On this week’s episode of the Dental Up Podcast, we have the honor of having Dr. Felicia Fontenot, DDS stop by and chat about being the first Mescalero Apache Dentist and how it’s important for her to apply her Public Health Skills to create a wide-scale Oral Healthcare Prevention Programs for Native Communities.
In this episode you will learn about:
– What motivated Dr.Fontenot to pursue a career in Dentistry.
-What it means for her to be the first Mescalero Apache Dentist.
– Dr. Fontenot talks more in-depth on why it’s important for her to give back to the community that watched her grow.
Learn more about Dr. Felicia Fontenot, DDS by clicking here: http://caih.jhu.edu/training/scholars/dr-felicia-frizzell-dds-mhs
Learn more about the Mescalero Apache Tribe by clicking here: https://mescaleroapachetribe.com
Host: 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 grew up on the Mescalero Apache reservation in New Mexico. She graduated from the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in 2011 as the first Mescalero Apache dentist. Her vision is to reduce the high burden of oral health disease among native populations and to apply her public health skills to create widescale oral health care prevention programs for native children. Currently practicing from Ruidoso, New Mexico, please welcome Dr. Felicia Fontenot, DDS. How’s it going, Dr. Fontenot?
Dr. Fontenot: It’s good. It’s so nice to talk with you, Shaun, finally. It’s great.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. I know. We’ve been working a long time, man. We started way back and when … I remember this. I forgot if we found out each other in the Hinman Dental meeting many years ago … I think it was the Hinman in Atlanta, but it was the Indian Health Services. Tell me a little bit about that. That’s where we first met, right? Wasn’t it you worked there?
Dr. Fontenot: Well, I haven’t met you, but I believe you did get to meet our director at that time.
Shaun Keating: Yes, that’s what I meant.
Dr. Fontenot: After I graduated, I started working for the Navajo Nation in Fort Defiance, Arizona. So it’s a hospital-based dental practice called Tsehootsooi Medical Center. There’s 24 operatories … When I was there, there was about 13 dentists, a couple of pediatric dentists, and endodontists, and the general dentists. We’re looking for an awesome lab because the lab we had was not cutting it.
Shaun Keating: (laughing) Oh my.
Dr. Fontenot: It was terrible. I chose that job specifically because I didn’t want to lose my crown prep and bridge skills after graduation. And a lot of times in public health, you’re limited to your practice where you can only do restorative dentistry with fillings, cusp protective amalgams, extractions and removable. I chose that job because we could do fixed cases, so that was really good.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. That was just really neat, man … Cuz it was pretty huge in Cowan. I mean, we did quite a bit of work and then I think you went off on your own. But before we get started with all that, I always like to start off real quick about sports-
Dr. Fontenot: Oh, yes.
Shaun Keating: I know you’re a big Stanford person and how that all happened. So did you go college? Tell me a little bit about Stanford then.
Dr. Fontenot: I’m a proud 2003 Stanford graduate and we just had our reunion homecoming. So we flew in Thursday … and I met my best friend at Stanford … My husband, my son, we met with her. We went to the Stanford football game. They were playing the other team-
Shaun Keating: Washington State.
Dr. Fontenot: Cougars. Yeah, the other team. And it was such a close game. It was really exciting. Unfortunately, they didn’t pull it off, but it was really good.
Shaun Keating: Oh, yeah. Actually, they play Stanford… I thought Washington State lost 12 to 10 or something, and I thought they were playing you guys, Stanford, this week, but maybe I’m wrong. I just know that Stanford always has a really good football team and they always kind of give the UFC a tough time in that [inaudible 00:03:49]. Stanford’s some of the smartest people in the world, man. I’ve got some friends that went to Stanford and they’re … it’s a big thing for alumni with Stanford. It didn’t matter if you graduated 60 years ago or 10 years ago.
Dr. Fontenot: Exactly.
Shaun Keating: They stick together. What a fraternity of people there! Hats off to Stanford. We got a little world series … You watch any of the Dodgers and Red Sox, man?
Dr. Fontenot: No, I hate baseball.
