Dental Revolutionary Dr. John Kanca DDS

Future of Digital Dentures

One of the founding members and 4th president of AACD, Dr. John Kanca DDS, discusses his early research papers about hardness and curing of composites written over 30 years ago.  In 1989, Dr. Kanca spoke about etching dentin at the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry was met with harsh opposition. As a pioneer in the dental industry, Dr. Kanca went on to create his own bonding solution and cementation that is now known nationwide as All-Bond.

Full Transcription:

Shaun Keating Hello everybody, welcome to this week’s Dental Up podcast, here at Keating Dental Lab. This week, we’re talking to a long time client of ours and a good friend of mine, Dr. John Kanca from Connecticut. Johnny boy, how you doing, man?

Dr. John Kanca: I’m well, Shaun. How are you?

Shaun Keating It’s so good to hear you and see you here. Thank you so much for coming on, I know you’re a real busy man and I just can’t thank you enough for coming on board and just talking with for a little bit. I like to start off talking a little bit about sports, I’m kind of a sports nut, and I know you are too. Big March Madness is going on, how’s your bracket? Did it break awhile ago?

Dr. John Kanca: Yeah, it kind of fell apart real quick. I’m not as in depth into basketball in general, but I do enjoy the college games, especially this month. Watching them is a blast.

Shaun Keating It really is. You see these kids man, I mean, they play with such a passion. You watch the pro guys with all these big bucks contracts and they don’t get out there and play every game like their fullest and diving for balls. There’s some teams that are out there like the South Carolina guys and even Oregon, there’s some big boys that are playing some really good basketball. I was a big UCLA going to do it, that Lonzo Ball dude, that guy took a big turd man. He really choked in that last game. He’s supposed to be better than Steph Curry and all this stuff and he threw up like 10 points and wasn’t really that great. You just never know, it’s hard to pick these damn teams. I think I’m in like 89th place out of 160 people. I kind of did that thing where, “Get a perfect bracket,” man, it’s hard to do that. I don’t know if anyone will ever do that.

Dr. John Kanca: It’s a tough one. I did, the last week, there really were some great games. That’s really what you hope for in the end.

Shaun Keating Yeah. I mean, wasn’t it like that Wisconsin game or something, I mean, it just, the very last shot in overtime and then even-

Dr. John Kanca: The North Carolina game was just awesome.

Shaun Keating Can you imagine that? North Carolina, my son needs him to kind of do really good and my brother Kevin, you know, he’s North Carolina over in Greensboro, he’s an endodontist over there. You always kind of push for North Carolina, and I guess they’ve got a little five mile thing. I think you’ve got North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Duke all right in the … Kind of reminds me up in Pennsylvania, they call it the quarterback capital of the world where I think he had Marino and Namath and went to four Super Bowls at Buffalo, Jim Kelly, I mean, that’s kind of like the same thing in North Carolina with Basketball guys. It’s kind of neat to see South Carolina in there, they’ve never been, and I think Oregon has been many, many years, but I’m kind of excited. This Saturday those games are coming up, that’ll be good to watch, and then Monday the national championship, that’ll be pretty cool.

Dr. John Kanca: As a Connecticut graduate, I’m also pulling for the women at Connecticut.

Shaun Keating Yeah, those women-

Dr. John Kanca: They’re pretty awesome.

Shaun Keating How the hell did they win all those games all those years? I remember that one lady coach, she was like, I think she passed away recently, God rest her soul-

Dr. John Kanca: They’re cool with it, John.

Shaun Keating Forgive me Lord, he know not what he do.

Dr. John Kanca: There’s one thing I need to point out, is that in NCAA history, only twice in the history of the NCAA have men’s and women’s team both been champion.

Shaun Keating Really?

Dr. John Kanca: You know what the school that was?

Shaun Keating No.

Dr. John Kanca: Connecticut.

Shaun Keating Really? That’s unbelievable.

Dr. John Kanca: Both times, 2004, 2011. No one else has ever done it once.

Shaun Keating Really? Well, that’s freaking Connecticut, man, that’s amazing. They got a football team out there or no? D1 or no?

Dr. John Kanca: Rumor has it we do but I haven’t seen it.

Shaun Keating I’ve never heard of them. What’s the mascot of Connecticut?

Dr. John Kanca: The Husky.

Shaun Keating A husky? My son has a husky, Travis. Damn dog shits everywhere. Those dogs are pretty cool, he talks to you. It’s like, “I love you.” Whenever I go to his house, I sit there and after a few pops, I’m talking to that dog more than the people in the house.

Dr. John Kanca: He probably loves you more.

