Business of Dentistry

Dr. Russell Kirk is a private practice oral surgeon who is on a mission to help dentists succeed in the business and clinical aspects of practice ownership. On the podcast he shares experiences from his own practice. He also interviews influencers in the profession to get additional insights. His discussions focus on fixing broken business systems in dental offices, reducing overhead while maximizing profit, recognizing burnout and battling against it, building healthy teams, creating positive customer experiences, improving self awareness and mindset for dentists (in life and practice), and creating successful marketing plans. The Business of Dentistry features practical strategies for dentists interested in improving and growing their businesses.
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Sep 24, 2019

Have you found yourself going through your days, seeing patients, but wishing you were actually handling a different kind of patient workload? That’s the situation that my guest this week, Dr. Brian Harris, found himself in. He found that he really enjoyed doing cosmetic cases over any other kind of patient case and wanted to increase his patient cosmetic base. That’s when he decided to reach out to potential patients virtually. He came up with a new system, Smile Virtual, as a way to reach out to potential patients. Today, he is sharing this amazing new program with all of us. 

If you’re ready to practice the way you want to practice and work the way you want to work, his virtual consult platform may be able to help you create the workload of your dreams. Your practice can change.  Today, Dr. Harris explains how virtual consulting is removing barriers with new clients and saving practitioners precious time that can be spent the way they want to spend it. 

Are you ready to take a step on the path to doing things a little differently and reduce open chair time? If so, you won’t want to miss this episode!

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • How his software builds a connection and value with a client through a virtual consult that is recorded at the dentist’s convenience 
  • The removal of barriers with new clients so they know the cost and process upfront and can decide if a procedure is affordable and feasible
  • The challenge of breaking away from your normal routine to the new line of projects you want to do
  • The necessity of remaining HIPAA compliant 
  • How Smile Virtual is increasing referrals, networking, and collaboration with specialists for comprehensive cases
  • That this software platform is a time-efficient way for the patient and doctor to share information and get to the point of meeting for a diagnosis

Resources from this episode:
Smile Virtual website:

Dr. Brian Harris:


Sep 17, 2019

This week on The Business of Dentistry, Gerry McGoldrick, Chief Marketing Officer of Kleer, joins me to talk about how dentists can create customized dental membership plans for their practice. On average, 20 to 30% of dental practices patients are uninsured and they're only coming in every other year. How can practices help this specific patient base without hurting their own bottom line? Enter Kleer, a cloud-based platform, where dentists can easily design, implement, and manage their own dental membership plan. 

In today’s episode, Gerry shares how Kleer originated and who they serve. Plus, you’ll hear the benefits of creating your own membership plan, how their system works, and how it helps uninsured clientele. If you’ve been wondering how to answer the question, “How do I serve my uninsured patients better and still make money?” then this is an episode you won’t want to miss. 

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Some key benefits and features of Kleer
  • How financing works for specialists as opposed to general dentists
  • Referrals, discounts, and membership cards
  • Marketing and promoting your dental membership plan

Resources from this episode:
Kleer’s website:


Sep 10, 2019

On this episode of The Business of Dentistry, I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Casey Culberson. He likes to “work hard but play hard, too!” This is a great way to live, as we all need to have favorite pastimes to reduce the stress in our lives. Speaking of reducing stress, Dr. Culberson has created a way for phobic patients to take their mind off of dental procedures while at the office, which we discuss in today’s episode. 

Dr. Culberson recognized a need for entertaining for his patients while they received treatment, and now with his new invention, he is helping to calm phobic patients in many dental offices too. In this episode, you will hear about his Molar Media Mount, what it is, how he invented it, and how he is using it in his practice today.  You’ll also hear about the benefits of shared office space and how a change in perspective helped him manage his practice in a new way.  

