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VIDEO - DUwHF #868 - Sam Dominick
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AUDIO - DUwHF #868 - Sam Dominick
Sam Dominick graduated from SUNY at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine in 1995. He completed a 2 Year GPR at the VAMC Sepulveda. Dr. Dominick met his wife Jody during dental school and has been married to her since 1998. They relocated to Arizona in 1999 and Sam began working for Today's Dental in 2001. He opened his own practice in Chandler in 2009.
Howard: It is just a huge honor today to have Sam Dominick come over my house today, gosh darn, Sam
Sam: Thank you so much sir, great to see you again.
Howard: So, in my years at Today's Dental I've had associates, and I have to say you and Tom Jacoby were the two great... I shouldn't say that because I had some other great ones, but God dang it, I think it was eight and a half years sitting next to you and Tom Jacoby, and I love you. Tom Jacoby is still the editor of Dentaltown and he has been since what, 2000? I mean...
Sam: Since that position existed I think.
Howard: Yeah, he's been the editor since 2000, so this is 2017, I had algebra or something and that's about seventeen years.
Sam: That's math, do dentists still need math? I don't know.
Howard: But I think you and Sam are... you and Tom are, you're the two smartest dentists I know. I mean, you don't realize what you did for my career because when... what year did you start working there?
Sam: I started in 2001, and that was because of Tom. I was gun shy, I had a, kind of, a miserable experience when I worked in Albany, I worked for a company that was just a shady operation and they were always trying to you know ring a little extra out of you to make you do unscrupulous things. And as my dad will tell you the quickest way to get me to not do something is to try to make me do it and I will dig my heels in like a stubborn mule. And so, Tom had, sort of, said: hey, why don't you come a look at this position here and I said: I don't know that that's for me, and I think I turned it down once. And then someone else came and they went rather quickly and he said maybe “I think you should really, really look into this” and I said okay Tom. Tom is a really well researched, trustworthy guy, I've known Tom for over half my life, I've known Tom since I was twenty years old, that's a long time because I'm an old, fat man.
Howard: And you're forty six?
Sam: I'm forty six years old.
Howard: And you've known him twenty six years?
Sam: : Twenty six years, he took me out for my 21st birthday, that's how long I've known Tom. So, he continually said, I think you should look into this. I must have peppered him with the eight hours worth of questions, which he dutifully answered, and convinced me to come aboard, and I don't regret it for a minute, it's one of the better decisions I've ever made. I think I became a much better dentist, much more confident in being there and I was always treated exceedingly well. It was everything I could have hoped for in an associate-ship that I never expect I would ever get. So, that's how I started there.
Howard: Well you... I had the honor to work with you and Tom, you for eight and a half years, and those were some wild times in my life. I mean, 2001 we were starting doing the Dentaltown website and all that stuff, you gave me more business advice you and... I called you guys the voice of reason, I called Tom, I said, you're the voice of reason, you're the most genius cynical dentist I've ever met in my life. You could call bullshit from an [ 03:00 inaudible]. I was so naive back then, so many times I'd be reading something and saying this, and I'd show it to you I'd think you'd be all happy and excited, and you're just, that is total bullshit, and let me tell you why. And you really... I can credit you at raising my bullshit meter from five to a hundred and five, fair or not?
Sam: I hope so. Because I was a little worried coming here, I figured I was going to take the superlative of being the least informative, least practical person you've ever had on this show or at the end of it people are going to go, why would Howard have that guy on there? He's obviously deranged, like, there's nothing I got from this whatsoever. So at least if I can stake my claim to that I'd be happy with that. Because I do feel I'm a natural cynic, I'm a natural pessimist, I will readily advertise that, I came out of the womb being like a cranky fifty year old. By sixteen... like I said people are like, you're absolutely an old man, I have a reputation as being an old man. I trust no one and I am rarely disappointed because people let you down constantly so your guard is always up. I wish... I just said this today on Dentaltown, I wish that I was maybe a little dumber and a little bit more optimistic, I think life would be a little bit easier, but the reality is that you can't fake who you are, I've been this way forever, so.
Howard: Well, I've got to add two things. So, I've got two older sisters, three younger sisters and a sister right, [ 04:21 inaudible], I guess in today's terminology you'd call her special needs, the term we used to call her is not appropriate any more. But one of my best friends in Phoenix is Mike Murphy who runs, works at a special needs center. And I was over there I remember, it was back in, like, '87, and he told me something [ 04:43 inaudible], he said, most people feel sorry for special needs children, he said, they're the luckiest people on Earth. And I was looking at all these thirty, forty year old people and they're swinging and this, and me and Mike are talking about at the time some political drama of the day, and this forty year old guy walks up to me and goes, we were supposed to have graham crackers and frosting ten minutes ago, and I thought... and Mike said, can you manage that? Could you imagine the biggest stress of your day is relayed on graham crackers and frosting? And I realized back then that they're the luckiest people on Earth because when you... and part of my journey of happiness, me and my brother talk about this all the time, Paul, is if you want to get really happy you have to keep lowering your expectations of man and realize they're just talking monkeys with clothes on, and the reason they let you down is because your expectations are too high. So, I want to start... and I'm a huge fan of your eight thousand two hundred and ninety five posts, I don't know who's a bigger fan of your posts me or my buddy Gigi, who thinks... if you just say Sam Dominick she just bursts out laughing.
Sam: She's a riot.
Howard: But she loves you to death. I'll give you some deal, cynic, you turned me around in one second with like, Pew Trust where they're trying to... mid-level therapists and all this, and my thinking on that is the deans thought that, well, the way we get people to go out into rural is we just keep gradually more and more dentists and they'll go out there. But the evidence is overwhelming that, if you're at University of Missouri, Kansas City and you're complaining that there's no dentists or not enough dentists in Nevada, Missouri in Parsons, Kansas in Hays, Kansas that if you just accept a bunch of boys from Kansas City they all graduated and stay in Kansas City, if you want a boy to go from Hays, Kansas you need to start accepting boys from Hays Kansas, but it doesn't fit your profile because maybe that boy only has a three point one and you're filling your seats with four point oh Asian kids in downtown Kansas City who aren't ever going to go to Hays, Kansas or Nevada, Missouri. And when they start accepting kids from rural, specifically targeting these counties and cities those kids go back because that's where their mom and dad live, that's where their girlfriend lives, that's where they want to go. And a lot of dentists have been figuring this out where for years they just said, well, hygienists all want to practice in Kansas City and Wichita, they don't want to come out to Salina. And then some dentist started taking matters into their own hands and saying, I'm in a town of two thousand, who's the only girl that's going to live out here? Someone that goes to this high school. So they went to the high school and said, I'm having an essay contest for why I want to be a dental hygienist, and the top prize is a scholarship to the hygiene school and two girls filled out the essay. So, he won them both and they went, and then two years later what did he have?
Sam: Two hygienists, home grown.
Howard: He had two hygienists in a town of two thousand, that grew up in this city, knows everybody, so where does everybody in that town that went to school with her, church with her, played ball with her? I mean, just... so, if you want kids to go rural... so, Pew Trust, these dental schools, be a cynic on the the dental schools because I kind of, feel like these dental schools, these kids... I feel sorry for them because their first decade of life they're entitled with to pay for this bloated dental school bureaucracy and they're going to graduate with $350000 of student loans to pay for all these jobs...
Sam: Three fifty is on the low end, three fifty is almost like a state school now, private's what, four fifty, five hundred, that's obscene.
Howard: So, he'll work from twenty five to forty just to provide jobs for all the dental school bureaucracy and then what's their answer? Oh well, you didn't go rural so now we need to go mid-level providers to do what you can't even pay off what you... and then I look at the dentists and the fact that when you come out of dental school you don't know nothing, and the most successful dentists, like, a hundred hours of CE a year for ten, twenty, thirty years and now it... and all I can tell dentists is you just got to keep learning, learning, learning, learning, learning and then you're going to come to these people and say, oh no, we're going to put people in with half the training.