Shaun Keating: (laughing) It’s boring, man.
Dr. Fontenot: I love football. That’s my thing. I should say, my husband’s thing, too. He’s from Louisiana. Back in the Stanford game, we were covered by watching the Saints versus Vikings, and that was great. Hopefully, the Saints will ruin the Rams’ streak this weekend-
Shaun Keating: (laughing) They probably will.
Dr. Fontenot: So, so much to them.
Shaun Keating: You know, that coach of theirs, Shaun, he’s such a great coach and he’s the real deal, for sure. Yeah, the Rams … I mean, It’s pretty great here in Southern Cal where we’ve got Lebron with the Lakers, although they’re like two wins and five losses. He’s losing his patience already a little bit after last night’s game. But it’s just neat to have the excitement back there. Then the Dodgers got spanked, but, you know, hey, we’re in the World Series-
Dr. Fontenot: Oh, yeah.
Shaun Keating: …two years in a row at least. It’s just something. So, yeah, I kind of love the sports, but football’s my game, too.
Dr. Fontenot: Okay, yeah.
Shaun Keating: Like baseball … The only game the Dodgers won, it was the longest game in history. Over seven and a half hours.
Dr. Fontenot: Oh goodness.
Shaun Keating: And it’s like, a baseball game or any sport should be limited to like two hours.
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah. (laughing)
Shaun Keating: It’s kind of like a Vegas show, man. They’re good for about an hour, hour and a half-
Dr. Fontenot: Sounds terribly boring.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. I had season seats for the Angels for years, and we just kind of got rid of them last couple of years ago. Just because it’s kind of boring. I mean, it’s just that they lost the … You know, they’re just so long and drawn out. Not a lot of excitement with hitting and stuff like that. I like more action instead of these dual one-nothing games, or two to one.
Dr. Fontenot: For sure. Oh yeah.
Shaun Keating: It’s like … man, come on. It’s like watching grass grow. Come on! You can only have so much hot dogs and beers after a while. [inaudible 00:05:57] Somebody hit somebody or something … but it’s baseball. I think they need to juice the ball a little bit or something. Get it back in so that the ball’s flying out like it was 60-70 homeruns years ago with Sosa and Mark McGwire…[inaudible 00:06:14] Barry Bonds. Bobby Bonds, was his dad. I miss those days of just Bonds, home runs, and you know…
Dr. Fontenot: It sounds a lot more exciting.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. But these 3 to 4 hour games, man, they get long. It’s pretty cool. Alright. Well, heck. Let’s Dental Up here, Doctor.
Dr. Fontenot: Sure.
Shaun Keating: Tell me now, why did you get into dentistry and at what point did you think, “I want to be a dentist”?
Dr. Fontenot: That’s funny, because I always wanted to be a doctor.
Shaun Keating: Okay.
Dr. Fontenot: I was for sure I was going to be a physician, but everyone kept telling me, “I think you would be a really good dentist because you just like teeth.” And I absolutely did. I love looking at my own teeth. Whenever I would meet people I would assess their teeth. But I thought, that’s really a cosmetic thing. I want to do something medical or clinical, so I’m going to be a physician.
Dr. Fontenot: After I graduated from Stanford, I went to the Johns Hopkins School of Public, and it was there that I learned that native Americans have the highest rate of oral health disease in the country among all ethnicities and that native American children have the highest rate of dental caries. That’s when I realized that it’s not just a cosmetic thing … that what’s going on in your mouth is connected to your whole systemic health and this is an excellent career. And there’s not that many native American dentists. In fact, there’s less than 300 of us. We have just the low, low, low rates of providers in our area, so I thought, I can make a much larger difference being a dentist than being a physician and I’d still be a doctor. Also, I just love working with my hands, making things, bead-work, painting, sewing … it was a natural fit for me then.