Shaun Keating He loves me. He looks into my blue eyes, I look into him. His name is Kobe, after Kobe Bryant. “I love you,” and he just totally does that, it’s pretty cool.

Dr. John Kanca: It’s nice to hear it once in awhile from somebody though, right?

Shaun Keating Yeah, exactly. No one tells me, “I love you,” anymore, but no, dude. Man, that is so cool. I’m a big football guy, too. We got the Rams back here after all of the years and they’re kind of horrible but it’s kind of exciting to have a team back. We haven’t had a team here in 20+ years and we’ve had to root for the Chargers down the road there, down in San Diego. I used to coach the kids in youth football in Irving for many years and we were the Irving Chargers so we always kind of did all of the Charger stuff and just 20 years of letting us down. It’s hard to root for them because they’d be 13-4 or whatever, 13 and they’d first round playoffs every year. It’s just tough. It’s kind of tough to drive down there and then try to drive home afterwords. Shannon is always driving me to those games and she’s like, good Lord, I remember a couple of times hanging out the window on the 5 freeway coming home like [inaudible 05:42], a little too much tailgating, you start tailgating at like eight in the morning. Come halftime, I’m ready to go to sleep.

Dr. John Kanca: You talk about suffering? Try being a Jets fan.

Shaun Keating Imagine that. That’s so crazy. I remember when Rex Ryan was a coach there, they were on Hard Knocks. I really watched that program and I got to love the Jets just because, just learn about them. They had Mark Sanchez, he was a local quarterback here that went there and just watching Rex Ryan and stuff, I get a lot of Rex Ryan’s brother Rob Ryan, you see that dude?

Dr. John Kanca: Yeah.

Shaun Keating Long hair? Kind of looks like me. People were saying, “You look like Rob Ryan.” I’m like, “Dude, what the heck?”

Dr. John Kanca: Your hair is too short.

Shaun Keating Yeah, exactly. I’m going to grow it to my ass, man.

Dr. John Kanca: His is really curly at the bottom.

Shaun Keating Remember back in the day, back in the early 2000s, I used to dye my beard and everything and who did I look like then? I looked like Tom Arnold and everybody would say, “You look like Tom Arnold.” I went on that Best Damn Sport show and they put me on TV and everything and, “Hey, we have Tom Arnold here.” It’s like, what the heck? Why can’t I look like Brad Pitt or something? It’s like, Tom Arnold or Rob Ryan or Santa Claus’ little brother, but dude you look good, man. You’re looking great. We’re doing this on Skype, you know. It’s really good to see you, my wife Shannon says, “You’re talking with that Dr. Kanca?” My wife loves you because many years we’d go out to the Chicago meeting, we’ve been together through the years so Shannon would say hi to you.

Dr. John Kanca: I love her so please give her my regards.

Shaun Keating I remember meeting you, I think it was one of our first meetings we ever did was in the Yankee Dental Convention in Boston. It was just like, it’s like fate, you know? People come into your lives for a reason or whatever. I truly believe that with us, because I didn’t really know you at all, you didn’t know me from Jack, but we had booths right next to each other.

Dr. John Kanca: The aisle, I remember that.

Shaun Keating Yeah. It was just right there, and my general manager Bob Brandon who, he kind of knows a lot about dentistry and all this stuff, he goes, “This Kanca guy, he’s like real big time. He lectures, he’s lecturing here. He’s a big bonding, wet bond,” I mean, you’re pretty famous in the industry and you’re really giving a lot to us in the industry. I just remember Bob saying it and I’m like, “Dude, let’s go talk to this guy and see what he’s all about.” Then we got to know each other and we went out for drinks, I think we went out and ate a bunch of lobsters and stuff.

Dr. John Kanca: God, did we eat lobsters? Yeah.

Shaun Keating Remember that time? I think it was like three for 21.99 and we had like eight of us.

Dr. John Kanca: That’s exactly right. There were nine of us altogether. Your wife Shannon was the only one who would not eat the lobsters. Both my boys were with me and there were eight of us eating lobsters. Remember we ordered the first three and then that wasn’t enough, we ordered the next three and we weren’t sure, and then you went ahead and ordered the last three. Everybody had nine lobsters. I still have that pile of carnage in the middle of the table that we threw everything onto and it went halfway to the ceiling of lobster shells.

Shaun Keating Dude, I forgot. We had nine each. I remember saying, “It’s just like sunflower seeds, there’s really not a lot to it, guys.”

Dr. John Kanca: They had a contest going amongst the waiters, and whoever sold the most lobsters that day was going to get free drinks for a month. Well, he sold 72 to us. The next closest I think was around 40 for the whole day. This kid that won that went out big time. My boys never forgot that.