Sam: Well, the problem is what do you do when you've got $500000 in student loan debt? I graduated... I made a decision. I was living in Los Angeles at the time, I loved Los Angeles it was my adopted hometown, I'd lived there longer than anywhere, I moved around all the time growing up. So, one of the reasons I wanted to become a dentist was because I wanted to decide where I was going to live, where I was going to stay and no one was going to make me do any different. But ultimately when it came time to go to dental school I wasn't accepted at UCLA, so USC was one of the options, but at the time it was $180000, it was a lot of money.
Howard: USC was $180000 a year?
Sam: Just for tuition. Once you got the...
Howard: Did that include all the free Trojans you can wear?
Sam: No, it probably included dodging a lot of bullets because it was Watts adjacent, and if you've ever spent any time down there it's still not gentrified, just so you know, might be now but the last time I drove down there it was still rather dicey. So, I was accepted at a few private schools, two of which closed immediately after I was accepted to them, Loyola, Chicago and Northwestern.
Howard: Loyola and Northwestern, those are both in Chicago.
Sam: Both in Chicago. And fortunately those were the first two I was accepted to and didn't go there because I was still holding out hope. And one of the things was, I applied to go to Buffalo and Buffalo at the time was a state, and still is a state school, and after one year you could get in-state tuition. So I was out of state for a year, I paid I think twenty thousand, and then every year after that, the next three I paid maybe nine. So, even with taking out enough money to buy one dollar Labatts Blues and Molson's pretty much six or seven nights a week depending. And it shows that I've invested well, I still left dental school with $68000 of debt total, which is a pretty easy nut. So, that makes a lot more, that gives you a lot more flexibility in deciding what you're going to do. $500000 is more than I paid for my house that I currently still live in, by double, and my tuition. So, now all of a sudden you've got a $500000 nut that you've got to start paying on almost immediately afterwards, you've got to start making a living.
Howard: So, what did you graduate, what was your student loan debt?
Sam: About sixty eight thousand.
Howard: Sixty eight thousand, mine was eighty seven, and your house was two... how much did you pay for the house?
Sam: Two thirty. Now, I do live in.... I live in a hovel, so I mean, we don't want to.
Howard: That just means you have high self-esteem. I mean, I look at these dentists who bought normal, small, nice first houses and are still in them like you, Tom Madden, that are living reasonable. I see kids walk out of A.T.Still $half a million in debt buy an $85000 BMW and now they're closing on some $750000 house in Scottsdale and I'm like, dude, did you put out an album that I missed? I mean.
Sam: There's no money in albums anymore.
Howard: Are you a rock star or are you swinging baseball bats? I mean, they they come out thinking they're ballers.
Sam: Yeah. Well.
Howard: And it's all borrowed money.
Sam: It is a little frightening. But again, then what do you do? Do you think those people are going to go out rural and start a practice or they're going to buy a practice and do that? No, they've got all these DSOs that are there to funnel them in there and I think you could make a good living doing that, but you are making a living for somebody else ultimately. It's a difficult situation, I do feel badly for them but at the same time you, sort of, know what you're getting into beforehand. Again, I was twenty when I went to dental school, so I was making that decision, I think when I was nineteen or twenty I was making the decision to be more prudent with that. I wanted to stay in Los Angeles, I loved Los Angeles, my friends were there, my girlfriend was there, all sorts of things, my family, but I chose to go to Buffalo because I knew that that was a smarter financial decision.
Howard: And you loved your girlfriend, what does she do now? Work in some record store?
Sam: No, I wish.
Howard: You did what the smartest kids in dental school do, you married a girl in your class so your wife is... so you're a professional double income, which usually only the girls are smart enough to do. Maybe Jody married you and you didn't marry Jody, because seems like the girls in the class... and in your class, another smart girl in your class, Grace, married Tom Jacoby, who's editor of Dentaltown and worked with the three of us, and it seems like the girls are so smart they marry guys in the class, so they're professional, double income doctors and... where so many of the guys marry the hottest looking chick at the waffle house and then... so, their wife will spend $10000 a month because she married a rich dentist whereas some of the other dentists married a rich dentist. So I mean, if your wife's making ten grand and your wife's spending ten grand from twenty five to forty five... so, what is ten grand a month? $10000 times twelve, times forty, no no, that's... so, $10000 a month times twelve months, is a hundred and twenty thousand, times forty, that's four point eight million, so that's a $5 million difference. So, if your wife spends five thousand a month she costs you two and a half million, if she spends ten thousand a month that's five million. So I mean, it's a $5 million difference marrying a spouse out of your dental school class as it is marrying someone who the men always fall... because some of these men, I'll say, look in the mirror dude, okay you're, like, on a one to ten you're a five, you're a geek, you're a nerd and look at your girlfriend, she looks like she could be the lead singer of a rock band, why do you think she's with you? Because she's marrying a rich dentist, physician, lawyer and she's never going to... and she knows right now she'll never work a day in your life. That's cool, but that'll cost you $5 million and her looks is a depreciation asset, her looks gets worse everyday and your income goes up, so is that really what you want to marry? Because when two professional degrees get married, like when two dentists get married, two lawyers get married, two [inaudible] get married, their divorce rate's only 9%, but in the general public it's 50%. So, you I mean, I think you've done so many damn things right, you've married a dentist, you live below your means, you went to a public school.
Sam: Right, I agree, I made some smart decisions, I made some bad decisions.
Howard:You made genius decisions.
Sam: Let's be honest though, I mean, Jody's slumming, my wife is slumming, she married down, I married up.
Howard: I know, you're a genius.
Sam: I'm fortunate. Yeah, exactly, I got lucky.
Howard: The only bad decision that you make, that you made repeatedly... no, I have to, this is a true story. If he buys an album or goes to a concert is like, really? I've never heard... I mean, it'll be like, a big famous band'll come in town, I'll say, Sam, you going to that? He goes, no, I'm going to slinky dinky and the rinky gronkies, I mean, I've never heard of 99% of all your music or concerts and you've turned down every name brand or the big name brands to go to these off brand. Where did you where did you develop your music taste?
Sam: That was courtesy of growing up in Los Angeles. I moved to Los Angeles when I was fourteen, and I liked the same thing that every other.
Howard: From where?
Sam: From Philadelphia, so... or suburban Philadelphia. So, I liked the same stuff at that point that every other suburban Philadelphia Boy did, Led Zeppelin, Rush, The Who, all sorts of classic rock, you name it. And so, I got to California and I still liked those things, I still remember, like, one of the first days in class, I might never have been cool, but I think my cool quotient was at its absolute lowest my first couple of months in California's school system. I remember I had an iPod, not an iPod, what am I talking about? I had a cassette Walkman that was about as big as a pull out car stereo, the thing was enormous, and I remember listening to Derek and the Dominoes, and one of the girls in the class, I don't remember what class it was, came up and she was like, what are you listening to? And I gave her the cassette jacket and she looks at it and says, Derek and the Dominos, Bell Bottom Blues, like, who are you? She was basically making fun of me, but I still liked it, but they were all into different things. And then I met my friend Scott who is one of my oldest friends, we're still friends to this day, and he was a lot more avant-garde than I was. And I remember just going out with him, and I was a little younger than everyone in my class, so when I was fourteen and fifteen almost everyone else had driver's licenses. So, we would go out and we would buy an album by like, some sort of random punk that he had read about or heard about. And I remember the first one he played for me, there was two of them, one of them was a group called Fear, which was, they were just hardcore at the time, they'd gotten kicked off of Saturday Night Live at one point, that's who they were, big proponents by John Belushi. So we go to get the album and he puts it in the car, and I think to myself this might be the worst thing I have ever heard in my entire life, it is so terrible. And then I got home and I was sitting in my bed and I just kept thinking about it and thinking about it, and I was like, maybe that wasn't the worst thing I ever heard, maybe I think I need to hear that again. So the next thing, I called him, I was like, hey, can I borrow that cassette? And that kind of, that was it, the wheels were spinning at that point, I kind of, never looked back. And then the second group, I'm going to mention this because if anyone in Arizona is listening to this I'm going to stump for this, it was Arizona's own, Tempe's own Meat Puppets, Up on the Sun tour 1986, I saw them live but I bought the album in 1985, they're being inducted into the Arizona rock n roll hall of fame this Thursday with all three original members. They still do a show here.
