This month marks the 20th anniversary of Dentaltown. For most Townies, the idea of their favorite dental website (and maybe their favorite website, period) not existing at some point in time seems nonsensical—some things just seem eternal, prehistoric or at least bedrock. But there was a time when Dentaltown.com was merely a rough conceptual sketch in the mind of its founder, Dr. Howard Farran. To fully appreciate the foresight in creating Dentaltown.com, one might consider that in 1999, even Google was only in its beta stages, and the world had only seen fully commercialized internet for five years. In 1999, there were only 3 million websites, compared with more than 1.8 billion sites today.
Dentaltown.com existed before Wikipedia, PayPal, Wordpress, Facebook and Reddit, and from its start has stuck to its guns on one simple goal: that no dentist will ever have to practice solo again.
While Farran had the concept and the courage to launch the site “where the dental community lives,” it is thanks to the thousands upon thousands of its members that Dentaltown.com continues to thrive. The ever-evolving and growing face of Dentaltown.com, Dentaltown magazine and all of its related channels—podcasts, mobile apps, e-communications, live events like Townie Meeting—are made possible by its members, the Townies. You.
This section of our 20th-anniversary issue is dedicated to the more than 300 dental manufacturers, educators and service providers who’ve supported our magazine and website. Simply put: Their support has paid our bills, so we can continue to connect dentists from around the world to improve patient care and ensure that “No dentist will ever have to practice solo again.”
On the following pages, some of our long-term supporters share their memories and messages about what it’s been like working with Dentaltown over the past two decades, and we’ve paired those sentiments with their classic ads from our company’s own personal “wayback machine.” Thank you for your continued support of our advertisers and your contributions to our community.
"After having great success in Europe, German-based dental manufacturer Voco entered the U.S. market in 2001.
At one of the dental meetings, a dentist pointed out that he had learned about Voco on Dentaltown. I was curious what this Dentaltown was and went on the website to establish an account. I found it to be a very valuable community to learn what our customers like and don’t like about our products, as well as what they say about other companies’ materials. Since then, we’ve encouraged all our 80 sales reps to be on Dentaltown to learn. However, we give them one guidance: Do not initiate a post or respond to a post. We at Voco feel it is a peer-to peer community for clinicians, and it should stay that way. There’s no need for us to interfere or even use it as a marketing tool—only our clinical trainer can respond if dentists ask for help.
Dentaltown’s print edition has evolved over the years, starting as a collection of interesting posts and now a balanced magazine that discusses interesting topics. For me, it’s my No. 1-read magazine. From a marketing perspective, we like Dentaltown because it is very different from all the other dental journals and magazines: It’s progressive and driven by clinical education, values that Voco shares.
We congratulate Dentaltown on 20 years of bringing the industry together, and look forward to what the next 20 years will bring us.”
— Leif Ebert, CEO, Voco America
Ivoclar Vivadent (2005)
"Congratulations, Dentaltown! Celebrating your 20th year is an amazing accomplishment, and we’re proud to say that we have been with you every step of the way!
Over the years, Dr. Howard Farran and the community have been a wonderful resource and an inspiration to our product innovation.
Take the Tetric line of composites as an example: Back in the early days, Howard used to preach putting Tetric Flow on the ‘floor’ and Tetric Ceram on the ‘ceiling’—it was his way of explaining and simplifying his approach for using our products.
Additionally, Ivoclar Vivadent has been monitoring message board conversations to understand dentists’ daily challenges. Today, thanks to Townies, our direct restorative system has evolved into a wide variety of materials, all designed to make ‘everyday’ dentistry easier for dentists. We call it ‘Efficient Esthetics’—a simple and practical approach to placing composite restorations. Thank you, Dentaltown community, for your business and for challenging us to make our products even better. We are looking forward to the next 20?years together!”
New Patients Inc. (2006)
"At midnight 20 years ago, Howard called me at home: ‘Howie! Dentaltown’s live! Jump on!’ I did—as did many others. Most of them are still my friends. I was ‘Poster One’ on Dentaltown.com.