Dr. Fontenot: November is National Native American Heritage Month, so it’s a time when organizations are doing more to help educate the public and just really celebrate our culture. I think if people were more interested they could look into what was going, especially at the Smithsonian, the National Museum of the American Indian … Even though it’s a museum, it’s a living place where tribes still go and meet and represent our culture.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. That’s awesome. I tell you, when my kids were young … our boys are older now … but I was in the Indian Guides and learned a lot of stuff then. Like, I always remember the same thing we said, “To seek and preserve the beauty of the forest, field, and stream” That was just a big thing. The forest, the field, and the stream. It was neat. We were the mighty Iroquois. It was just like … I remember when we got that dental practice there. And it was just an honor to do what we did and all the restorations and stuff … To have you now. So you’ve left there … Now, tell me a little bit about with college. How did that work out? I mean, for you to go to Stanford, man … it’s hard to even get in there, so you had to be super, super smart. Most dentists are. A lot of biology and chemistry and all that stuff. What did you do going to college? Where did you go to college? Tell me a little bit about your journey there, if you could, doctor.
Dr. Fontenot: I’m the first in my family to go and complete college. I really just felt that I was strongly encouraged by my parents, by my family, by my tribe. We’re a Machalinial tribe so women are always encouraged to do whatever they believe is possible. So I had no doubt that I could leave and be successful, but when I got there, it was different because it’s hard to have … there’s not that many role models because there’s not that many people who have made it through … There are some … And so it was challenging. The first year really was difficult. I thought I was well-prepared. I came from a public school and I had to learn a lot my freshman year my college to just catch up with all the chemistry and, you know, the calculus, on top of all the reading for the humanities and the writing.
Shaun Keating: I can imagine.
Dr. Fontenot: So it was a challenge, but I stuck the course and I was really lucky that Stanford has a strong Stanford American Indian organization. So I had people there that I could turn to and they knew where I was coming from and they were also doing the same thing. Some of my classmates, they’re doing fantastic things in their lives and their careers now. After graduating from college, I wasn’t quite ready to apply to medical school yet. I wanted to retake some courses, and I was able to get a job at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health in Baltimore. And at that time, while I was working, I also did a master’s in health science there at the School of Public Health. That really helped solidify my science background so that I could be an excellent candidate for dental school.
Shaun Keating: Okay.That’s so cool. It’s so tough to be a dentist. As I hear all these doctors that I talk to on podcasts, just about their education and what they have to go through, it’s quite the challenge. I just don’t know how-
Dr. Fontenot: It’s a journey.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, it really is.
Dr. Fontenot: And the dental school isn’t easy.
Shaun Keating: No, I couldn’t imagine.
Dr. Fontenot: I thought, I’ll be fine. I went to Stanford and Johns Hopkins. Dental school will be easy. But it’s different. Different environment, and the clinical skills are like nothing you’ve ever done before. And then I didn’t come from a family of dentists, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect, even though I had done some shadowing. A lot of my classmates were very well-prepared because they had come from families of dentists and they had known they wanted to be dentists since they were young.
Shaun Keating: No kidding. That’s amazing. What an amazing story for you to go through. First in the family, too, and all that to finish college and to be a doctor like this. That’s so neat. So, how long did you work at the … how can I put this-
Dr. Fontenot: The Navajo nation?
Shaun Keating: Yeah, the Navajo … how long did you work there before you went out and started … now, did you start at your own practice or associate after that? Why don’t we start at the beginning on where you worked and tell me a little bit about that.
Dr. Fontenot: When I was in dental school, I was an Indian Health Services scholar, so that helped me tremendously. They paid for my education, but in return, I had to give them years of service. At that time, at graduation, I couldn’t specialize or do a residency, but I knew I wanted to work at Tsehootsooi Medical Center in Fort Defiance because I had visited the hospital before and it seemed like a great environment. In fact, it really felt like a residency because there were so many other dentists there that I could learn from and the things that we saw from the hospital were very interesting, very clinical. So I learned a lot within my first six months there. I ended up staying there for seven years. I worked my way up. I left as the deputy director of the program, but-
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome.