Howard: Are you going?
Sam: I'm not going to this one it's just a...
Howard: I didn't know Arizona had a rock n roll hall of fame.
Sam: I didn't know either, but.
Howard: Ryan, text me, he says Arizona rock n roll hall of fame.
Sam: It's at the Celebrity Theater. And so, that was the other album, that was the first show I'd seen that wasn't in a giant arena, it was in a small place, it was in a guitar store, it was standing room only and it was the most chaotic thing I'd ever seen and it was all the who's who of Los Angeles sort of like, punk rock. Guys from X were there, Fishbone, dudes from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers when they were still a tangible sort of thing were there. Flea ran up on stage and I remember pulled the pants of the bass player down, so he was playing pants less for a couple of songs. The singer would whip his hair around, his glasses would fly off into the audience and he would just solo. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen. I mean, I'm only half joking when I say, the only reason I do dentistry is so I could afford to buy albums and go to concerts, that's what lubricates.
Howard: And you have a lot of albums.
Ssm: I do have a lot of albums.
Howard: Do you still buy albums?
Sam Oh, I do.
Howard: And play it on a phonograph?
Sam: I don't play them on the phonograph as much I still buy compact discs, I still buy albums. I'm lazy, I convert them to electronic sources like MP4s and MP3s and things like that, it's just more convenient, but I still like to own them. And it drives my wife crazy because every spare space is littered horizontally with albums and CDs and books and things like that.
Howard: I love your wife Jody, I think she is one of the smartest... you guys go down to the Townie meeting every...
Sam: Every year.
Howard: Every year?
Sam: We're going to Orlando.
Sam: We will go. I don't love Orlando, Florida might be my least favorite state in the union.
Howard Why is that?
Sam: Everything I hate is from Florida.
Howard Well, that's because... what is everything you hate if from Florida?
Sam: Mostly my sister in law, sorry if you're listening, actually not sorry.
Howard: Who married your only brother?
Howard: Well, it's funny because... you didn't have children?
Howard: I have two grandchildren now. And so, I'm a selfish bastard, I want to start taking my kids to Orlando. And we've done the... I also believe this, from a visitor's point of view, when we were little , Vegas was the big allure, the Rat Pack, what were those called croners or what music genre?
Sam: The crooners, yeah, Joey Bishop, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jnr.
Howard: And their genre was crooners, right? I don't know what a crooner is but it was Frank Sinatra, they called that genre crooners and Vegas was crooners and Martini's and gambling and wild women and I think the millennials think that's all gross and so, I don't know, we're going to try Orlando.
Sam: Well, try it, what's the worst that could happen, right?
Howard: Yeah, nothing. So, we committed the next two years in Orlando, we'll try it, who knows? And my granddaughter is already upgrading it, actually not her, her mother, how about we do Orlando and then the Disney cruise the week before or after? I'm like, really? So we've already upgraded the Disney World to a damn cruise too? But I kid you not Sam, 99% of all the concerts you've been to I've never even heard of one time.
Sam: It's... Phoenix is.
Howard: How do you find this stuff?
Sam: Well okay, so you mentioned one thing right there, I don't have children, so all the time that people who have families that dutifully attend to their children do, I don't have that and that's not being critical of that certainly, if I'd had children it would be a whole different ballgame, I would have readily abandoned some of those things to do that. But music is my passion, I grew up loving music, I had friends in a record store that I'm still friends with, we just, we scoured... we used to read music magazines, we'd go to websites and things like that, I find things that I like and try to champion them. I have a nice group of guys, one of them is your I.T. director Ken Scott, that he and I and his group of friends they've been kind enough to invite me into their fold, shows here and usually one person finds out who's coming to town and then the rest put it up to a vote, who wants to go to this? The concerts are relatively inexpensive so you could afford to go see a bunch of concerts that are only twenty, twenty five bucks as opposed to say the U2 show which is going to run you three hundred a ticket, you really got to want to go see U2 for $300.
Howard: I'm 100% Irish, I had the whole tree worked out for the kids, because my mom and dad always told me we were 100% Irish, so you don't know if it's true or not. Mormons are huge into genealogy with a huge Mormon temple in Mesa, so I went over there and.
Sam: Do you think there's a lot of Mormons here in Arizona?
Howard: Oh yeah, this is South Utah man, are you kidding me?
Sam: I'm kidding.
Howard: Probably 10% of all my dentist friends are LDS, but anyway, I should get an honorary LDS because I've got four kids and an SUV, and I'm a dentist.
Sam: That's right. Well, you don't have the Suburban anymore.
Howard: If you're a dentist in Phoenix with four kids and an SUV you should at least get LDS and in parentheses, honorary.
Sam: True story, so, years ago I had to get a little surgery on the back of my leg and because I'm who I am I let it go long enough that they're like, yeah, if you took care of this maybe six months ago we could have done it here in the office but now we need to knock you out for it, I was like, okay. So, the anesthesiologist is pushing me down the hallway, he says, can I ask you a personal question? And I figure I'm an open book for the most part, why not? What's the worst he's going to ask me, sort of thing, maybe he'll hit on me and I'll get up there it'll be a nice feather in my cap. But no, he says, are you by any chance LDS? And I said, I'm not, but now I'm curious as to what would have made you possibly think that about me, do I vibe like that? Am I giving off a signal? I certainly don't have any accouterments on me that would indicate that, I wasn't wearing the garments or anything like that. He's just said, no, it's just you know dentists out here, it's, like, there's so many dentists and so many of them are LDS, so I just wanted to know if you knew what the appeal was? I said, I really don't, I suspect that it probably is a nice lifestyle with a lot of flexibility that allows you a lot of family time but I said, other than that I wouldn't know.
Howard: I swear to God its culture, I've been to... I've lectured in fifty countries and some cultures just really, really instill in their children, you're going to go to school and you're going to become a doctor or a dentist or lawyers, crossing my mind, Farsis, Persians, Lebanese, Israelis, Jewish, LDS, a lot of cultures. Yeah, my favorite Family Guy skit is an Asian man, his little kid's ten years old, playing a video game, and his dad barged in the room and goes, you a doctor yet? He goes, dad, I'm ten, and dad gets mad and slams the door. I mean, how many... remember the Asian tiger mom? I've got to bring up... you talked about your... you just mentioned a car, how did you mention car?
Sam: The Suburban we were talking about.
Howard: Oh, the Suburban. True story, you can't make this shit up, it's 2005, I would work at Today's Dental and only have like, one minute, they'd be yelling at me, your plane leaves in fifty two minutes, and I'd run out of the dental office, by the time I get to the gate... I can't tell you how many times I got to the gate and they'd closed the door and I'm like, come on, I'm lecturing every week and everything. And I needed a new car, and I wouldn't do it, and my staff asked, and finally you said, I'll buy you a damn car. You got on the damn phone, you bought me... sight unseen, you found me... my SUV had had like a hundred and fifty thousand miles, Suburban, you found me an SUV, I said, get a nicer one, so instead of an American one you got me a Lexus and the deal was it was going to be over the phone and they had to drive it over to my dental office. So, I'm getting done with a filling, I'll never forget it, they're like... I said, what's this? they go, you've got to sign this, and I said what is it? He goes, Dr. Dominick's just ordered this car for you, and your secretary just gave him the money, and you need to sign here. And then he goes, well, do you want to go out and look at it? I go, dude, I've got a patient. And I still have that car.
Sam: I know, it's a great car.
Howard: It's got a hundred... what year was that, 2005?
Sam: 2005 or 6 I think, I don't remember exactly.
Howard: It was in 2005, and that car has got a hundred and forty thousand... it's never blinked or farted, nothing's ever been wrong with it, thank you so much.
Sam: You're welcome.