Shaun Keating I remember us going back there years after, it’s right across the street, but every year we went back and they said, “No, we don’t do that anymore, sir.” I think we take the whole batch from four to five or four to six o’clock in the afternoon. No one else can get in the rest of the night because I think we polished close to a hundred of them, but I love Boston and going to McDonald’s and they even got a lobster roll, and then the clam chowder. I just love Boston. I don’t like the weather, it’s kind of crazy.

Dr. John Kanca: My boys went to Boston College so that was always a great place to go and we always enjoyed going out because we’d be able to hang out with the boys and of course they always look forward to our business because they’d be going out to dinner for free.

Shaun Keating Absolutely.

Dr. John Kanca: It’s always a great day.

Shaun Keating You know that. My boys, they always like coming to our house or coming out with me because they know they’re always going to get a free meal on pawpaw and pawpaw likes to eat. They’re always, they kind of, they take care of themselves. They’re young, give them time, they’ll start to look like me before they know it.

When we started off, a little work here and there with us, you got so many accolades and in dentistry a lot of guys, what they do, they learn from other people, just like me. I learned from the Air Force manual. I’ve really done nothing on my own in life in dentistry. Then there’s guys like you that have plowed a way and forged a way with what you have developed. Other people learn from what you have developed in a part of dentistry and I think you’re just a real important part of it. I mean, how did you get involved with … Your big thing is like, cementation and bonding, and I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to that, but what got you interested back in the day? You’ve always been kind of R&D, even all my products that you use, you’ll break it down for me. I mean, you’ve helped me so much with the E-Max, with my value, “Too high, lower the values,” and then this and on and on. You really are a smart cookie and know a lot of math and science and all this, but you went above and beyond. What got you involved in some of that aspects of just the R&D of different dental materials and trying to make a difference and developing your own kind of bonding agents?

Dr. John Kanca: Just a desire when I, after about four years of private practice, to want to publish a paper. I just wanted something more. I felt I’d like to publish a paper and I kind of hacked around for awhile trying to find a topic. When you don’t know what to ask, you don’t know what to ask, and then once you dive into the subject, there are far more questions than you could ever answer. You just have to start picking and choosing. I chose looking at composites early on and looking at hardnesses and curing of composites 30 something years ago and end up publishing several papers on hardness of composites somewhere around 30 years ago. Then I went on to researching a little bit more about bonding them in, trying to understand what was going on, and then one day I was at an [AADR 12:37] and I saw this 6’7 Hungarian with an Italian name and I spoke to him. He’s talking about etching dentin and that he learned this in Japan and I said, “No, you can’t do that,” because that was the common wisdom, you can’t etch dentin.

Then I decided I was going to research this. I went to the Yukon Library, went on the stacks and read every biocompatibility paper written since 1945, and I’d bring my boys with me and they’d have their little GI Joes and play along the library while Dad’s copying papers, and I read them. I’m reading the articles in the library and I had an epiphany. I realized at that moment why you could etch dentin and I knew immediately why everybody thought you could not. Then basically there were just two of us, there was [Berlotti 13:27] and me, there are two of us that thought you could etch dentin in the United States and that was pretty much it. Everybody else is against it. Then I talked about it in 1989 at the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry meeting and I kind of set off a firestorm. I got called all kinds of named, I got called irresponsible, reckless, and one academic said he wanted to open up an endodontic practice next to my office. It was just, it was quite an interesting event, but nonetheless prevailed and turned out to be right.

From there, it just kind of expanded into things. I started learning more about chemistry, about bonding systems, and I ended up creating a bonding system, it was literally called Kanca Bond for awhile, Kanca Technique if you will. That name was given by John [Gwinnett 14:21]. That is what became All Bond eventually.

Shaun Keating No kidding. That’s a trip, man. That’s so crazy. It’s like, you’ve got other big corporate companies that come in and kind of push the man down a little bit I’d say in certain situations where, you know, I just think with what you have and what you do is such an amazing thing. I wish it was so much more mainstream with everyone. It’s so hard when you get big corporate giants in there and they try to push something that’s not as good, but they have the marketing behind it. I always thought with your products, they really are great. I remember back with just the different ones that you had, a lot of my dentists always use your stuff and it really works. I know you can’t please everyone when it comes to it, you’re going to get some guys that are saying this and some, but you’re the man when it comes to bonding. I used to always, I remember when I first met you, I called you Kanca Bond dude, like, you should do it called Kanca Bond dude. You was like, “Okay, Shaun, you little knucklehead.”

