Our guest this week is Dr. Jennifer McClanahan, DMD. She is dedicated to providing exceptional patient care by keeping up to date with the latest research, technologies, and advancements in dentistry. She is a graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Dental Medicine.
Dr.McClanahan currently practices from Reno, Nevada
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen. This is the dental up podcast, brought to you by Keating Dental Lab, a full service award winning dental laboratory. Each week you’ll learn tips and techniques from real world dentists bringing you in depth interviews, motivating stories, current events, and sports. Here’s your host, Shaun Keating.
Shaun Keating: Hey everyone. Shaun here. Welcome to another episode of the Dental up Podcast. Our guest this week is dedicated to providing exceptional patient care by keeping up to date with the latest research, technologies and advancements in dentistry. She’s a graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she received her bachelor of science in biology and her doctorate of dental medicine. Practicing from Reno, Nevada, please welcome Dr Jennifer McClanahan, DMD. How’s it going, Dr McClanahan?
Dr. McClanahan: I’m good, thank you.
Shaun Keating: I know how busy you are. I know we got only a little bit of time on your lunch, but man, I can’t thank you enough for your time and just taking your time out of your lunch to come and talk a little bit about your journey in dentistry. So, I always start off a little bit talking about sports real quick and I know you guys got a stadium being built out there?
Dr. McClanahan: In Vegas, we do.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. How far are you from Vegas now?
Dr. McClanahan: So Reno is about a seven hour drive from Las Vegas. So it’s closer latitude wise to San Francisco and Vegas is closer to Los Angeles. Yeah, people often think we’re closer together than we are.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I’m a knucklehead, I should have noticed that (laughs). So what about with you with sports, you like anything going on, football or baseball or anything like that?
Dr. McClanahan: I can’t say I’m a diehard football fan, but I do enjoy it. My husband’s really into it and my family, it gives us reason to get together. Growing up in Vegas we didn’t have a lot of sports teams. I was born in Houston though, so football was a big part of my life when I was little. My husband’s a Raiders fan, so I jumped on that bandwagon and it just so happens they are going to be in Vegas, which is good because I can go down there when I visit my parents and check out the game.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. That’s so cool. I go to Vegas, me and my wife every once in a while, but just flying in and seeing it being built. It’s kind of crazy. And then on the other aspect to coming into LA, you got that stadium being built by the Forum for the Rams and the Chargers. So pretty neat. I’m a big football nut too. I was watching that game last night, did a double header on Monday night football. So they had two games and they had the Jets playing and heck, that first quarterback is a rookie, threw an interception the first play.
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah that was a very boring game.
Shaun Keating: It was, like what the heck. And then the Rams came on later. It’s like they didn’t come on until like 7:30. But man, watching that first series, Oakland came, throw the ball the way down and scored. And then the Rams came out and three plays they had a punt, and I’m like, what the heck? And I’m kind of an early bird going to sleep. So I kind of went to bed at half time and woke up, my wife’s going, “You’re not going to believe it. They won.” I’m like, “Yay!” Kinda cool.
I’m glad it’s started up again and we can, give us something to do and watch the football and see how the teams are going to do. I’m looking forward to the Rams doing good.
But, well I’ll shut up about sports and let’s dental up. So tell me, doctor, why did you get into dentistry and at what point did you think “I want to be a dentist?”
Dr. McClanahan: So this question, obviously I’ve been asked so many times, it’s not really anything super inspiring. I didn’t know I wanted to be a dentist until I was actually a senior in college. I just knew growing up, I grew up, my mom flew for Pan Am, my parents got divorced very young, so we lived with our grandparents and at a very young age I was kind of brainwashed to go to college and have a career, like to be a doctor or doctor, or a lawyer, dentist wasn’t really in there. My mom never finished college. So I kinda just went on this track to have a career and be able to be independent, take care of myself. And medicine, I’ve always been fascinated with medicine. So I got into that and got on the track for premed. It wasn’t until you obviously have to do a lot of hours at the hospital volunteering, getting into it, which is great and I think it’s really good that they do that because that’s what made me realize that I really didn’t want to be a doctor.