Howard: And I've got to thank another... whenever he asks me if it's the golden age of dentistry... I graduated in the golden age, and is the golden age still here? And I say two things I say, number one, I did graduate in the golden age, because back then we did gold crowns, porcelain fused, semi-precious gold, and now it's really gone from the golden age to the titanium implant age, because you look at the growth of the dental industry, the implant market is growing two to three times that growth rate, and the only other sector doing that is like, Invisalign. But I have seven restorations in my mouth, they're all gold, and I think you did almost, what, half of them?
Sam: I did two I think.
Howard: You only did two?
Sam: I think I only did two, my memory's not great on that, we could go back and look.
Howard: Who did the rest, Dr. Glass?
Sam: I assume Glass probably did a couple, I would think.
Howard: Well I mean, I can't think of who else worked on my mouth, it had to be you, Glass, who else?
Sam: Well, there's probably a couple of people, but we'll save their names to protect the innocent, just in case.
Howard: But anyway, that dentistry was perfect.
Sam: Thank you, thank you I'm glad.
Howard: Every time I get my [inaudible] done, and every time I look at the intro camera, that was some perfect gold work.
Sam: The only people ever get gold anymore are other dentists. Like, every dentist, if you ever look at their mouth, they'll always have gold crowns and everything like that, it's phenomenal.
Howard: And you know what's weird? Is that porcelain fused to metal would break, and there was a couple of turds that came out over the years one was Artglass by [28:92 inaudible], one was Targis and Vectris, they came apart, they denuded. So, now they've got this Zirconium that's so hard it's not going to crack, but now my endodontist friends are saying, so what's cracking now? The root canal tooth underneath it. Because when you bit on something really hard and the weakest link was the porcelain and the metal that was a good thing, now that the porcelain ain’t giving the root canal fractures, the root is giving. And that's why I still love gold because it's soft, it's a shock absorber, I mean, it's sad because women will decorate every part of their body with gold but not their teeth, because with their teeth it points out a flaw, but when it's on their ear, their nose or their navel, the ring or whatever it's jewelry. But on teeth it points out a flaw, so they won't do it and it's still the greatest restoration, so thank you for the free dentistry. And your dental assistant, I think you motivated... we need to get Kelly Bradley on the show, shout out to Kelly Bradley, she was your dental assistant, she assisted both of us. But I think it was working with you mostly and me a little, that she went to dental school and she became a dentist, that was a big part of you.
Sam: She did, and she's a big success. She's out in [29:20 inaudible].
Howard: I mean, I will officially take credit for it because it's my show.
Sam: Please do.
Howard: But no no, and I think she's one of the most amazing dentists period.
Sam: Yeah, I used to see her at the Townie meetings for a couple of years afterwards, I haven't seen her in a little while, I mean, hopefully she's doing really well.She...
Howard: Busy raising two boys.
Howard:They're into every motor cycle, cross, BMX bike, motorcycle.
Sam: She was tougher than me by a lot.
Howard: Oh, she was, my God.
Sam: She could probably still take me.
Howard: I think she could beat the shit out of both of us at the same time.
Sam:Right, at the same time, I know it worries me a little bit.
Howard: Yeah, I mean, this is a girl that was gorgeous and beautiful and did dentistry during the day and then by eight o'clock at night she had a wrench in her hand, oil all over her hand and fixing a motorcycle or a four-wheel drive truck.
Sam: They had that awesome Bronco, I mean, that's one of my big regrets is I should have bought the Bronco from her at like, rock bottom prices before she went to dental school because those things are going for obscene amounts of money now.I think, she was like, Asking maybe like, $15000 for it. It's certainly not a daily driver although I think they drove it pretty regularly, but now those things are going for like, fifty, sixty, seventy thousand at Barrett-Jackson. I mean, the only guys that can afford that kind of stuff done in the dental world are like, Rick Workman now. I always keep my eye out for him when they're bidding on $million cars to see his paddle going up, and I think good that's who I know who to slug if I ever walk by….
Howard: Yeah, and he flies his jet out here to go to the... last time I was at Rick Workman's house in Effingham, Illinois, I couldn't count the number of cars he had. And the only other mansion in Effingham is right across the street, his buddy that made all of his millions in selling Corvette parts. He ran a Corvette... I think he had a Corvette shop and was the first to adopt like, online ordering, so he sells most of the Corvette parts online. So, you go to Effingham, which is a town of ten thousand, there's these two houses that look like they should be in Malibu or something, and one's Rick Workman who owns Heartland Dental and the other is this Corvette guy. But anyway, we had another dental assistant become a dentist who is... and also was amazing, Elena Gutu.
Sam: I didn't have as much overlap with her as you did. She was primarily your assistant and I knew her a little bit when I first started, but she left to go to Nova, she was one of the first people I think that went to Nova if I recall.
Howard: Yeah, and you know my dead giveaway? What did those two dental assistants have in common that the rest never had? In my experience, maybe you didn't notice this because you have hair.
Sam: Drinking problem?
Howard: I was bald, is that, when you would be doing surgery they would be bumping my head, I mean, they were trying to get their head in there, and with both of them, several times, I would literally stop put my hand on their head and push their head back, like... I just wanted to say... I couldn't say to them, I wanted to say, damn, I'm trying to see this. But they were so into it, you'd be doing a root canal... especially with surgeries, and they were so into it that they forgot that I had to actually see, and they were just like, sticking their head clear in the mouth and I mean, I saw the back of... I mean, it was like bumper ball.
Sam: We had good assistants, Today's Dental had good assistants. I mean, they really, like you said, they made huge differences for me I didn't know... I knew some, coming in there, but having a good assistant that knows a little more than you is helpful, they would guide me to the things I didn't know how to do like, how do I do this? I mean I'd never done a posterior composite until Today's Dental, so I was like, how do I do this? Well, you've got to etch it and bond it, then you do this. And then I'd read the articles and say, okay, well now I know how to do this better. But, they were well trained at doing everything, they knew how to present cases. There was a few of them, Colleen, do you remember Colleen at all?
Howard: She just brought in her son yesterday, I just saw her at Today's Dental yesterday, her son Jackson is three years old and was coming in for his first dental appointment.
Sam: She was... we used to call her, she was like the Spanish Inquisition, she could get information out of anyone. You'd want to get a little pertinent data on somebody it'd be like, go do your thing. So, she would come back, she knew how much they made, she knew how much they were in debt, she knew their whole family, she knew what they did for a living, it was uncanny. But there were so many, so at the risk of alienating some that I forgot, I mean, there was Jen, who was a longtime employee, Chris Kooluris was there.
Howard: Chris Kooluris, and she's moving back.
Sam:She's moving back? Congratulations to her.
Howard:Yeah, that was one of the saddest days when she gave notice and said, my husband is transferred to California. I hate that you have someone that's been with you for ten years you love them like a sister and then their husband... and I told her I said, I'll pay for the divorce, I'll put you up in an apartment, hell, you can live with me, I mean, we've got extra bedrooms in this house, and she just laughed. But she may be moving back at the end of the year.
Sam: That'd be great. Cami, you know Cami? I worked with Cami, Cami was great. Cami was my confidante there, she was always the one who would give me the scoop.
Howard: And then after you left, after eight and a half years, she transferred from dental assisting to Dentaltown, and now she's... we call her the... can I say it on TV? We call her the booth bitch, those are the two that go to all the Dentaltown booths at conventions for Orthotown, Dentaltown, Hygienetown, she loves that. But I wonder, you're a cynic, you're a cynical bastard and so I want to... the real reason I wanted to get you on the show, not only because I love and respect your amazing mind, but what would you... we're sitting here... I opened up in Phoenix 1987, I graduated May 11th, which was two months ago and September 3rd, September 11th, no, I graduated May 11th and opened up September 21st 1987, there was no fluoride in the water, there were no dental schools in Arizona, go up to our neighbors to the north, Utah had no dental schools, now they have two. Nevada had no dental schools, now they have one. Thirty years later, coming to [inaudible] coming to Phoenix, starting up dental... that's a whole different game than three decades ago, I'm the first to admit that... oh, I know this [inaudible], we were talking about the golden age. Yeah, thirty years ago was the golden age, there was no water fluoridation, no dental schools in this state then one to the north, Utah, now we have two private dental schools, we have, Mesa has A.T. Still, that's private and we have, in Glendale where the football stadium is, they have Midwestern graduating a hundred and fifty a year, what's A.T. Still graduating a year?