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah, although I am native American, and the tribe was extremely welcoming to me … they had been so good to me … I always felt a little sense of guilt that I wasn’t working for my own people … And my tribe actually did support me when I was in school through scholarship. So I wanted to come back and serve my own community, but I wanted to do so in a different way and to try something that hadn’t been done before, which was through private practice … to see what I could do so that I wouldn’t be just limited to fillings and extractions. Right now, I’m an associate. The owner dentist has a large group practice in a neighboring town called Alamogordo, and they just acquired a small office in Ruidoso. I asked if they were looking for a full-time dentist there, and they were. I just had the great fortune to be the solo dentist kind of running my own show in Ruidoso and seeing patients that I’ve known since I was a child. It’s really been-
Shaun Keating: How cool is that?
Dr. Fontenot: [crosstalk 00:14:06]
Shaun Keating: That’s so rewarding. That’s neat.
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah, it really has been rewarding. And you know, I don’t know what the future holds, but maybe someday I can work with my tribe so that we can develop our own community dental clinic like you suggested. The tribes in California are getting together … we have a casino … maybe we could use our revenue someday to build a really fantastic clinic for our people.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely! I would just think that that would be something they would think to be doing across all the nations of Indians in different states. I’m sure they have the medical practices. I would think they would get some dental programs out there. But I think with you being one of the first full Apache dentists … that’s neat… I think you’re a trailblazer! I think it’s something that is just really a neat thing. Gosh, I just know around here there’s several of them just within 40 miles of each other. It’s kind of like no one goes to Vegas anymore here in California because-
Dr. Fontenot: No need.
Shaun Keating: Oh yeah. We have Soboba, we have the Pechanga, we have the Pala … Yeah, it’s just amazing, and they’re just so nice. You go through the land to get there and there’s just tons of lands, tons of people, but I could see some dental offices there. Let’s give them all nice grills, man, and get their teeth looking Hollywood, baby!
Shaun Keating: Tell me a little bit on the layout of your practice. What do you got? A couple ops? Or tell me a little bit … how many ops you got, and what it’s like, and your practice, if you could.
Dr. Fontenot: We’re in an excellent location. We have this building that’s right next to the local hospital, so it’s really good for if there’s ever any emergencies. But this building has been a dental practice for many years … I don’t know … I’m not even sure how many dentists have been in it. But the owner dentist is fantastic. He remodeled it. Right now, I have four operatories. So, two for me, two for the hygienist … and then we also have one operatory that’s more of a clinical consultation room so it’s not a full operatory. So, I guess five, five work areas. At the back, we have a nice area for the staff and it’s a nice little place.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. That sounds awesome. What kinds of procedures do you like doing and what don’t you like doing? What do you like … say, hey I gotta send this send out [inaudible 00:16:45] … or stick in implants … tell me a little bit of what you like to do and what you don’t like to do.
Dr. Fontenot: Okay. So I really like doing oral surgery at the hospital. Often we were the only place where patients could go, so there were some extractions where we just had to it. We were the one who had to do it. So I feel pretty comfortable with oral surgery and alveoloplasty, tori removal, that kind of thing. That’s really fun. We had an endodontist and he helped us a lot improve our root canal skills, so I was routinely doing my own interior root canals. Now that I’ve entered private practice, I’ve attempted a few molars, but I like to refer those out sometimes.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. I hear you. Sometimes, it’s just easier. And you can sleep better at night.
Dr. Fontenot: The time, and just knowing that they had a specialist do the procedure. That makes me feel good that I can do the crown after that, no problem.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Fontenot: But knowing this is a sound root canal is a good feeling.
Shaun Keating: (laughing) Oh, I know. And even, too, you go in to some endodontists … sometimes root canals fail. It’s not a perfect science sometimes. It’s just … “It didn’t take, Shaun. Sorry, gotta extract and put an implant-” … Like what? Come on!
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah, I know. And in private practice, we had dental assistants who were advanced. They could place fillings. So coming to private practice, it’s been fun and rewarding for me to do multiple back-to-back composites. It’s just the art of the dentistry’s coming back. And now doing multiple units of crowns a day versus just doing one a week … that’s been really exciting to come back to. And the owner dentist, he likes to do a lot of full-mouth reconstructions and I’m excited to start doing some of those in the near future.
