. I think that, uh, I think I always tell my team like, verbiage is everything. You know, like it's the way you present yourself in a content, the way you present your content. It's, it's, it is always a way to be better with how you present your material and present your kind of thoughts and ideas. Um, I've always loved to do that cause I think that's always a internal challenge for me to be very effective with, uh, in condensing all the information and maybe a couple of sentences. I'm still learning and I think that's always fun.

Rob: Yeah. I mean I think it's similar to my profession too that you know, a good presentation gives you credibility, right? You know, and credibility and when you're trying to build a relationship of trust, whether it's an attorney/client relationship or a doctor/patient relationship just based on people's trust in you. And you know, it's not like any of us are trying to sell something that these people don't need and it doesn't, not in their best interest, but you know, it's how we project that is and how that's perceived is, you know, is going to have a great impact on the decisions they make as to whether it be the government to get certain treatment or sign up for certain services that they, that is really in their best interest and will benefit.

Paul: Totally. I mean, I've said this all the time. The reason I, I mean, Rob has helped me many a times with my, you know, expansions practices and whatever fees I pay to an attorney, I win more than that, right? Because I'm getting my, you know, business life changed. So when I talk to a patient and I'll do this at the bootcamp with one of my, uh, key cases and add a new one in, I don't, I'm totally confident because I know I'm helping them more than they're helping me. I mean, they're just giving me money and I'm changing their life. So I respect that they're investing their money. But I'm just excited to the changing life part. And I think they sense that, right. And I think dental school just doesn't make you confident that what you're doing - very weird and toxic. It doesn't make you confident that you're helping them and you've almost should feel bad. You're charging them when if you go to your patients, you've had this done, they would tell anyone else like, Oh yeah, it's worth the money to do it the right way. So I think that's, you know, a key, a key part that I just liked that, that message out to younger and younger dentists. Uh, so they really can enjoy their career more.

Lewis: No, I think you're right. I mean, even though I had finished my requirements there very early on and my fourth year, I just love to see patients. I just love to be learning the craft more and more under the supervision of faculty. Because I mean, when you're in private practice, no one is going to help you. I'll hold your hand, you know? So I figured might as well get my hand held for as long as I can. And even when I, and so the day I graduated, I was still in clinic, um, to finish some cases but not cause I need, you know, needed super cause I wanted to. And I think that kind of translated to everything else I did. And um, that kind of ties in with teaching because, um, I think that the, the uh, public speaking coins, uh, lecture rains that some, most people don't have the desire to do it. I think that, like you say, it is a lost art, but I think there are very few and far between people nowadays. So who love to do this. Um, and there are a lot of old timers in industry who continued to do it. Right. But there's, as we all know, there will be a turnover and the question is where will be the next turnover?

Rob: Hey Lois, thanks. Uh, thanks much for taking the time to be on the show. If people want to reach out to you, how, how's the best way to do that?

Speaker 3: Uh, they can, uh, you can shout, uh, give me a shout out, uh, on Instagram or email me at lewischendds@gmail.com.

Rob: Sounds good. Thanks for taking the time.

Lewis: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.

Rob: Thanks Louis.

Lewis: All right, of course. All right. Take care guys.

Rob: So another doctor or nacho in the making here, a young dentist who's very invested in and focused on, on education, which was your advice.

Paul: I saw him at the greater New York Dental Meeting and just what he's doing is great. Energetic young guy delivering the right message. Uh, love that, you know, he wants to be involved with speaking. We need, we need more of these people in our, in our industry, uh, doing this.

Rob: Yeah. And it doesn't have to be like a selfless thing either. I mean, you really can improve yourself and your practice by making that investment in time. And you know, he was talking about the fact that he realized even in a younger age, I guess when he was in college or a high school, yeah. You know, that really what the dividend was on that and that goes beyond just the money that you're paid. I mean, if you make, there's a certain accountability that you have to have, you know, to teach and you, and I think also as we said, you know, almost becomes like a mantra. You know, if you say the right way to do it and teach people the right way to do it enough times, then it's really hard for you then to go back clinically and do it the wrong way. Right. Very true.

Paul: It's a, it's been great and it makes you sort of revisit your, your roots and and a lot of times it's what's just for our industry, for everyone. So you stay in touch with the youngest people in it, which is just so important, you know, for a variety of reasons.

Rob: well and not least of which is learning. Right. And like learning and the ability to learn and pick up new things is the ultimate, you know, growth mindset that allows you to continue to evolve professionally. And I think currently, you know, the greatest expression of that is that, you know, here he is, Dr. Chen and some, you know, some partners, they're not complaining about the fact that there are these big corporate, you know, storefront operations. They're trying to figure out a way to be better than that or compete against.

Paul: To exist and do their own things. I think that's great.

Rob: Good stuff. Thanks, Paul.

Paul: Thanks, Rob.

Outro: Thanks for listening to another great podcast with the Dental Amigos, and don't forget to tune in next time to have the dental business demystified. If you're looking for more information about today's podcast, you can find it on the dentalamigos.com. If you're looking for Paul, you can find Paul at paulgoodman.com and if you're looking for Rob, you can find him at yourdentallawyer.com. This podcast has been sponsored by Orange Line Media Group, helping dentists and other professionals create content people love. Find out how we can help you. Take your to the next level at www.orangelinemedia.com. Until next time...


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