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • The benefits of a shared office space, plus some ways to use your time most efficiently
  • The benefits of participating in a mission trip and how it can change your perspective on how you manage your office
  • The process and steps of inventing an item for dental office use
  • About his Molar Media Mount, its benefits and how it helps to calm and entertain phobic patients


Resources from this episode:

The Molar Media Mount:

Dr. Casey Culberson:

Sep 3, 2019

This episode of The Business of Dentistry discusses an incredible opportunity for dental professionals to explore: the often undiagnosed disease of sleep apnea and its treatment options. My guest, Michael Cowen, and his business partner, Chad Wooters, discuss how their platform, Awaken2Sleep, is changing dental practices across the country. Chances are, you have many, many patients coming through your practice who are suffering from sleep apnea and may not even know it. This program can empower you to help the patients who entrust themselves to your care.

In this episode, we discuss their educational program and how it can be utilized in your practice. This program is designed not only for the doctors but also for the dental office team. By educating your staff, you are equipping the entire office to help patients. As Michael notes, they have “created a platform for doctors to be heroes for patients.” Do you have any idea how lucrative this segment of your offered services could be? You may be very surprised at the answer!

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • The life-saving importance of recognizing patients who may be suffering from sleep apnea and how to diagnose this disease
  • Dispelling some myths associated with dental insurance billing
  • The simple and usable training and coaching available through this program that educates not only doctors but their staff as this process needs to be a team approach
  • How the program continues to develop with new courses added monthly
  • The financial impact on a dental practice if they decide to offer sleep apnea services and the opportunity cost involved if you are not providing this service
  • The training and support levels available

Resources from this episode:
Awaken2Sleep’s website:

For a free 7-day trial:



If you like this podcast and are thinking of creating your own, consider talking to my producer, Danny Ozment.

He helps thought leaders, influencers, executives, HR professionals, recruiters, lawyers, realtors, bloggers, coaches, and authors create, launch, and produce podcasts that grow their business and impact the world.

Find out more at 

Jan 14, 2019

Part 1 of our Burnout series. This week we talk about how to recognize burnout with its multifaceted features.

Jan 4, 2019

After a long hiatus, the Business of Dentistry is back.  As a re-launch episode, I figured we would start off talking everyone's favorite - hate mail.   

Jul 24, 2018

Outside of my family, the two things that I’m the most comfortable and passionate talking about are dentistry and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Today I want to share with all of you a few thoughts on the lessons I’ve learned after losing a match during the jiu-jitsu tournament I had signed up for.

My experience there taught me a few important things, and I later realized that these things can also translate well to my practice. So I will use these lessons in the future, both on a business and a jiu-jitsu side.

When you have something go wrong, I strongly encourage you to not just quit on the first try. It may be something that will work in the future. Reorganize, regroup, come back and try it again.

Key takeaways:

  • Doing something a little uncomfortable to get out of your comfort zone
  • Prepare, have a strategy, be ready to adjust and shift things
  • Take ownership, give credit where credit is due, and work harder the next time
Jul 17, 2018

Today I have a very short episode for you. It’s all about rekindling the excitement and the fire by trying something new. I know that I haven’t posted anything in awhile, but I needed some time in order to breathe, recharge, and think deeper. Now I’m back and I’ll be having some pretty exciting guests coming on the show, so stay tuned!

Key takeaways:

  • Doing something new and exciting
  • Taking yourself out of stagnant, dormant waters, and refreshing your mindset
Jun 19, 2018

Reese Harper is the founder of He started working in the financial service industry in 2003, and had several business owner clients. Over time, he realized that dental practice owners were really different from the rest.

Compared to his other clients, dental practice owners had a lot more financial questions, and seemed to be carrying more financial anxiety and stress. So Reese figured out that the generic solutions that the financial planning industry were providing to dentists were just not meeting their needs. Dental practice owners had a more complex financial picture, and that made him choose to work exclusively with them now.

Key takeaways:

  • Reevaluate your financial plan every year and make adjustments
  • How much wealth do you need to have in order to make work optional?
  • Avoid cash holdings, renegotiate your debt, and borrow against your own investments


Jun 5, 2018

This week I’m flying solo again. I share some practical tips that have helped me in my practice in the hope that you will feel prompted to make some changes as well.