I got all the way through and I’m finally in my senior year and I’m studying for the MCAT and I’m working with all these doctors and thinking this is really depressing, and you can’t make an impact really quickly and a lot of it’s patient compliance. So I decided to switch tracks. I was already doing some research and I thought about maybe becoming a professor, just getting into research. My advisor suggested dentistry and so I shadowed some dentists. I thought, I really liked this. I love working with my hands and it has the medical component and I kind of feel like I was fated to be a dentist because I love it and I feel like I’m good at it. Glad I’m here.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. What about with college, how was it going to dental school? Any positive things that you remember? Any things that kind of just bugged the heck out of you?
Dr. McClanahan: Dental school, I mean, it’s like going through hell, I’m sure most professional programs are. I met my husband there, we didn’t date until three weeks before and we often joke like if we got together earlier we probably would have broke up just because it’s so stressful. You meet a lot of really good friends, you know, meet a lot of people you don’t like. It’s an environment where you just kind of see everybody in their best and their worst situations. So you kind of know everybody really well and get out and know who they are as a person. But I did make some really good friends. I have some friends that live up here in Reno and still a couple in Vegas and I’m good friends with their wives and things like that. So it was an overall very good experience. And they teach you how to deal with stress. I think they try to break you on purpose so that you can deal with that in your practice.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. Your husband, did he go to dental school or he was just going to college there?
Dr. McClanahan: He went to dental school with me. So he actually went to undergrad at the University of Nevada, here in Reno. His Dad’s a dentist in Fallon, Nevada, which is about an hour east of Reno. And he went to [inaudible 00:06:28] dental school and that’s where we met.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. So is he practicing at a different practice than you or is he practicing with [inaudible 00:06:34]
Dr. McClanahan: He does, he practices in Sparks at Champagne Family Dental and he’s been there since we graduated. We graduated in 2011, and he started there right out of school, and I started here at this practice, January of 2012.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. What a trip. That’s cool how you guys kinda, you’re both in it, man. I got some guys that are husband and wife teams and it can kind of get at you, working, seeing them every day in and day out. But Sometimes it works good.
Dr. McClanahan: I can imagine. I think we could probably do it, but we both like where we are and it’s nice to have your separate lives so we just stick with it.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. How cool is that? So tell me about the practice you’re working at now, when you, I think you kind of start off in like Austin, Texas, didn’t you, after graduating and spend some time practicing in Austin. Tell me a little bit about that. I got some friends out in Austin, man, it’s pretty cool place.
Dr. McClanahan: It is, it’s a cool place. So I was born in Houston and I have a lot of family in Houston. My sister’s there and I’m really close with my sister. So in dental school, it was kind of my goal to end up back in Texas afterwards. Like I said, my husband and I, we knew each other, but at the time, we really didn’t start dating until three weeks before school was out and I already had this job lined up in Austin. I said, I’m going, I’m not going to change my plans. It seems really silly. We were just flying back and forth, seeing each other and it got to the point where somebody had to move and if you know anyone from northern Nevada, you know that they never leave here, so it was me that had to make the move. And I did and it was a great move, it was the best thing I ever did.
One of our friends that works up here, knew that a dentist, he was an associate for another dentist here and he was moving back to Elko and she was pregnant so she needed somebody as she was going to have to be on maternity leave soon, and I sent over my resume, set up an interview when I got back into town and I started working here, for the first time place that I interviewed at and put in my resume and I got the job and I love working here.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. You’ve Been there for a few years now, five or six?
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah, six and a half. It’ll be seven in January.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome. So tell me a little bit about the layout of the practice. How many doctors are working it and how many ops you got going, tell me a little bit about that if you could.
Dr. McClanahan: So there’s two doctors. The owner is Monica Lee. She was a graduate from USC in 1999. She’s the one that hired me, I’m still an associate. So just the two of us. We have five operatories. We’re not a big practice but we are very busy, which is good. We’re booking out until about March right now for new patients with cleanings.
Shaun Keating: Oh you’re kidding, that’s so awesome.
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah, it’s good.
Shaun Keating: Booked out til March. It’s only September!
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah [inaudible 00:09:25] a little more available, so we’re not crazy. But yeah, we just, because we’re only five operatories, we have pretty much three full time hygienists working and then we each have a chair so we just work really efficiently. And then that’s how we have to do it.
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome. What do you think someday about maybe start your own thing? Or maybe you and the hubby do it? Or you kinda like it the way it is right now?
Dr. McClanahan: Well, nothing is ever off the table. We’re both in really good relationships with our jobs right now. I’ve had jobs in the past and you never know what’s going to happen with relationships, so we never take anything off the table. But as of now we’re very happy where we are.