Dr. John Kanca: I started out, like I said, creating All Bond. I shopped the concept around to 3M, to Kerr, and nobody wanted a part of the initial concept, but then it was Bisco that took it up. They did magnificently from a business perspective and Bisco grew and flourished. Now, of course, when you say people holding you down, there’s a lot of truth to that because now I’m part of Apex and people, yes, there is an effort to keep you down, so it has to prevent another similar event from occurring another time. It’s hard if you’re not capitalized to take advantage of some of that, and we do have some of the best stuff that’s out there.

Shaun Keating It really is. It’s called Apex, is it or Apex or?

Dr. John Kanca:

Shaun Keating Apex Dental Materials. It’s good stuff, many, many people use it. I think it’s awesome that you’ve done what you’ve done. I think you should get on your horse and pony and go across the US, show them what you do. I loved when you used to lecture more, you’ve not lectured as much. I mean, you’re not winding down so much, but you used to lecture all over and I’d love it because you’d put my crowns up and stuff and go, “This is Keating” and every show we went to it was like, damn, Kanca is lecturing and we’d have some dentists come up to us. Thank you so much for that, and I didn’t really realize it back in the day, you know. It’s just the weight that you pull in the dental industry is quite amazing and I’m so thankful for it.

I know you can get them to come to my booth, but then we have to deliver on it. It’s something that you can talk the talk, but you’ve got to walk the walk, and I thank you for getting guys to come to us and give us a shot. Then it really was important for us to be our best and to do our best to try to work with these guys for the long term. I thank you, because through the years, you’ve really helped me in that area and I’m very, very, I don’t forget that. I’m just so thankful for what you’ve done, because you do, but you know, when we do mess up with you, you’ll bust our balls, like my dad, like the best of them, but it’s made us better, it really has. You know, if I’ve got a contact to point us, it’s like, what the heck, you’ve got to broaden your contacts and it’s just always kind of an edge case with you. You’re the nicest guy in the world too, but when it comes to what you want, you really are one of the top dentists from just a skills on preps and how you with your dentistry.

I think, I mean, you said a little bit back in ’89, you were at the AACD talking about it. You were the president way back then of the AACD and that in itself, I’ve got a few other guys that I work with that were past presidents and it’s just a different cream of the crop with that, with those dentists that are that level and practicing. You just almost got to be, I don’t know what’s it called where you become a fellow? I mean, I don’t know any of that stuff. I didn’t go to college or anything, but just kind of the pinnacle of where you can climb to, and I know they’re changing things up now, trying to get a little bit younger and more people involved, but what do you take from the AACD? You’ve got so many other accolades too, I mean, so many awards. You got the Gordon Christensen, I’m not even sure what that, what’s that award you got way back? I remember something with Gordon gave you something.

Dr. John Kanca: It’s called the Gordon Christensen Lecture Recognition Award. I got that in 1995 and it was at the Chicago Dental Society. It’s actually the people of Chicago who decide that, and that came out of the efforts that I said etching dentin and wet bonding and all of that, I guess that was consequent to that. I’m very grateful for that, because the guys at Chicago are really, they’re good people, I’ve enjoyed them.

Shaun Keating They really do. I mean, I never went to Chicago until I started going to the Chicago Midwinter and it’s our biggest meeting from a dental lab standpoint, they have a dental lab day there, but also with the dentists, you know. It’s hard to get a good spot in there, you have to peck your way up the order. We were in the back end of the building for many years because we’re a new lab and a lot of guys don’t go down those back rows and we’re back there for eight hours a day, three days, just sitting there with our information, a little pamphlet, “This is our dental laboratory, please give us a try.”

Dr. John Kanca: Yeah, I hear that.

Shaun Keating It’s just amazing there. Tell me a little bit about the AACD? How did that go about getting in that? That’s a tough thing to do, to be the president of it and stuff, and so many years later, seeing the different guys go through it. What are your thoughts and what do you think for younger dentists? Is it a route they might want to go?

Dr. John Kanca: I was a founding member of that back in ’84 in December. There were 64 of us on that day. Jack Kammer became the first president, Jeff Morley the second, Paul Landman was the third president, and I was the fourth president of the AACD. It started out as a place for dentists to become better at aesthetic cosmetic dentistry. My fear, what I didn’t want to see happen was that raising the level of demand of becoming a fellow so high that it became impossible. This is supposed to be for a lot of guys, to help everybody get better, that was the intent, that was the reason for most of us. That was the goal, was to provide a platform for people that’ll educate themselves, become better at this kind of dentistry and if they chose to go on, become, early on we called it accreditation, now it’s called fellowship. There should be standards, but you want to make sure they’re not too too difficult. You want to be able to have the guy from Carbondale, Illinois be able to become a fellow but he may not have the traffic or the kinds of cases that are going to fall into the laps of somebody in Malibu.