Shaun Keating: Let’s do it! Man, I’ll walk you through them.
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah, let’s do it.
Shaun Keating: Hey, it’s like connecting the dots, man. You can do three in a bridge, we can bring it around the horn … you don’t have to splint them all, we can break it up. It’s a neat thing. It’s just something that I know you’ll have no problem with that. That’s amazing, though, that … The sky’s the limit, man. You’re ready to do full-rehabs and everything else. You’re just so eager. I just love it, man. What’s your go-to crown? What do you like putting in the mouth mostly?
Dr. Fontenot: Well, the BruxZir is nice and easy. You just prep that. I’ve had some pretty strange preps and we still get a nice BruxZir on it. I’ve been really grateful … I’ve had a few patients with neurological disorders where they can’t hold still. They move around a lot. I’ve taken an impression where I haven’t been 100% confident in it, but that’s the best I can do. And Keating has always been able to give me a fantastic Bruxzir.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. Love that.
Dr. Fontenot: That’s been good. And then, in dental school, I used to like to do the Empress. They’re just so pretty. Emax … Those are always nice.
Shaun Keating: We still do them. I mean, not a whole lot, but we still actually do even Empress still in certain cases. There’s some old-school doctors that just love it. It’s just a different material, but now the Emax … with strength and aesthetics, matching the Emax, my Bruxzir … the Bruxzir aesthetic … the price, probably 30-40% cheaper, it’s a no-brainer, in a way. A lot of times, the darn things are just in the whole environment … they just blend in so nicely … the colors and stuff now and the strength is just unsurpassed, so that’s kind of neat thing there, for sure.
Shaun Keating: What about with … do you have to do any of your marketing there? What are you doing to drive patients? Do you guys do much mailers? Or you doing any social media? Tell me a little bit about that.
Dr. Fontenot: Yes, So when I came back home, I was really hoping that just being a local community member … I went to Ruidoso schools from kindergarten through 12th grade … that people would just want to come see me because I was a local. So, getting out there in social media to let people know that I’m back in the community. We’ve also done some mailers with photos of me and my family on the mailer. I’ve actually went to the country music radio station, and recorded a commercial. We did get some patients from that, and that was fun. Mostly the mailer. And, oh! Going to health fairs. People here love it if you’re actively involved in their communities, so we’ve gone to a health fair and we recruit patients that way. But it’s just nice to meet the other clinical providers here, not just dentists, but physical therapists, nurses, and just other people who are doing home healthcare. That’s been really rewarding. We’re having a business after-hours next month, so we’ll be inviting all the other local business owners to come into our practice and just share some snacks with us and learn about our practice.
Shaun Keating: Beautiful! That’s awesome. Maybe we could do some bleaching trays or something for you, some lightening, or help you out there. Maybe if you’ve got a football team or something, we could do some mouthguards for you to help out. Just let us know whatever we can do to help. Anything we can do to help you grow … the more I can help you grow, the better we grow, right? It’s in our best interest. I hope our dental practices grow. Obviously, good work has to be first and foremost, but anything else beyond that to help. Sometimes you get a patient out on their luck … We’ve got two teeth that their insurance can afford and they need four or five … Just let us know. Sometimes we gotta help them out. They’ve got seven and eight they need replaced but they also need nine, ten, and eleven. Probably six or … it’s easier for me, too, sometimes to do six instead of just two to try to match natural dentition-
Dr. Fontenot: To make everything beautiful.
Shaun Keating: It just looks like … I had my one friend, man. My friend’s father, he had his front two teeth … are just crowns. They’re kind of like they’re just really bad-looking [inaudible 00:22:56] from the 70s, and the color was just kind of a weird color. But his other teeth were super super yellow. So I kind of idealized it, gave him like an A2. I’m thinking we’re going to do a bleach, a rest … So we brought him to the doctor, and he looked [inaudible 00:23:14], “No, he ain’t bleaching this guy.” What? No, let’s just bleach him. And he’s like, “No, Chuck will never do it.” And we asked Chuck, and he said, “Naw, I ain’t going to bleach him. I like my yellow color.” So we had to redo him.