Shaun Keating: That’s cool. I remember going to Reno, we fly into Reno and then we drive to Lake Tahoe. Are you close to Lake Tahoe at all or no?
Dr. McClanahan: We are, my office is actually on the northwest side of Reno, and so we’re about 25 minutes from Truckee. Maybe 30, 40 minutes from Tahoe. And then I actually live down south. So we’re really close to Mt Rose and [inaudible 00:10:33] about 30 minutes.
Shaun Keating: No kidding, they’ve got the greatest ski resort.
Dr. McClanahan: That’s one of the best things about Reno, the accessibility to Tahoe. It’s beautiful.
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely. So tell me what kind of procedures do you like doing and what don’t you like doing in dentistry? Do you like crown preps, do you do endo, tell me a little bit about what you like and what you don’t like.
Dr. McClanahan: Honestly I do a little bit of everything. I don’t place implants but I do surgery as far as extractions, immediate dentures. I’ll do some [inaudible 00:11:01] removal, [inaudible 00:11:02]. I do mostly fillings and crown and bridge though, mostly restorative. I do some removables. I do restore implants. Some removables, implant retained removable stuff. I do root canals, I don’t do molars anymore. I did a couple of out of school but it’s just not really worth your time investment. So I refer those out.
But I would say I don’t really have a favorite. It just really depends on the case. I like doing fillings. I like making a difference like in an hour and just fixing a hole in a tooth or fixing a broken tooth. I like the reward, the instant gratification of dentistry, that’s probably the best thing about it because you can make people happy in thirty minutes, fix a problem for them, educate them. That’s just something you can’t do in a lot of jobs.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. And especially too, when we start doing some of those cosmetic anterior cases, just the way their face lights up and just the joy and you really can change a person’s whole appearance and attitude. It’s the neatest thing in the world, man.
Dr. McClanahan: It is.
Shaun Keating: So what’s been your guys’ marketing strategy there? I mean, do you do social media? You work in the public sector. Tell me a little bit about that if you could.
Dr. McClanahan: So right now we just go basically off of patient referral and then people find us on their insurance plans. We don’t do a lot of outside marketing anymore. I know that my boss, when she started, we would do mailers, and we still go to occasionally some of the vendor fairs and things like that around. We’re close to a Dell web community. So we go up there, things like that. Just getting out, meeting the pharmacists in town, getting to know everybody. But mostly now because we’re a smaller office and we’re getting busier, most of our marketing is just from patient referral, which is the best way to do it.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. And it’s free. You just take care of your patients, treat them good, do good work, and they’ll tell people. And look at, you guys are so busy. Next thing you gotta do is just raise prices. That’ll calm it down a little bit. Time to raise prices.
Dr. McClanahan: Well we do take a lot of insurance so your hands are tied with that. What we think about is providing good service to the community and that’s really our goal. With people who have insurance, you know, they work hard every day and do their job, they deserve to have good dentistry too.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely, you sound like a saint, Dr McClanahan. McClanahan from Ireland. Are you Irish, I take it?
Dr. McClanahan: I’m a little of everything, actually.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. I heard your husband’s going hunting this weekend and you’re going out to Vegas with mom?
Dr. McClanahan: My mom’s coming here from Vegas. So I’ll be here but yeah, my husband’s going hunting.
Shaun Keating: No kidding, well girl you’ve got to take her down to Reno, they’ve got casinos there, baby, that’s pretty fun.
Dr. McClanahan: We don’t really spend much time in the casinos, it’s not really my scene. The gambling. I’ve worked in a lot of them, I know the people, you know they’re built, they’re so beautiful because people don’t win all the time.
Shaun Keating: Oh, I know. Me, I’m not a big gambler anymore. I used to love it, play blackjack, and now me and my wife go, I might play for 20 minutes out of a two day trip. The whole thing with me is just the attractions, the activities, the different shows, shopping, go to Caesars. It’s just really neat to … I don’t know.
Dr. McClanahan: So much to do.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, and the food is so fricking good. I’m a big eater. I’m just a foodie and man, I just love going to-
Dr. McClanahan: That’s something I miss the most about Vegas, is the food. They’re getting better in Reno, they have, they’ve really improved since I’ve been here the last seven years. But they have a long way to go. It was nice. You could just go anywhere and have a really great meal. The best food in the world.