Sam:I'm not sure.
Howard: I think it's about eighty, so, a hundred and fifty and eighty, so basically that's two hundred and twenty five dentists a year, it's a thousand dentists every four years. If you could give the commencement speech to the A.T. Still and Midwestern, a thousand kids, two hundred and twenty five that just graduated two months ago, what would you tell them?
Sam: Basically, watch your dollars and cents, watch what you spend your money on, frugality is key. The more debt you get into the longer you're going to have to do it. Basically be careful out there. And the other thing is is that you're probably going to end up, if you really want it... if you want the autonomy of being a dentist, which is the reason I got into it, I want the autonomy more than anything else. I mean, I could certainly make more money probably working for somebody else, I don't make tons and tons of money as a dentist, but I'm my own keep. I don't have to answer to anybody other than the insurance companies and the patients of course, but no one is... no bean counter above me that is at the top of the food chain pyramid is pointing down at me, the dental infantry, and saying, you should do this many crowns, or you need to do root canals, or you need to do this, you need to do that. I don't have to do any of those things so, if you got into it for the autonomy then get your own practice somehow, somewhere, that's number one.
Howard: But number one, the evidence is overwhelming because when you go into associateships, whether in private practice or corporate, the associate turnover is off the charts. I mean, there are thirty five corporate offices at fifty or more locations, several of them their average associate only stays one year, and the one that's considered the best keeps them two years. So, if you don't agree with what Sam: 's saying, what Sam: just said is why, I don't think the people they become dentists, physicians and lawyers are the type of people who like taking orders, I mean, is that fair enough to say?
Sam: I would say so, but physicians are doing it now.
Howard: Because they want to or because they have to?
Sam: Now they have to. But it's difficult, these economies of scale. Medicine is still, I still think you can make more money as a physician than you can as a dentist especially if you specialize, but you're always going to be a cog in the machine now, you can't have a small practice anymore, you just can't. My brother was in one, a neurology practice, four partners, that just dissolved.
Howard: What is your brother, a neurologist?
Sam: He's a neurologist.
Howard: And what is their bread and butter, what do they mostly work on? What's their root canal, filling and crown?
Sam: That's a good question. I would say the best way to describe what a neurologist does in dental terms is, they're TMD specialists. So, if you enjoy people that are slightly insane and are never going to get better and are going to be at your doorstep about every four months complaining about something, go be a neurologist.
Howard: And what percent of TMJ experts, or TMD, think it's all mechanical occlusion, their [inaudible] first line, well, if I adjust the mesial buccal cusp of this bicuspid and put in an [inaudible] you'll be fine. Really buddy, you don't think it's because her husband just divorced her, her kid's on crack cocaine, she's about to go bankrupt and she's bat-shit crazy, really.
Sam: I know.
Howard: Really, it's the interference on the upper molar? What percent of neurology patients do you think are a little crazy?
Sam: I would say 80% probably, to a degree.
Howard: And what percent of TMD patients do you think are crazy?
Sam: Probably 95%.
Howard: Yeah, and the other 5%... and then 100% of human beings made in God's image are Homosapiens, animals with clothes on, we're the only animal at the zoo with clothes on. And I often think that we're the only animal that should be in the zoo and all the animals in the zoo should... I almost think the humans to be put in zoos and the rhinos and the giraffes and the monkeys should be let out because I mean...
Sam: I think Rod Serling covered these things in great detail in The Twilight Zone, every episode you watch it's basically watching the foibles of man and how they basically can't get out of their own way, he was really ahead of his time.
Howard: I almost can't talk to anyone... within five minutes they just always talk about mutually exclusive things, I mean, they have mutually exclusive thoughts in almost every conversation you have with them. It's like, they're against big government and then the next thing out of their mouth is a government solution. They make fun of other religions and then you just point out one thing, three things in their religion and they just like shut up and walk away. I mean, just, humans are a piece work.
Sam: They're complex, as you used to say.
Howard: Okay so, I want to hold your feet to the fire, frugality, which is huge. I didn't have a car at undergrad at Creighton, I didn't have a car the first three years of dental school, I walked to school. I lived in a house with five guys. There were other guys in the class that had new cars, that commuted in from the suburbs where they were in a nice apartment complex that had a swimming pool and a tennis court and all that. And I can just say those guys graduated with twice as much debt as I did. On spring break I would go hang out with my dad for a week and drink Old Milwaukee beer for a buck a six-pack. They go... they get an airplane and go on spring break or go on a cruise or go to Tahiti or all of this [inaudible], but then when they come out of school, with all their student loans, they're told they need to buy a chair-side milling for a hundred and fifty, a CBCT for another hundred, LANAP laser another hundred and twenty five...
Sam: Plus the training, don't forget the training on the LANAP.
Howard: Oh, and the hard tissue WaterLase so you don't want to give a shot. I mean, these kids, if they come out with $500000 student loans, if I bought a hard tissue laser so I don't need to give a shot, or WaterLase, if I bought a LANAP, another hundred and a quarter, chair-side milling, one fifty, and a CBCT, I just doubled my student loan debt and I've got four pieces of equipment. So, my direct question to you is, of those four pieces of equipment I just named how many of them do you have?
Sam: None. I have none, I'm going backwards.
Howard: So, you're just a cheap bastard?
Sam: I am.
Howard: Are you saying you're a cheap bastard?
Sam: I am. I never understood why people always said dentists were cheap until I owned my own practice, and now it's all... because every single thing that you spend money on if it doesn't have a return on the investment that's a sunk cost. And if it doesn't make you any money then it's just going to sit there. I hate upgrading things, I mean, I'm much a creature of habit. As I said I'm probably... people are going to listen and be like, this guy shouldn't even have given a podcast, he shouldn't have been given a podcast. I guess I'm going backwards, I stopped doing things that make me unhappy, so I don't do impacted thirds any more. I stopped doing most root canals now, even though I know I should do more root canals, but these are the things that gave me the most trouble, they gave me the most aggravation, the most post-operative sensitivity.
Howard: So, you don't do any extractions?
Sam: I do extractions, I just don't...
Howard: Just not wisdom?
Sam: I don't do wisdom teeth.
Howard: So, no wisdom teeth, and what about endo, I mean, do you do incisors?
Sam: No, I can't even tell you the last time I had an incisor that needed to be treated.
Howard: Do you have your assistants do the incisors and then you just check it off?
Sam: No. I feel like, I work with a few different endodontists, and truthfully they're almost more flexible with timing than I am at my office. So, they can get them in, and out of pain faster than I can.
Howard: Which endodontists you work with?
Sam: I work mostly with Acacia Endodontics in Chandler. They've been really good to me.
Howard: Who are those docs?
Sam: Let's see, Dr. Lance Schneider, but he's retiring pretty soon and Shaun Cullimore, and they have a new fellow that I don't know his name, but it's another Lance name. And then Dr. Graybaugh, Dr. Mike Graybaugh, he's also in Chandler, he's very good. And I work with Apex Endo, but I don't actually know the names of any of the people that actually I refer to over there. So those are the big three. But it's tough because there's a lot of great specialists out there but ultimately you want to spread things around a little bit, but you want to be able to have some flexibility in scheduling too, just in case there's a personality conflict.
Howard: Do you ever talk to Graybaugh?
Sam: I haven't in a little while, I used to a lot more.
Howard: He's been doing it as long as we have.
Sam: Yeah, exactly. And he's a minimalist, so I don't think he has anything in his practice that he doesn't use, so it's not a lot of monkeying around [inaudible].
Howard: That's a neat term, you said frugality and I believe that a minimalist is on the average, happy. You think you're going to be happy if you have a cabin up north, well, now you've got to maintenance a cabin, when you go on vacation you get there and the first two days you've got to clean the damn thing, and then you find out the septic tank doesn't work. It's like, dude, when I go up to a cabin up north I google cabins in Flagstaff and I go rent one. I don't want to own a boat, I want to rent a boat, so many of these things you buy you're married to, and they come with as much unpleasant shit as they do pleasantries.