Shaun Keating Yeah.

Dr. John Kanca: Those are the kinds of things that I concern myself with. I was worried about that, because I recognize that it was the general members of organizations like that were the heart and souls of those organizations and the rest of us that live at the sort of top weren’t really what it was all about. I mean, it was nice that we were there, but this was an organization I wanted and most of us wanted for all the members to help them. It wasn’t about making us look good, it was about making them better.

Shaun Keating Yeah. That’s amazing. I didn’t even know that about you, founding member, that’s like the founding forefathers of our country. It’s kind of like-

Dr. John Kanca: Me and George, yeah.

Shaun Keating You would be like the fourth president then, it was Washington, I can’t go beyond that, you’d be what, Franklin? Franklin wasn’t a president, was he? You’d be up there.

Dr. John Kanca: He wasn’t.

Shaun Keating He’s the one that made his beer. Isn’t that what God created beer so men would be happy or something? I don’t know.

Dr. John Kanca: Something along that line.

Shaun Keating Something along that lines.

Dr. John Kanca: Then he went out and created Champagne, of course that was the Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon who made the Champagne. That’s [inaudible 23:11].

Shaun Keating Really? I know you like your Champagne.

Dr. John Kanca: As you well know, I’m a big Champagne guy.

Shaun Keating Yeah. Dude, I know, I buy you a bottle of Cristal, I didn’t even know what Cristal was back in the day and every time I come see you I’d go to this little place in Chicago every year and the guy would see me and go, “You want the Cristal,” because they’re collecting dust, so expensive, but it’s just good stuff, huh?

Dr. John Kanca: It’s truly nectar from the Gods.

Shaun Keating Is it really? I remember there was a person that says whenever like a rich dude gets, you know, has woes or problems, he has Champagne tears. I don’t know how that effects this, I don’t know why I said that. I don’t know man, I can’t drink that bubbly stuff. I got like a little weird stomach. I can eat anything, but the hard liquor, it touches the punching bag in the back of my throat there and it wants to come straight out. I remember trying, I mean, I can do it at a wedding maybe a little sip here and there, but I remember it in Chicago each year you always had this little party at your suite in the hotel and we ended up naming it after a year or two Kancapalooza, kind of like Lollapalooza.

We always did the Kancapalooza and everybody who was anybody would go to them and I’m like the only dental lab tech there with my wife and a couple of my crew, I just felt so honored to be there. Then through the years, it was so comfortable to be with all you guys and I just remember, you know … I remember that dude, Howard Goldstein, would always bring his Scotch. My dad was a big Scotch drinker and he used to drink Dewar’s and I just remember that name. I guess it’s a cheaper Scotch, but he used to say stuff he never knew he knew he said. He goes, “When I’m drinking this Scotch, I say stuff I never knew I knew.” I remember-

Dr. John Kanca: Howard Goldstein and Tim Burke used to be the guys to bring the Scotch. They’d bring some really good stuff for everybody to taste. Howard, those guys, they do know their Scotch.

Shaun Keating He really does. He carries around that cup kind of like Si does on Duck Dynasties you know, he has his little teacup from Vietnam and he just brings it everywhere and Howard Goldstein brings his little freaking sippy cup or whatever it is, this sippy cup. Dude, I tasted some of that stuff so called supposed to be good, I know you’ve got an acquired taste, but this stuff tasted horrible. It literally tasted like tree bark off a tree, whatever that would taste like. It is the most nastiest stuff in the world. I don’t know how you can say that taste, it’s not like grape juice or apple juice or a glass of milk where that’s good and tastes good. This stuff, you really do have to kind of choke it down at the beginning. I guess you acquire a taste, I don’t know.

Dr. John Kanca: I suppose you start out with the smoother lighter stuff and then you kind of work your way in and see what you, and it’s all about what you like. After you taste them a few times and then you sort of develop a feeling for what it is and a taste for the stuff itself. Then you decide where you want to fit into that, and you may not. It’s like I said, whatever you like.

Shaun Keating I always say too, my wife was telling me, I’ve never had a glass of wine, I’ve tried it once or twice just a sip and it’s just, [ugh 26:31]. I think someone’s telling me, “Don’t drink that, Shaun,” because I’m a volume guy. I like to drink beer and I can sit there and drink quite a few beers in a sitting and it’s just kind of like, whatever, it’s like water in a way. Imagine if I got to like wine, you know? I like to drink a couple of gallons, can you imagine me swilling wine like, “I love this!” A bottle is like three little cups? You better bring three out, because in an hour, no. I think the Lord says, “Shaun, you don’t drink these other hard ones because you’re not built for that.” We’re going to stay where I’m at with my beer and even that there’s so much sugar in the stuff and my damn doctor is like, “Shaun, you’ve got to drop the beer,” so I’m down to like three days a week now, so here and there.