I met Howard 10 years before he launched Dentaltown. The first time we met in person, he embarrassed me in front of 1,500 dentists ... but at the same time, he gave my career a boost that continues to this day. He was up on stage, being Howard—educating, making us laugh so hard it hurt—when he abruptly stopped. ‘Where’s Howie Horrocks? Stand up!’
I had not yet conquered my extreme fear of being in front of audiences. I stood up, even though I really didn’t want to, and suddenly 3,000 eyeballs were on me. I was petrified! I was hoping for a mild heart attack so that paramedics could wheel me out. Howard held up my first book and yelled, ‘If you don’t have Howie’s book, just tattoo the word loser on your forehead!’
That started everything. New Patients went from four people in a freezing warehouse in Seattle to a team of 43 dental marketing experts who have helped thousands of dentists for the past 30 years.”
— William Howard (“Howie”) Horrocks, founder and CEO
Productive Dentist Academy (2009)
Fifteen years ago, Productive Dentist Academy embarked on a journey to positively affect the dental industry.
Our goal was to deliver real-world solutions to get dentists off the productivity roller coaster. In our search for a way to spread our message, we approached Dentaltown. The rest is history! Through customized education, business coaching and marketing solutions, we’ve partnered with thousands of practices to provide invaluable expertise and unparalleled dedication.
We believe that everyone is a product of the company they keep, and those involved in Dentaltown are among the best! Dentists from all over the country have joined this unique community where everyone—from the industry expert to the dentist down the street—has a voice, and bands together to share knowledge and celebrate success. Many of these doctors have become our close friends and PDA tribe members. We are honored by the trust that dental teams continue to place in us, and take great pride in seeing them become some of the industry’s most influential producers.
As we celebrate 15 years of excellence in the industry, we’re excited to see what new relationships develop in the next? 15.”
Scheduling Institute (2009)
"Congratulations, Howard and the Dentaltown team! We’re honored to join you in celebrating such a great milestone.
It seems like just a few years ago we started working together, but we’re going on 12 years now. We had always heard that Dentaltown was the ‘go-to’ magazine for growth-minded dentists and that’s the type of dentists we like to work with, so our first contact was around advertising, but we got to know Dr.?Howard Farran and the team along the way and have truly enjoyed working with them.
We trained the team at Howard’s practice, Today’s Dental, on our New Patient Generation System and were excited about how well they took to the system and the results they got. We’ve always admired Howard’s passion for entrepreneurship and helping dentists make the most of their businesses. It’s clear to us that’s what they’re in business for, and they appreciate that’s what we’re in business for. A positive side effect of developing our relationship with Dentaltown and the Townie community is that we’ve been voted No. 1 in the practice management consultant and advisor category for nine years in a row.
We really appreciate Howard and Dentaltown’s support in our own 20-year journey in dentistry, and look forward to many more to come.”
Shatkin FIRST (2012)
"The Shatkin FIRST family would like to congratulate Dentaltown on its 20th anniversary!
Dr. Howard Farran and his team have played an important role in the growth of Shatkin FIRST and the Shatkin Mini Dental Implant.
Dentaltown, through its New Graduates issue, has helped us grow our new-dentist program. By focusing an issue on the new dentist, we have been able to expose newly graduated dentists to a new, exciting and prosperous niche in dentistry that most were never exposed to in dental school.
I have also admired the growth of Dentaltown’s group message boards. Providing a Townie forum for expression and questions is exemplary and has been beneficial for both subscribers and other readers of the magazine.
Cheers to another 20 years!”
"Ultradent has enjoyed a long relationship with Dr. Howard Farran, Dentaltown magazine and, of course, the impressive amount of Townie members that the community has built throughout the years.
There’s no better place than a Dentaltown forum to get an immediate pulse on the needs and concerns of the dental community, as well as the honest feedback that we so highly value on our products and endeavors. Many of our innovations and product developments have come from putting our ‘ear to the ground’ and listening to pain points, issues and ideas that the Townie community has discussed and expressed on these forums.
We’ve also been honored and humbled to be recognized numerous times throughout the years in the annual Townie Choice Awards, and we can’t thank Townies and the Dentaltown editorial staff more for their support throughout the years. We look forward to continuing the invaluable relationship that Dentaltown and Townies offer Ultradent for many years to come.”