Dr. Fontenot: Oh no.
Shaun Keating: It looked like mahogany, man. It’s like a yellowish … You gotta do what you gotta do. Everything isn’t Hollywood toilet bowl white. I’m used to that a lot. We can characterize and make those teeth any color you want, really. But sometimes I just do want to do that. “Let’s just do the other ones with no charge.” But I want it to look good! They’re like, “Shaun, we can’t do that on every pitch.”
Dr. Fontenot: And then for all those dentists, it’s not that much extra time. We’ve already got the patient in the chair, and now we have all the instruments we need. Like, let’s go for it.
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Shaun Keating: I always tell this story with Howard Farran at Dental Town. He used to do six through eleven, and it was at $1,000 a thing, you know, a tooth. Didn’t have many patients come in the chair for it. I mean, it’s special. So what he did is he dropped down a $1,000, but he did it from four to 13. His thought was, it’s going to take him for those other four teeth probably another 20 minutes, 30 minutes if that, you know, to prep them and to see them another 30 minutes, if that even. He just figured it was only four or five hundred dollars more on the lab bill to add that extra incentive for the patient to go to the chair. He dropped it down because … even at $1,000 a tooth at six or 11, he’d get one or two people a month in the chair … where he dropped it down to $49.95 for eight teeth from a 4 to 13, so you’ve got the pre-molars included, and even if you just buckle veneer them, not doing full crown preps, it’s just for that buckle quarter to fill it out, for the smile line.
Shaun Keating: So it was a real genius thing that … it was in the slow time. It was back in ’08, ’09 that he was doing that. ’07, 08 … things were kind of going down with recession, but he had four people a week in that chair. Instead of one or two a month, he had four people grabbing at it. And he wasn’t making as much money, but he basically had a little over a $1,000 lab bill. Probably a couple thousand in overhead, but he’s making a grand or two still on each patient. That’s nothing to sneeze about. I just think some backers, they’re stuck on their prices and that. Sometimes you have to do things a certain way to fill the seats and to keep busy. He did that for a while. I don’t think they do it anymore because I don’t think they need to, but for a time … you’re the boss. You can do what you want.
Shaun Keating: At the end of the day, it’s just a little bit of time, like you said. A little bit of extra time to prep those teeth. So just a little bit of your time, and the same thing when these doctors are worried about doing a roundhouse or doing something on these bigger cases that it might fail. You know what? It might fail, but at the end of the day, if you have a lab that’s kind of working partner and partner with you, and you’re a pretty good person, you’re going to work it out with your lab. It’s going to be something that you’re gonna might have to redo something for a couple three or four hours of your time. Not the end of the world. Your lab probably will eat it if they love you or work it out where it’s just trying the cost of labor or something. But it’s not the end of the world. So many people think, “No, I can’t do this today. Everything’s gonna fall. The sky’s gonna …” But really, it’s not a big deal at the end of the day.
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah, and those patients … their teeth are your business cards. They’re going to go tell everyone what a great job you did, and all their friends.
Shaun Keating: Exactly. They’re going to tell ten people, those people will tell ten people, and that’s how any business grows in life. It’s word of mouth. You just try to do the right thing, do the good thing every time, and it will usually work out. But if it doesn’t work out, you’re just going to have to bite the bullet a little bit. It’s just nothing but a little bit of your time, maybe a little bit of cost of materials. But, hey, you learn from it, you live and learn. Things happen in life that you live and learn from it, but as a dentist, there’s too many guys that … “I’ll never do anything over 300 and I’m not going to ever touch this.” And that’s fine. That’s a lot of guys that are that way, but there’s other people that get in there, and that’s how you earn your stripes. You get your experience. You get in there and try to help these people, and if it goes awry a little bit, well, we gotta all stand up and make good on it and not own it. Kind of a little thing there.