Dr. John Kanca: If you ever get a chance I’ll have to bring you, if you ever get out here, I’ll take you out to Vermont and take you up to Bridgewater Corners and you can go to Long Trail.

Shaun Keating What’s that?

Dr. John Kanca: They have a brewery up there and they make some of the best beer in New England.

Shaun Keating Can you believe, yeah. My buddy has a little brewery here called Backstreet Brewery and there’s one called, I’m a big lager guy and he has one called Chava Lager and that’s his buddy Chava, this big dude. It’s like 8.3% or something and I drink three of those and I’m like three sheets to the wind, where I can drink a 12 pack of my Bud Light and it’s like nothing. Some of those heavy duty ones, they’re pretty neat. We have a couple breweries that I’ll get in there and start tasting some different ones and then my wife is like, “Shaun, take it easy. You’re going to go crazy here in a little bit.” Yeah, I’ve kind of got to watch that.

What do you think about dentistry? I’ve got a lot of younger dentists that are starting out and stuff and you know, you’ve seen it all, you’ve seen what’s come and gone, you’ve seen the flavors of the month. What do you think is some advice you give? We’re doing this just to help my guys out, just to help practice a little smarter, a little better. It’s tough nowadays, the whole marketing thing, I don’t even want to get into that, but for a dentist, just to practice solid dentistry. I mean, should they do their endo, should they be a MacGyver and doing all this stuff or should they concentrate on a few things? What do you think a little bit of advice you could give to some of the younger guys starting off? They’ve got a bunch of debt I’m sure, maybe some of them don’t, but just some dos and dont’s of what you think you can give my guys out there a little bit of advice.

Dr. John Kanca: I think I would start by saying, or my advice would be not to acquire a lot of debt. You’re going to have debt coming out of school and you’ve got to see where your situation is, wherever you find yourself employed. Sometimes it could be for a corporation and sometimes it can be a part of an associateship leading to a partnership, but I think you have to get yourself financially grounded and somewhat secured before you start spending money on the big ticket items. There’s a lot of them out there, and most of them, to be honest with you, they’re nice, they don’t make or break you. They’re not going to make your dentistry necessarily better. That’s the thing I think people really need to understand. Some of these things can be really cute, really nice, but can you practice without them? Yes you can. Can you do great work without them? Yes you can.

You want, before you get too extended out financially, get too much in debt, get yourself secure first. Then spend your time, the money that you spend, spend learning how to improve your skills, especially when you’re younger. That’s the big thing, is go to places, go to meetings, go to lectures where you will enhance your skills and develop those skills and then become, like I said, make yourself a little financially secure before you start getting too overextended in debt. I think that’s a huge issue right now given how expensive dental school is and how expensive setting up offices is and how expensive a lot of these toys are. That is really my biggest piece of advice.

Shaun Keating That is really awesome, it’s so true. These guys, just like me, I buy a better set of clubs thinking they’re better, it’s not making me any better, you should just practice on your game with your golf clubs you bought from Big 5 Sporting Goods and try to get better. The same thing with dentistry, if you could just learn and try to keep with a continuing education and get your skills down, you learn a lot of theory in school, but you don’t learn a lot of hand skills until you’re getting in the mouth. What do you think, like, you got different guys, you got your [Kois 31:11] guys and Spear and that’s kind of down on my end. You got your different guys, old guys down there with the [Pankeys 31:18] and that’s kind of more occlusion-type stuff. You’ve got a lot of different practice management guys coming out trying to work on your systems and protocols. Anything sticking out there, if you were a young guy, I don’t know, it’s 40 grand, 60 grand on some of these things for like a Kois thing but do you think there’s any that are kind of a little bit more legit than others? I don’t want to down anyone, but anything out there that kind of, if you’re going to invest in someone to help you practice better dentistry, any ideas of who’s up-and-coming?

Dr. John Kanca: I guess one of the avenues, I mean, certainly I think knowing how to bond teeth and do that is important, but I guess I would also push younger dentists into settling in on one center or another and learning occlusion well. Whether it could be Pankey, it could be Lane Ochi from downtown, I mean, there is somebody, Mike Melkers, and of course there’s Spear. You learn very nicely from all of them. I would recommend any of them. I think that that would be a good place also to focus on, starting with occlusion and learning that and then start building your way up. Then of course materials, you’ve got to know how to deliver the materials and put stuff in the mouth and make it stay, that’s important too. That’s kind of where I would have somebody focus.