First I talk about why I find documenting my protocols very important. All these steps are very intuitive now, but I got a lot out of just writing them down and sharing them with other people.

I also really think you should take a look at your credit card statements once in a while, because you might discover automatic payments that you completely forgot about.

Finally, I am currently looking at implementing the agile methodology in my practice. If you’ve already done that, I’d really appreciate your feedback. You can email me at

Key takeaways:

  • Look at documenting your protocols
  • Consider reviewing your credit card statements quarterly
  • Bringing the agile approach to the team
May 22, 2018

As promised, my guest this week is Mr. Chuck Blakeman, the author of Making Money Is Killing Your Business and Why Employees Are Always a Bad Idea. Join us for a very captivating show where we touch on some very important strategic aspects that we all tend to forget too often.

Today’s lesson is that your business can really take off if you understand and apply some simple concepts. Too often we tend to get in our own way when it comes to our practices because we’re too busy trying to make money. The tyranny of the urgent wraps itself around us, while the priority of the important quietly sits in a corner waiting for us to pay attention to it.

There are two types of business owners: the income producers that always need to be in their practices in order for everything to function properly, and the true business owners that can take a month off to go on holiday while they keep making money even when they’re away.

After reading Mr. Blakeman’s book I re-evaluated my own situation. And after speaking to him, I found yet more hidden practical gems that I can use in order to bring my practice and my life to the next level.

Key takeaways:

  • The tyranny of the urgent vs the priority of the important
  • Shifting your mindset
  • The 1000 to 1 principle
  • Strategic plans vs business plans
  • Figuring out your big why
  • Why it’s important to focus on one objective every year


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Full show notes at:

May 7, 2018

Full show notes at:

This week I want to touch on a few more things regarding the book I mentioned last week,  Making Money Is Killing Your Business by Chuck Blakeman in the hope that you might get a bit of practical inspiration that you can implement in your daily life.

First things first, I have some great news: I have been contacted by Mr. Blakeman’s team, and I am going to have him as a guest in a few weeks. I’m very, very excited, and events like these are for me some of the hidden advantages of podcasting. So I’m going to keep you updated about that. If you happen to have any questions that you’d like me to ask Mr. Blakeman, you can send me an email at

In this episode, I also speak a bit more in-depth about the tyranny of the urgent, a concept introduced by Mr. Blakeman in his book, and one that I find truly thought-provoking.

So please remember that if you want to get somewhere in your professional life, it’s crucial that you always keep an eye on your overall strategy, and you don’t get buried in your daily activities. I started implementing a few things for myself, and I’m more than happy to share them with all of you.

Key takeaways:

  • Chuck Blakeman is coming on the show in a few weeks
  • Dealing with the tyranny of the urgent
  • Some practical solutions that I’ve come up with


May 1, 2018

This week I want to give you a little bit of an update on what’s going on around here.

I read a book that got me thinking a lot, and I recommend it to every solo practitioner out there: Making Money Is Killing Your Business, by Chuck Blakeman. Reading it makes you really reflect on the state of your business, and your long-term objectives. Personally, I realized that I would like a few things to change, and I am most likely going to bring in another surgeon to help me out.

Blakeman makes some very interesting points on the so-called “tyranny of the urgent”. We can become so caught up in our daily activities, that we lose track of what we want to achieve in the long run. It’s something to keep in mind: be aware of what you really want to achieve and check yourself from time to time to see where you’re at.

Finally, I’m really excited to announce that we’ve started a new digital magazine for dental practice owners, ownR Magazine. Go check it out and let me know what you think, I appreciate every piece of feedback I receive.

Key takeaways:

  • The stages of a true business
  • Taming the tyranny of the urgent
  • A new digital magazine for dental practice owners


Apr 24, 2018

My guest this week is Travis Hornsby, the founder of Student Loan Planner, a student loan advisor company.

Behind every great man there’s a great woman, they say. In Travis’s case, the great woman is his wife, a physician in Saint Louis. When they first started dating, she had a lot of student debt. So Travis decided to help her out by making a model of how they can pay off her student debt.