Sam: Have you ever heard the phrase, if it screws, drives, floats or flies rent it don't buy it?
Howard: You missed one of the terms.
Sam: Which is that?
Howard: If it floats, flies or fucks, just rent it, do not buy it.
Sam: It's true.
Howard: Can we say that on Dentistry Uncensored, or is that...?
Sam: Can we get bleeped out? Are you going to have like, a klaxon that goes like, aaa, aaa, aaa.
Howard: What did you say? Floats, flies.
Sam: Floats, screws, flies or floats.
Howard: Okay screws, that's the PG version, because if it screws that's okay. Floats, flies.
Sam: Screws or drives.
Howard: Drives. You say rent it?
Sam: Yes. Well, that's what the phrase is.
Howard: Okay, and we're not talking about with a screwdriver? Okay, fair enough.
Sam: That's what the phrase is. But the reason why people get into dentistry isn't to live an entirely frugal lifestyle, it'll make your life easier, you'll probably be able to exit the profession soon.
Howard: But here's why the dentists marrying dentists are happier because the male dentist that married the waffle house queen, she hears, well, how much do you charge for a crown? $1000. What she doesn't hear is that 85% of the crowns that you do are on a PPO fee for six hundred. So, that $1000 crown gets adjusted down to $600 and then she doesn't understand the overhead of labor 28%, lab 10%, supplies 6%. rent 5%, advertising 3%, and the average homie has 65% overhead according to the EDA. So, then he comes home and she say's, so, what did you do today? Oh, I did like, three crowns, and she's thinking, $3000, that purse at the Fashion Mall, that's three thousand. I mean, obviously he'd work one day for all of this. Will you take me to the fashion deal and buy me a $3000 purse? And then he wants to be all that, so then he's just saying, well, I could just put on my American Express or my credit card and all this stuff. And then, when you look at divorce a third of it's over money, third it's over sex, third of it's over substance abuse and all three of them are just not talking about it. And when your spouse is the same profession you know that there's a lot of overhead in those sales figures, and then when you look at that $3000 purse you're thinking, well, for me to spend three I'd have to take out five, to do five at one third overhead, and one third net, two thirds overhead I'd have to do fifteen, I don't want to do $15000 worth of MOD composites to have some stupid Gucci purse, that Gucci purse is not worth the pain and suffering. I mean, how would you like to know that next week you have $15000 of MOD composites scheduled and you're going to do every one of them?
Sam: Yeah, that sounds horrible to me, I probably wouldn't sleep.
Howard: I know, I don't want to do $15000 of MOD composites.
Sam: No one does.
Howard: And would that be offset if by the end of the week…
Sam: Maybe Jason Smithfield, Smithson would probably do them, stained in ocher, they'd be really nice. But not me.
Howard: And then if you said, well, at the end of the week after doing $15000 in MOD composites you'll get a Gucci briefcase, would you say oh, that's worth it?
Sam: Well, I might.
Sam: But I do like, on every treatment plan I like to outline everything that I show to my patients, here's where all of your money is going, this is my overhead, this is my staff cost, this is the materials cost. So, when you're about to make your joke about how I'm buying a yacht, I'm really not, I'm keeping my doors open so I can service you better, because I do it because I love people. That's what it boils down to.
Howard: And then your nose doubles in size.
Sam: But truthfully though, I mean, we didn't get into this... I mean obviously the reason why most of us get into this is autonomy, comfortable lifestyle, flexibility.
Howard: Wait, autonomy?
Sam: That was number one. A comfortable lifestyle. Flexibility of schedule.
Howard: Yeah but, the comfortable lifestyle, okay, but I've got to call bullshit on that, because the average dentist doesn't live a comfortable life. So, the average dentist has a way bigger house, drives way nicer cars, takes way nicer vacations, doesn't eat at chain restaurants eats at premium restaurants. I mean, you just go through their line-item deal, it's like, they upgrade every single thing they do. You don't see any minimalism or frugality. I mean, you're like, the most frugal dentist I know.
Sam: I'm far from that though, I like nice touches..
Howard: Of our friends, it's like...
Sam: I drive nice cars, I like nice cars, but I drive them till they're in the ground. I mean, my newest car is a 2006, and I love it, it's got super low miles on it, it's a great car. It's a nightmare.
Howard: I'll buy me a new car one year before you but, tell me when you're going to buy a new car, because my car's one year older. So, when you're planning an upgrade... but anyway, I'm sorry.
Howard: But you don't have children either.
Sam: I don't. Well, that obviously creates a lot more flexibility too, I don't have to worry about student loans...
Howard: I've got two sisters and a brother that didn't have children. So again, if you overdo it on student loans, so you went to a private school graduated, $500000, and then they overdo it on kids, instead of having two kids... what would you say the average LDS size family is in the valley?
Sam: Four maybe, three, four.
Howard: See, I should be an honorary LDS, I've got four boys. Ryan, just start putting LDS then parentheses honorary behind my name. Yeah, so I didn't have two kids, I had four. You can't.
Sam: Well, that's a good thing though because look, Ryan's right there, I mean, what if you'd stopped at two? That would suck.
Howard: Ryan is dead inside, he tells me everyday, dad why didn't you stop at Greg?
Sam: If he was dead inside then why didn't he go to dental school? That's a requirement I think.
Howard: So, instead of a public school they went to a private school $500000. Instead of having no kids or two kids they had four or five, instead of having a... you bought at $200000 house they buy a $500000 house, instead of going on vacation to the lake up the street they go on a cruise. I mean, they just... you can't upgrade every single category of your life.
Sam: Not everything, but you should be able to do something. I don't like to put value judgments on what people spend.
Howard: I've asked couples before when they're well stressed out, I've asked them, well, just tell me this, where do you under spend, like, what category? I mean, is it clothes, jewelry, vacations, where do you underspend? And they're just staring at each other, they can't even think of where they're under spending. One time, this couple which was insane, you know what the wife says? She goes, well, I don't really spend a lot of money on clothes, and she had to think for like, a couple of minutes, and then the husband called bullshit on that, and then just said, well, how many pairs of shoes she had, and I said, I want to go to your closet right now. And I walked in your closet right then, I mean, she had a walk in closet where it had to be literally fifty or a hundred pairs of shoes. The only thing she could think of underspending on was clothes, and she had fifty to a hundred pairs of shoes.
Sam: That's just lack of self-awareness though. I mean, I think people lack that too. I do on occasion, we've all got our blind spots. I don't want to make a value judgment on what people spend their money on I don't really think it's fair for me.
Howard: Blind spots, that was my favorite band, Third Eye Blind.
Sam: Third Eye Blind.
Howard: Did you like that band?
Sam: I did like that band.
Howard: And the other one I liked was out of Tempe, you mentioned a Tempe band.
Sam: Gin Blossoms.
Howard: Gin Blossoms, I think that's one of the greatest bands.
Sam: Well, now you know what you're doing Thursday night, you're going to the Celebrity Theater to see them play.
Howard: The Gin Blossoms?
Sam: Yeah, they're getting inducted too.
Howard: Oh, but I thought the guy committed suicide.
Sam: Well, he did but the rest of the band continued on. Their primary songwriter, but they got more famous after he passed away.
Howard: Ryan, did you hear that? The Gin Blossoms from Flagstaff, three of my four boys went to the NAU in Flagstaff.
Sam: They're from Tempe.
Howard: But one of the streets, that street, what was the name of that street? Allison Road? That's a street in Flagstaff some bar they used to hang out in, so that song Allison Road's from Flagstaff. Yeah, find that, if it's Thursday night [inaudible]. I'm such a homebody, I have two modes, I'm either working or sleeping. I might go to that. How come you're not going Thursday night?
Sam: You've got to pick and choose your battles, that one didn't... I thought about it, like I said I'd really love to see the Meat Puppets with their original drummer again, but there'll be other shows soon enough, and so.