Shaun Keating Yeah. What about on the occlusion, like Melkers, I’ve had him here before and different guys, but you know, unless you’re doing full rehabs and stuff, I mean, if you’re doing single dentistry, onesie-twosies, not a lot of bigger stuff. I mean, I’ve seen guys go take their courses and they’ve got to go buy a $3,000 SAM articulator and come back and they’re trying to use a fully adjustable articular on a three unit bridge and a quadrant. How many guys, really with the occlusion I know it’s important and condyles and setting the bite right and everything else, but how much of that occlusion is really going to come into play for your average Joe that is just doing onesie-twosies? I mean, is it that much important? Their occlusion is their occlusion is their occlusion. Unless you’re going to re-switch and re-program stuff, I’m not sure how much of that is really going to play into it. I know it’s important, but …

Dr. John Kanca: What I’m saying is to at least have an understanding of it. I agree with you totally that if you have somebody come into your practice and somebody is asymptomatic, they’re not having trouble, don’t go creating it.

Shaun Keating Yes.

Dr. John Kanca: If they’re not in trouble and you’ve got to do a crown, do a crown. I think that you might want to know whether or not you want to have a deep cusp-fossa relationship or a shallow relationship and you want to make sure there’s no parafunctional interferences in all your posterior work. You want to have a handle on what’s going on. You don’t have to do all of the expenses stuff, you’re right. Very few people, very few practices, very few places are going to be doing full mouth rehabs all of the time, but I think at least having a fundamental understanding of what’s going on could help you bail yourself out in cases, even simple cases where you’re not doing a whole lot of things but you run into some sort of a problem. I think you’d be able to find an answer to that with greater facility if you have a fairly good grasp of the fundamentals of occlusion, even if you’re not doing the big cases.

Shaun Keating Absolutely. I had it where my dentist, I had this little imprint bridge on my lower right, but we lost my back molar, the endo went bad and so we had to stick an implant in there. I was getting a little clicking in my ear because I was over collapsed and we had to actually build it up a little bit and there’s just a lot to that. A lot of people go around with some headaches and clicking and a good dentist, even if they’re going to go and just bond a composite on you to lift you up in certain ways to check you. It’s just such a lifesaving, such a beautiful thing that a dentist can take a patient out of pain and just feel better about their bites being a little bit off whack through time and through tooth loss and this and that. It’s an amazing thing. Occlusion is important, definitely, I’m sure, for a lot of guys, but a lot of guys don’t know enough of it I’m sure also.

What do you think about on all the digital stuff? The CEREC guys, I know you do a lot of, the CEREC guys are using your materials to bond with and stuff. What do you think about the impression taking? Do you think it’s going to really take off more or do you think we’ve still got some time before the masses? I mean, thinking it’s a 5, 10% thing down the line? I mean, the stuff has improved, you remember it back in the day how horrible the stuff was looking. The material is coming around better and stuff. What are your thoughts on that a little bit if I could ask?

Dr. John Kanca: I think ultimately, I think most if not all practices will be digital impression. I see that coming, and then sending the scans off to the lab for you guys to create stuff. I am still not convinced everybody’s going to be making their own crowns in offices, I just don’t see it. Occasionally you’ll see a few several practices maybe work around one unit to create something, but somebody’s got to do that. That’s the thing, is somebody’s got to do that stuff. I think most people are going to let you guys take care of that and create something for them rather than worry about bringing, having to create your own lab tech or you do it and you become your own lab tech and so on. I think digital impressions probably will become the norm, but I think that’s still a ways off because I think the software and hardware has to come down in price before that becomes realistically feasible.

Shaun Keating Absolutely. I think my first CAD-CAM machine was 100 grand and now they went down to 80, now they’re down to 25, 30 grand and you know, thank God for Roland. They still got the other companies out there, the bigger companies that are charging an arm and a leg and it’s too bad, you know, that they have to charge so much when the cost of goods, they just have to have such high margins, I hate that. Got to make 70% net margin on every dollar, it’s like, hey make a nickel on it, give it to the masses and don’t be so greedy. That ain’t going to happen, huh?

Dr. John Kanca: No.

Shaun Keating Johnny boy, man, it’s so good. We could go on forever. Tell me a little bit, the boys, you got two boys and a girl right?

Dr. John Kanca: I do.

Shaun Keating Yeah, they’re all grown now, huh?

Dr. John Kanca: They sure are. Both boys are attorneys, my daughter has a masters in elementary education, they’re all fully employed. My oldest works down in Bridgeport, he runs an office for one of the local firms down here. My second works in New York City, he’s an attorney for [inaudible 38:24] firm in New York. My daughter’s working for a school in Burlington, Connecticut right now. My oldest John, John got married last year.