He used all the knowledge he got from bond trading and modeling complex debt instruments and started researching what are the most advantageous choices you can make while repaying your debt.

His then girlfriend, now wife, started spreading the word about what he was doing, so he started helping more and more dentists. He advised about 250 dentists and dental specialists in the past 18 months.

Key takeaways:

  • The grim current landscape of student debt
  • Choose your plan according to your goals
  • The current state of student loans is not sustainable, and that might change


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Apr 17, 2018

This week I am joined by Dr. Paul Etchison, host of The Dental Practice Heroes Podcast, and author of Dental Practice Hero: From Ordinary Practice to Extraordinary Experience.

Paul comes from Illinois, and studied in Chicago. After finishing dental school, he worked for a specialist who owned several practices. There he got the chance to learn a ton of things, and after about two and a half years, he started thinking about creating his own business.

The next step for him was taking Dr. Scott Leune’s Breakaway Practice Seminars and gathering as much information as humanly possible.

He then started looking for a location for his office, found the perfect spot and grew the business really fast. Fast forward to six years later, they now have almost 3 million visits every year and still counting!

Key takeaways:

  • Success narrowed down to effort and dedication
  • Devoted to creating an exceptional practice culture
  • Some of the marketing strategies they’ve used
  • Burnout and coming up with a solution
  • Why he become an author


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Full show notes at:

Apr 10, 2018

My guest this week is a self-declared Nebraska farm boy whose first career pursuit was athletic medicine. He later realized that athletic trainers are really married to their job, and this wasn’t the lifestyle he wanted for himself.

Dave Maloley then switched to dentistry and never looked back.

Today we talk about why it’s necessary to keep an eye on your vision, and why you should constantly remind yourself of what’s important to you.

We also touch on Dave’s 16 life categories that help him be more focused on his goals, on how he discovered high-performance training and how it completely turned his life around.

Finally, it’s useful to remind you that you can always sign up for the Dental Success Network, whenever you have questions, or if you need to double-check something. It’s an enormously valuable resource.

Key takeaways:

  • Building vision and clarity
  • Dave’s 16 life categories
  • How high-performance training changed his life
  • The Dental Success Network initiative


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Full show notes at:

Apr 3, 2018

This week I speak about two things that have helped me improve my practice and my wellbeing.


The first one is treating myself to a buffer day before jumping back to work on a Monday morning. I realized that by doing so, I was more relaxed, and I could tackle the everyday problems better. I strongly suggest you give it a try if you’ve never considered it before.

The second thing that I truly benefited from is painting a whiteboard in front of my desk. So now every time I need to add something to my schedule, I can just add it to the list, and I will have it in front of my eyes until I solve it. This small trick has helped me be more organized and it took away the stress of having to keep things in my head.

Key takeaways:

  • Why I find buffer days important
  • A small trick: using a whiteboard in order to keep everything in check
  • What’s next for the show

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Mar 20, 2018

This week I touch on a few things I’ve noticed in my area lately. Consider revisiting some policies and protocols from time to time, to make sure you are in compliance with state and federal regulations.

I found out from my Marketing Director that OSHA has been paying some visits to dental offices in Tennessee, checking if our business is up-to-date with their requirements.

As you might be aware of, we have a problem here in Tennessee with opioid prescriptions. The state legislature is trying to tackle it by passing a new bill, which I’m not so excited about.

I also speak about a new credentialing organization we recently switched to, and some DEA visits I heard about from an oral surgeon friend of mine.

Key takeaways:

  • Revisit the OSHA compliance in your state
  • A potential new bill regarding the opioid problem in Tennessee
  • An alternative to CAQH and some DEA visits


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Mar 13, 2018

This week I speak about the challenges I’m faced with as a small practice owner. Sometimes the administrative tasks that I need to solve stress me out, and I am still working on improving my problem-solving skills and coping mechanisms.

I often get complaints from my patients about the fact that I sometimes step out of the practice. It’s impossible for me to always be there, sometimes I need to take care of certain things.

I also recently remembered how important it is to observe your office from the patient’s point of view. I strongly suggest you give it a try and do so periodically.