Shaun Keating: What do they call Reno, the biggest little city or something?
Dr. McClanahan: That’s it. Biggest Little City.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. Yeah, we used to do this thing, my friend owned a pizza parlor over in Irvine where our kids grew up and we lived. And he’d do it once a year, we’d do a bus, we’d get a bus, like a tour bus and get like 40 of us guys and we’d do a trip down to Reno, man. It’s like what the heck? And we’d go and we’d be back the same day. We’d come back that night. I remember one year I went there and literally we left at like six in the morning, got there like noon and by 12:30, I was out of money. It’s like what happened?
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah, that can happen.
Shaun Keating: And I’m like, man, let’s get outta here dude. I had to wait till like 8:00 at night before we left and got home at one. But yeah, that gambling, that’s the reason those things are all built, all those beautiful shiny buildings because the people, money man. Gambling can be, a lot of people have issues with gambling. My mom and dad they taught me, you know, when you go to Vegas or you go to go gambling, you bring the money that you expect to lose and if you lose it you don’t get anymore, and you just got to go with that attitude. And I’ve always done that. You bring 500 bucks and if you lose it … You don’t have expectations.
Dr. McClanahan: Think of them as expensive arcades, don’t have expectations to win. That’s a healthy was to [crosstalk 00:16:43]
Shaun Keating: Exactly. And I’ve always, because you know, too many people, “I need this, I’m spending my rent,” or this, no, you go there there with what you expect to lose and if you have that mindset you’ll be fine. But that’s just … Certain people are wired differently then they’re like trying to sell their first born, “Man, I need it, need to get the baby diapers!” And it’s like, no dude, you should have stopped way ahead. But yeah, I had a couple of friends who just, a little bit too much into that. But it is what it is.
So tell me a little bit about CE. What do you do for continuing education? Do you do any conventions? Tell me a little bit about that.
Dr. McClanahan: Yes, I do go to some conventions. I’m actually a standing member of the Nevada AGD board, which is the Academy of General Dentistry. So we, me and the two other board members, we organize CE here in Reno. There isn’t a lot that comes through, you know, there’s a lot that goes to Vegas and a lot in San Francisco and things like that. But, so we put together probably about five, six months out of the year, monthly meetings and we bring in speakers and just have a CE here that we do.
And also I’m in the ADA, NNDF which is the northern Nevada chapter. The northern Nevada ADA chapter also has monthly dental meetings. So another way to get CE. And then obviously the big conventions every year I try to go every few years. And that’s pretty much how I get CE. And I do a lot of just online magazine ones too.
Shaun Keating: What’s the latest piece of equipment that you guys purchased at your practice?
Dr. McClanahan: We just got a new intraoral camera.
Shaun Keating: Oh beautiful.
Dr. McClanahan: But we’ve had some in the past. So nothing new, just a little nicer.
Shaun Keating: There’s nothing like showing them cracked amalgams and kind of going in the mouth. I remember way back in the day when those came out and going in there and my dentist showing me, “Shaun look at all these amalgams,” those Navy dentists put it in your mouth back when you’re a youngin’ and they’re just cracking that whole enamel all the way down.
Dr. McClanahan: They are really neat and we do a full set for every new patient too. And it’s good for us just to have a baseline too of what their teeth look like so we can follow things as time goes by. A lot of people are like, “Wow, I didn’t know that my teeth looked like that.” Or you can show them the plaque on their teeth, stuff like that, that they think, they swear they’re brushing properly. You’re like, “Oh, you’re missing this spot,” and they’re like, “Oh.”
Shaun Keating: “I can see that.”
Dr. McClanahan: So it’s a great tool.
Shaun Keating: It really is. It’s kind of neat with the new scanners they’ve got for impressions, you can go in the mouth and kind of show it to them in a 3D format and kinda tilt their head around. So, down the line I can see you guys may be getting into some of that. Have you thought about any impression scanners or any kind of-
Dr. McClanahan: We have, I prefer old fashioned impressions. I know a couple people who’ve used the scanners. They seem like they have their learning curves as well.
Shaun Keating: Oh they do.