Howard: The Meat Puppets. Did you find it Ryan?
Ryan: I accidentally typed in Third Eye Blind instead of Gin Blossoms.
Howard: You like Third Eye Blind too?
Sam: I do.
Howard: Third Eye Blind, Gin Blossoms, those are two... that's about as underground as I get.
Sam: That's okay.
Howard: The rest is the Stones and everything...
Sam: My mom still continually... even to this day she she always asks me when she gets in the car and I have something on, she's like, what are you going to listen to when you're seventy? My mom's biggest concern is who's going to take care of me when I'm seventy, and I said I'm not living that long, that's number one. And she's, what are you going to listen to when you're seventy? I said, probably the Sam: e stuff I listen to now but probably a little bit louder, that's all.
Howard: Probably a little bit louder? The rock n roll hall of fame and this event for this Thursday night.
Sam: It should be Celebrity Theater.
Howard: And where is Celebrity Theater?
Sam: I want to say it's off of Thomas.
Howard: Is that the round one?
Sam: It is a round one, it's a round theater.
Howard: You know who I saw there last? Who was that...
Sam: Ted Nugent?
Howard: Who was the gay, heavyweight black man that sang love songs?
Sam: You're going to need to narrow it down for me.
Howard: Who was the big...
Ryan: I don't think BB King's gay.
Howard: No, the big... oh my God, who's the big...?
Sam: Luther Vandross?
Howard: Luther Vandross, with Mike Murphy, we were talking about him earlier... Mike Murphy and I went and saw Luther Vandross and it was so funny because all, it was all... I mean, it was all black women and me and Mike Murphy. And I don't think one black woman in that place knew that Luther was singing to another man. But the craziest thing about that concert was Luther believed that the air conditioning would affect his voice, so there's no air conditioning, a closed stadium, Phoenix, Arizona in the summer, I swear to God, he was just pouring sweat, and all the women in that place were, let's just say taking off all the clothes they could and still stay legal. It was a very interesting night. But I've got to love Luther, he was amazing. So, back to frugal, okay, but I'm going to hold you to the fire. Why did you not go chair-side milling? Because then you wouldn't have a lab bill. That's what they say, I've seen the ads in my own magazine.
Sam: I personally, like I said, I only want to do the things I want to do, the older I've got the more selfish I've got, really, so that's the core problem with my personality. And I don't have to be that flexible with most things, really. So, that creates a lot of selfishness in one's life. So, I don't want to be my own lab tech, I don't want to have to worry about staining, I don't want to have about bonding things, I know now they have Zirconias, you can cement them and stuff like that, but I don't want to do those things, I was never great at those in dental school. I mean, if you dug out the...
Howard: Again, ask the dentist, do you love lab work?
Sam: No, I hate lab work.
Howard: What are you doing now? I'm going to buy a CEREC machine. Isn't that kind of, a mutually exclusive principle that we're talking about you're agreeing, so, you don't like lab work but you're going to be a lab man?
Sam: Some people like... again, there's a bell shaped curve to that. I mean, I've seen some stuff come through that are beautiful, I mean, you can tell these people really put the time in to do it. I also... the other thing is I really didn't want to deal with the learning curve to get good at it. I didn't want to have to slow things down to speed them up again later, because at the beginning you're not doing an hour and a half crown with a CEREC, you're taking forever and then they don't mill right or something like that. This is not a condemnation about CEREC either, it's just, that's not what I wanted to do. I didn't enjoy those things, I don't want to do them. So, I work with a couple of local labs for the most part, they do nice work, they're not...?
Howard: Who are your local labs?
Sam: I work with Artistic Creations and Sundance, are the two I work with mostly for crown and bridge.
Howard: Artistic Creations.
Sam: He's just a real super local guy, I don't even know how many clients he has but I work with him...
Howard: Where's he at?
Sam: He works in Chandler.
Howard: Ryan, will you send me Artists Creations and Sundance Dental Labs? Artistic Creations, he's in Chandler, is that a one man show?
Sam: Pretty much, yeah. He works in a lab with another fellow, but it's just him. He used to work with Today's Dental for a while, but things change.
Howard: Because that's the dying breed.
Howard: Because we talked about I think it's funny, another mutually exclusive principles. So, you look at your physicians [inaudible], group, you said your brother was a neurologist before.
Sam: Was, now he's done.
Howard: And why did it unfold because they had to go to a bigger group or...?
Sam: Very, very briefly, one of his partners was a terrible money manager, terrible, so, when you talk about all those errors that you talk about people making, this guy seemed to make them all. So, he decided, he felt like he would be better served by pulling out of the group and just being on his own. As I said, he's not a good businessman, I really don't know anything about what he does for a living really, but I know that what he's going to do is going to fail immediately, it's not sustainable as a single person. So, when that happened the eldest partner in there saw the writing on the wall and said, this thing is going to start falling apart, so he decided he was going retire. He was already in his seventies, I don't want to be drilling teeth when I'm in my seventies, but this guy was still doing it. So, when he left, decided to retire, it just really wasn't sustainable, the overhead was going to kill them. And one of the only ways to increase profitability, you've got to increase your patient load, my brother was already seeing a million patients a day, he couldn't possibly see more, writing the notes, being on call, it just really wasn't going to be a long term solution. So, he decided that it was going be better for him if he did something else.
Howard: But again, the reason the physicians all solidified is because they started coming out with all this expensive MRIs and CAT scans and all this equipment, and you can't buy a CAT scan or MRI for one doc.
Sam: No, you can't.
Howard: So, in dentistry, all these people on Dentaltown that are against corporate dentistry, are the same ones telling you you have CBCT and chair-side milling and LANAP and WaterLase and all this stuff, and it's like, well, if you go buy a $half million dollars of equipment you're forcing group practice, and group practice is the foundation of corporate so. So again, if you're against corporate you should be against all this high technology. I mean, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
Sam: Yeah, I agree with that.
Howard: And then the guys, mutually exclusive principles, they're against corporate dentistry, and I say, well, will you hire anyone that just graduated out of school? Hell no, they've got to have five years experience. Okay well, then thank God for corporate because they're hiring all of our sovereign professional colleagues. And then if your practice is $750000 value you can turn to liquid in Phoenix in a day. I mean, most of these hundred largest metros in America, a $750000 practice, when it's listed, will have two or three or four bids on it first week. But you get to a $2 to $4 million office, illiquid asset, who's the only guy that can write you a check for that? Heartland. So, you're against corporate, but didn't you sell your $4 million practice to Rick Workman? And you're against corporate? And I mean, I can see my buddies, right now I can see their faces on Dentaltown trashing corporate, who sold their $4 million practice to Rick, it's like, dude, you’re talking out of both sides of your head.
Sam: It's a difficult situation. I'm not against corporate dentistry, because you need, there has to be an outlet, where are these people going to go? They need jobs.
Howard: And I think competition is good for any industry. I always say this, when the teamsters kept foreign cars out of here, when I was a little kid you walked down any street on a Saturday and Sunday and every third or fourth garage they're in there all day trying to fix their piece of shit Chevy or Ford, right? And what did they say Ford stood for?
Sam: Fixed on race day.
Howard: Fixed on race day? I mean, they were horrible. And then you started seeing these Japanese and these German Volkswagens, these little Japanese Dodson's, and everybody laughed at them, and General Motors sold half the cars. General Motors now doesn't even sell a third of the cars, and it was GM and Chrysler that forced quality. And I think it's corporate that's forcing evening hours, Saturday hours, early morning, making a website that's decent, having better hours I...
Sam: I do none of those things, I just want you to be perfectly aware of that.
Howard: What are your hours?
Sam: I work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, eight to five and Friday...
Howard: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday eight to five.
Sam: And Fridays eight to two.
Howard: Fridays eight to two. So, you work Monday, Tuesday then you have today off, Wednesday, then you work Thursday, Friday and then have Saturday Sunday. So, you work two with a day off, work two, two days off.
Sam: I love it. It was a matter of necessity at the beginning, but I don't think I could go back.
Howard: Why was it a necessity at the beginning?