We’ve been having some problems with the dental camera and with the website. If you know a good web developer or a long-lasting, top quality dental (video) camera, get in touch with me at I really appreciate your help.

The challenges we are all faced with in our professional careers are part of our journeys. And I’ve learned to care more about my journey than about my destination.

Key takeaways:

  • Observe your practice from the patient’s point of view
  • Issues with our camera and with the website
  • It’s all about the journey, not the destination

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Full show notes at

Mar 6, 2018

Full show notes at:

This week is all about the strategies I’ve used in order to set boundaries in my professional life. These helped me handle my burnout and ended up being a valuable tool for everyday use.

In December 2011, I was a bit of a mess. I was endangering my personal and professional life, so I took my wife’s advice to go and seek professional help.

I went to see five different specialists, and they each gave me their advice. I started implementing it, and slowly, but steadily, I started improving.

This episode is a heartfelt testimony of my journey. I share the three types of boundaries I’ve set that made the biggest difference for my well-being.

Key takeaways:

  • If you feel overloaded, ask for help
  • Establish administrative time
  • Say no to distractions and set gatekeepers


Join me for a talk on some important strategies to use in order to overcome your burnout.

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Full show notes at:

Feb 27, 2018

Full show notes at

Kevin Donlin, doctor, and manager of We Care Dental and member of the South Dakota Army National Guard, shares his challenges and solutions to being a small town practice owner.

When you’re living in a small town, you will most likely end up being either the only dentist in town or one of two or three others. This situation poses challenges if you are considering expanding your practice. Kevin shares his opinion on what your options are and how to best tackle this situation.

Apart from managing his practice, Kevin is also involved in the National Army Guard. This means that his schedule is most of the time full, leaving him little time for other activities. Kevin speaks about how he copes with being away from home for extended periods of time.

Are you a small practice owner in a small town? Then this episode is just for you.

Key takeaways:

  • What are the challenges of being a small practice owner in a small town?
  • Combining being a small dental practice owner with Army Guard duties
  • If you have doubts about doing something, just go ahead and do it instead of living with regrets


Join us for a conversation on the advantages and demands of small-town dental ownership.

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Full show notes at

Feb 20, 2018

Boomcloud founder, Jordon Comstock, is no fan of insurance companies. He is convinced that dental practices don’t need a third party providing them with clients, so he developed a software that enables practitioners attract and retain customers through in-house membership plans and financing.

He is not alone in this venture. More and more dental and medical offices become tired of having to deal with insurance companies and develop plans of their own.

If you’re a dental (or medical) practice owner thinking about making a change and reducing or renouncing your insurance dependence, then you’re in for a treat, as Jordon carefully lays out the steps you need to do in order to become more independent. As a bonus, you should know that generating recurring revenue stream will increase the valuation of your practice.

Key takeaways:

  • The dental insurance industry is deeply flawed, but there’s something else arising at the horizon
  • Generating recurring revenue stream will increase the valuation of your practice
  • Membership plans vs in-house financing


Join us for more information on how to create recurring revenue stream through membership plans or in-house financing.

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Full show notes at:

Feb 13, 2018

Brian Colao, Director of leading US law firm Dykema, shares with us his expertise on how to get started with expanding a solo practice to a DSO or securing a private equity deal.

The dental industry is currently heading towards more DSO affiliations from solo practitioners. Getting affiliated with a DSO or doing a private equity deal can result in a much higher ROI over time, so many practitioners choose to expand.

What are the first steps towards restructuring to a DSO, or doing a private equity deal? What questions should you ask yourself and how much money would you need? What should you know beforehand when deciding between a DSO and a private equity deal?

Brian Colao comes to the rescue with answers to these questions and more.

Key takeaways:

  • Affiliating with a DSO vs doing a private equity deal
  • How much money you will need to get started and how much ROI you can expect
  • What the process of reorganizing to a DSO looks like


Tune in to hear more on how Brian Colao’s company is helping solo practitioners get the best investment return out of their business.

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Full show notes at:

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