Dr. McClanahan: I just feel like, you have something that works. I have very little adjustments to do on my crowns with the way I do impressions, and the patients don’t seem to mind. We have quick setting materials now. They don’t taste terrible. So I just don’t really see a reason to switch. I actually talked to some lab techs that said they oftentimes will pour out the dye anyways. So if they’re having to go through stuff of pouring it out just to scan it, I don’t know, it doesn’t seem very …
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I’ve been doing your work for a while now and I’m looking at a case [inaudible 00:20:24] number 5, pre molar, and you had some sweet impressions man, they’re very crisp.
Dr. McClanahan: Well, thank you.
Shaun Keating: So it does work and that’s the way we’ve been doing it, man, but nice wash and just freaking real crisp on the margin and yeah man, let’s just keep doing what you’re doing baby because it’s good. How did you hear about our lab? How are we doing as lab? We’re doing okay for you?
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah. You’re doing a great job. I actually first heard about you at one of the ADA conventions in, I think that one was in San Francisco. I think. It was a few years ago. We’d been working with another lab a lot and they were doing a good job for a while and then they got bought out by a much larger corporate lab and things were just getting a little iffy and the quality wasn’t consistent. So I had all of your information still and just decided to try you out and ended up switching over. And then my husband really loves Dental Town and he said that you were also mentioned as a favorite lab. So, I mean this was after I switched, but.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, love your husband too. Is that dude sending me any work, we gotta get his work!
Dr. McClanahan: Yeah, he does send you stuff.
Shaun Keating: Oh that’s so cool.
Dr. McClanahan: We just have different last names.
Shaun Keating: Oh okay. We’ll have to get him on a podcast too man. I’d like to pick that guy’s brain, especially when he’s gonna do shoot this weekend. What’s he hunting for?
Dr. McClanahan: He’s hunting for deer, muzzle or tag.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. McClanahan: Kind of the old School way of doing it. He does all the weird tags so he can actually get them, he does archery and muzzleloader rifle.
Shaun Keating: Oh man, that’s so cool. It’s kind of like Ted Nugent. Ted Nugent does that bow and arrow stuff and he’s a total hunter. I’m sure he’s not like Ted, doesn’t look like, Ted Nugent’s old too. [crosstalk 00:22:24] Hey, Cat Scratch Fever baby, he’s a rock and roll dude. That’s what I grew up with. That kind of ages me there, you know. But that’s so cool.
So what kind of advice, I know you’re kind of new out, but you’ve been in the trenches for a while now. What kind of advice could you give some of our newer dentists that are just starting out?
Dr. McClanahan: Basic advice is just treat people well and don’t let people treat you poorly. I feel like that’s the biggest thing, and as far as that goes, jobs, patients, don’t let them walk all over you, but it’s really easy to get kind of pushed around, especially when you’re a new grad and you have tons of debt, by office managers and things like that. You just have to try to make good decisions. It’s hard sometimes, not to make good decisions, but to not get pressured a lot when you’re relying on your job. But remember that the best thing in quality of life and happiness is just to feel good about what you do every day. And to make sure that people are treating you well too.
Shaun Keating: It’s the golden rule, always treat people how you want to be treated. But then I’ve never really heard it say, well, make sure that they’re treating you well because sometimes it’s, you know, you’re working with people. It’s tough, there can be some cranky people, a lot of people are kind of cranky and some can be miserable a little bit. But to hold your own against that, you know, it’s got to be a tough thing.
Dr. McClanahan: Sometime you need to let them know and especially with patients, a lot of times they will respond very well and change their behavior.
Shaun Keating: Hey, I just want to thank you so much for coming on board to podcast this week and if there’s anything we can do-
Dr. McClanahan: Thank you for inviting me.
Shaun Keating: Anytime. And you know, you and your husband gotta, when you’re in southern California man, you gotta come by the lab and see your techs and you know, we’d love to take care of you, send you over to Disneyland, send you out to the beach. Whatever you guys want to do. We’d love to have you guys out. We appreciate all the work and everything that you guys send and you know, if there’s anything we can do, please let us know.
Dr. McClanahan: Okay, well thank you.
Shaun Keating: Alright Dr McClanahan, have a great day-
Dr. McClanahan: You too.
Shaun Keating: And have a great weekend with your mom this weekend.
Dr. McClanahan: I appreciate that. Thank you.
Shaun Keating: Alright, doctor. Thanks a lot. We’ll talk to you real soon.
Dr. McClanahan: Bye bye.
Shaun Keating: Bye bye.
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