Sam: Because I was still working at Today's Dental, and you guys were allowing me to graciously phase out of there so I was still doing... I started doing Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Today's Dental and working three days at mine. And then I was working Tuesdays at my own office and just working Wednesdays, and then at the end of I think it was the end of 2009...
Howard: So, you can blame me for having your beautiful work schedule?
Sam: No, I know, yeah.
Howard: Well, I only usually see that on the East Coast when... if a dentist tells me he doesn't work Wednesdays he's East Coast. You just don't really see that out here.
Sam: I like it because no matter how bad those two days are you've got a day in the middle of the week to get things done. So, for me it works really, really well. I mean, if someone said I prefer to have a three day weekend I wouldn't have any argument against that certainly, but I've done it all, I've been off on Mondays, I've been off on Fridays.
Howard: So, what's your wife's schedule?
Sam: She works, God, she works crazy hours now but she's there usually Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, she works four, tens.
Howard: So, you have Wednesday off from work and the wife... this is your special day.
Sam: I know, it is my...
Howard: Is this the happiest day of the week?.
Sam: To be fair to me, I mean, I have it pretty good, but I do most of the previously gender specific type roles, I do the laundry, I do most of the cleaning, the grocery shopping, most of the Costco runs and things like that. I pretty much try to do everything I can do so that stuff isn't hanging over our heads on the weekend, so when the weekend rolls around we can do whatever else we want. There's always little things to be done.
Howard: And you're coming up on your nineteen year anniversary.
Sam: That's correct.
Howard: And don't hold it in the bank because I got fired after twenty, and if you asked me an hour before I got fired, what's the chance it'd ever fail? I'd say, zero point zero zero zero, we've got four kids, we're rich, we have an empire, boom, so, never take it for granted.
Sam: No, you can't, you've got to be ever vigilant out there, you just never know. My parents just had their fiftieth anniversary, and that was a pretty remarkable milestone. I don't know that...
Howard: You know what the worst thing about the divorce was? No one would take the kids and then I had to pay out the money and got the four kids, is that...? Ryan, how did that happen? My golly, that screwed...
Sam: But that's an appreciating asset though.
Howard: But no, I never would ever regret marriage, I mean, I've got Eric, Greg, Ryan and Zack, I mean, that's four...
Sam: Hey man, marriage has been very, very good to me. It's like anything else it takes work. You have your moments, I mean, when we were building the office I mean, that was the, that was probably one of the most stressful periods of my life. We're both working full time, we were trying to put the office together, we were doing it all more or less on our own. Your bills are coming in, invoices are coming in, it was really, it was difficult. And we operated on a different time schedules, so like, I get to a certain point, and I'm inherently lazy, I've always been lazy, I always say that I'm the person that hated school the most and stayed in it the longest. I just, that was me, I've always been like that. So we'd get up in the morning, we'd go to the architect, we'd go to the building supply places, we'd go to the design center, we'd do this, we'd do that. We'd meet with a contractor at the site and then it'd be like, nine o'clock, and my wife will be like, well, we still have this to do, I'm like, no, I can't, I need to turn my brain off, I need to start thinking about getting to work tomorrow. And she could keep doing that and I couldn't. And so there was friction about that because I'm lazy and she's not lazy so that was probably it. It wasn't necessarily about the money it was about me being the lazy sack of garbage that I've always been so. But love me love my laziness, that's what it boils down to.
Howard: I love you. And tell Jody this, there are nine specialties recognized by the ADA and we've done too many podcasts with famous endodontists who wrote this book, Pathways of the Pulp, Stephen Cohen, the guy who did this book on implants Carl Misch. I've done probably the twenty five most famous endodontists, implantologists, all that stuff. But the one specialty that doesn't get any attention is public health. And we've had Chris Walczak come on the show, public health mentor of mine, your wife's been in public health, right? She works for the Indian...
Sam: Technically it's a self-governing reservation, so it's technically, I mean, it like, is public health but it's not IHS.
Howard: Yeah, but if she wants to come on the show, or she knows anybody in public health, because a lot of kids always wonder, maybe I'll go into the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, maybe I'll go into public health. But public health is a specialty, and it's the most under shown up on the show. I would like to do more public health people. So tell Jody if she wants to come on the show or she knows someone who wants to come in and represent public health, because... and I'll keep asking again, send me an e-mail, Howard: @dentaltown.com because you never know who's downloading all the shows on iTunes and all that stuff. Tell me...
Sam: I know who's downloading this one, no one.
Howard: Oh, no no no, Gigi will, big shout to Gigi, you know Kelly Bradley will, Kelly, I want you to be on the show in future, I want you to be on the show, you know why? My number one complaint is how come all the women on the shows are consultants and hygienists and all the dentists on the show are male, I get that complaint at the magazine and the podcast.
Sam: Well, there's plenty of female dentists on Dentaltown though, why don't they, they should come on.
Howard: It's tough, I go out of my way, everybody on the team goes way out of our way, I mean, if I had ten articles sent in, and one was by a female dentist and the other nine were male dentists, I guarantee what goes top file, because half those dental school classes are males. It happened to me, I was at New Jersey Dental School, this was like, three or four years ago and this little five foot...
Sam: Is that the one that became Rutgers?
Howard: I think so. And this girl walks up to me and goes, you own this magazine? It was Dentaltown, I go, yeah, and she goes, and it was opened to the editorial board, she goes, why is the entire editorial board word male? And flips the magazine right in my face and turns round and walks back. So, I'm hit with my own magazine, and I'm like, stunned, I like, pick it up and look at it and it's like... because I've never seen that, I mean, I've just never even seen that. I immediately go out and call my team and they're like, Howard: , we're completely aware of that, it's just so unfair because everybody who wants to be a moderator or... because, here's what it is, here's Dentistry Uncensored. If you're a man dentist and you're a woman dentist and you get married, the man dentist still expects you to be the traditional housewife and do the kids homework and go to the parent teacher conference and cook dinner and he's sitting there on the couch drinking a beer watching ESPN, that's more true than it's not true.
Sam: You're probably right on that.
Howard: Well, that's what they tell me, because when I go out there in [inaudible] and said, do this, do that, do that, she goes dude, I've got three kids, I'd say yeah, but you've got a husband and they're like, yeah, right. That's what I generally hear. So I mean, this is Dentistry Uncensored, so, just because you're a female dentist doesn't mean that you're still not in a traditional marriage. And how many women dentists have cried in this very room because they had a dental office in this town for ten or fifteen years and were making bank, and they were making maybe say, one eighty, their husbands making seventy, and her husband gets a promotion and transferred from here to Seattle.
Sam: And then they go.
Howard: And then he's like, we're going. And her husband's ego can't accept the fact that his wife makes twice as much and she goes, I... and when men have told me, and they say, it kind of, bothers me that my wife makes twice as much money than me. I say, well, just don't think about that when you're vacuuming. But anyway, so...
Sam: I vacuum, I like vacuuming, very zen.
Howard: Ryan, do we own a vacuum, I'm serious, do we even own a vacuum cleaner?
Ryan: I don't know.
Sam: I see a lot of tile here so you might not need one.
Howard: I don't think we even own a vacuum. But seriously, thanks for being a friend, a mentor, my personal dentist. And again, you have no idea how much amazing business advice you gave me for so many years, and I still send you e-mails and stuff. I've gotten to so many forks in the road and you and Jacoby have been my voice of reason.
Sam: Well, thank you.
Howard: Thanks for coming on the show and giving your world class cynic advice to my homies, thank you so much.
Sam: Thank you for everything Howard: , it was a real pleasure to be here. Like I said, I apologize if you don't get any clicks on this, but we knew going in that it was going to be a pretty low bar. So, thanks for covering for me in all my foibles and failures out there and trying to make me feel like I actually am helpful. But I'll take it, I'll go out to the car and feel good about myself that whole drive home.
Howard: And tell your lovely wife I said hello.
Sam: I will do so, say hi to Jan, and you guys take care.
Howard: All right buddy, take care.
Sam: Great to see you, thanks Howard: .