Shaun Keating Congratulations! That’s so cool.

Dr. John Kanca: My daughter’s getting married in June, and she’s getting married on our 39th anniversary.

Shaun Keating That’s so good! You have a wife that stick with you for 39 years? That’s the best accomplishment you have, I think!

Dr. John Kanca: It is probably the single best accomplishment of my life.

Shaun Keating I say that too for my, I’m more on 33 years, but Shannon, the best thing I ever did, not even the kids, it was probably the wife, my marriage now.

Dr. John Kanca: You are also a very lucky man.

Shaun Keating We’re very lucky and blessed, we are, for sure. Dr. Kanca, man, I just can’t thank you enough for taking your time out. I can’t thank you enough for all the work through all the years, man. I really would like, if we can somehow, get it to where you can come out here once or twice a year and we can do any kind of program you want, man. You’ve got the stage and I’ll have a hundred people come in and watch you. It would be something, we’ve talked about it for years and I’m getting to the point now where I’m more about education, try to set ourselves a part. We all make teeth as dental labs and we’ve got to help doctors to practice better and as a lab, I kind of want to do that and just try to help doctors to get through the day and try to practice a little bit more consistent just to help them out. I just think between, you know, you’re so known for all your bonding and cementation, all that stuff, but dude, if the people could just see your work and your preps and just the sound, solid work, and I think that’s why you demand excellence from us, because you just are so good.

I’m not just blowing smoke up your you know what, it’s true, I see a lot of dentistry here and I’ve seen a lot of dentistry. When I see a Kanca case, my eyes just kind of get big and my pupil and I say, “We’re on top of this, right guys,” and their eyes are all big too going, “Yes we are.” I always look at you like Bill Belichick, you’ve been on that team a long time. You kind of look like him, too. He demands excellence and there’s no nonsense when it comes game time. Then off of game time, nicest guy in the world, but when it comes game time, you’re all business. You made me a better lab and I just, I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart and all that you’ve done and all you’ve helped me.

I think our paths still haven’t come to really where it’s meant to be, and I think it’s … If I can get you out here educating a little bit and fly you out and we could go golf, I know you love golf, and I’m a golfer now too, I’m not a good one, but we’ve got some really good courses here and we can get you on that. Bring your boys on out, we can get them out fishing or with my boys, they’re pretty similar in age, Kyle and Travis are, heck, it’s hard to believe I’ve got 30 and 32 year old boys now, man. It’s like what the heck.

Dr. John Kanca: Amazing, huh?

Shaun Keating They’ll be taking care of me before they know it. Little do they know come 60, I’m going to be trying to bite my ear, or who knows, hopefully not. Dude, I just wanted to thank you so much Dr. Kanca and we’re going to wrap this up. Anything you want to say on a note here?

Dr. John Kanca: Yeah. I want to congratulate your IT man Eric and finally getting us together here. I also want to mention Bobby Brandon who I think is a tremendous asset to your life, I mean, he’s just a really, really great guy to work with and he has been as long as I’ve known him. I just wanted to make sure we’ve mentioned that. At some point, maybe we should do this again and talk about a couple of the different things that you have, some of the services you offer and types of crowns and how they’re handled and how they’re properly inserted. I’d be happy to do that.

Shaun Keating I would love to do that, man, I really would. I don’t really, kind of, we don’t really have a script here, but if we could, yeah, dude. You know my products as good as anybody if not better and how best to use them. You really have been a teacher for us and if we could do something like that, that’d be great, just to talk about some different products in different cases and how you would put it in and what you would do, and even what burs you’re using, what depth bur and what bur to start your preps off. Just little things like that. If you want to help me organize something like that and a little agenda on it I’m all for it. I think it would be great. I know a lot of doctors would love to hear that and I know a lot of dentists love to hear from you anyways, but you’re just really a great dentist. I just can’t thank you enough, John.

Dr. John Kanca: I am still with you Shaun after all these years, you must have some skills there as well.

Shaun Keating Thank you man, so much. I wish you were here, dude, it’s time to go. It’s 11:30 here, I’m ready to go have lunch, I can’t throw one back until a couple of hours but I thank you-

Dr. John Kanca: We’re getting close but not quite there yet either. It’s five o’clock somewhere.

Shaun Keating That’s it, baby. Dr. Kanca, thanks so much again for coming on our podcast here and we’ll talk to you real soon!

Dr. John Kanca: All right, Shaun. You have a good one.

Shaun Keating Thanks man. Bye-bye!

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