Shaun Keating: So, tell me a little bit about … do you go to any conventions that you like more than others? Or for your continuing education? What do you for that?
Dr. Fontenot: Well, I’ve gone to the ADA a couple of times and, yeah, that’s a really big meeting. Most recently I was going to some director training for my job with the Navajo nation. So, basically learning how to be a dental director, leadership skills, organization, efficiency, that type of thing. And now, I still kind of feel like a new dentist here in private practice because it’s a different type of thing. My plan is to go some new dentist training. Also, I want to do implant MaxiCourse at Lomo Linda this next year, so 2019. I feel like that’s going to help elevate my skills.
Shaun Keating: You’re going to love that. That’s right up the street from us, and I do all of Lomo Linda’s work there.
Dr. Fontenot: Oh, really?
Shaun Keating: Yeah, the whole dental school, or the VA. They’ve got a brand new VA, they’ve got a brand new hospital that’s being built right now. Those guys are first class top-notch equipment and they just do great work. And those dental students are some of the best dentists of the guys who have been doing it for five, ten years already. They really do a good thing at Lomo Linda. But good for you. You’re going to have to come by the lab, because we’re only a half an hour from it.
Dr. Fontenot: I will. Yes, because I believe it’s a 10 month program. So you’re going once a month for 10 months, so I can certainly stop by.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, absolutely. That’s so cool.
Dr. Fontenot: And the other thing I actually did recently was I went to Las Vegas for the American Academy of Facial Aesthetics. So I took their Level 1 Botox and Dermal Fillers course, and their TMJ and Migraine Pain, so I can start delivering botox in the dental clinic. That should be fun.
Shaun Keating: Perfect. You know, I’ve heard some really good things about the clicking with TMJ and stuff, and them getting back in that joint area and the condylar area. It’s kind of an amazing thing what it’s done for some of the people that have had issues without having to go on equilibrate and redo every crown in their mouth. It’s something that-
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah. You see those people with those huge masseters, and you just know that they’re grinding down on their crowns and cracking their roots. So if I can temporarily soften those muscles, it will have their dentician out.
Shaun Keating: Absolutely. Plus, it will help them, too, in those … they’ve got those wrinkles up in their foreheads and stuff. You say, “Okay, crunch your eyes together.”
Dr. Fontenot: Gonna benefit it. I want botox!
Shaun Keating: Your assistants are all going to be going, “Hey, can you get me a little juice there, doctor?”
Dr. Fontenot: [inaudible 00:30:26] (laughing)
Shaun Keating: (laughing) “I’ve got a date this weekend.”
Shaun Keating: That’s awesome, man. So what about equipment? Anything new technology you’re thinking of in the future that you want get? A scanner? Don’t tell me you want to get an in-house mill. I don’t want to hear that.
Dr. Fontenot: I don’t have one yet. I know they do at the main office, but I’ve actually never have used CAD/CAM myself. So this all kind of new to me, being able to be private practice and have access to something like that. You know, I’m really interested in the future of digital dentistry, like the digital dentures. Gosh, there’s got to be something alginate and all those impression materials for our elderly patients. I just feel so bad every time I take an impression.
Shaun Keating: I think you’re right in the time zone. It might be another year or two to really takes off with the dentures. There’s a few programs now that we’ve been looking at, but for you to be able to just go wave a wand in the mouth real quick and send it off … and me be able to get something back in a day to here or something … it’s going to be pretty amazing.
Shaun Keating: I remember doing alginates on my mom 25 years ago and I almost choked and killed her. I brought her home, mixed it up on the kitchen table, and I was going to do … we’re just gonna get in models for her because we’re going to do temps, because we’re going to do upper grills for her, four to 13 type of thing. We got a picture of me, and I got my little tie on, and I was all young. And I’m mixing up this bowl of alginate, and I had way too much, and it’s going all over. She’s got this look like she’s trying … “Breathe through your nose, mom!” She’s all choking on me on the kitchen table. I’m like, “You’re going to be okay. Just a couple more minutes.” And then I couldn’t get that thing out. I had to get my finger all the way back [inaudible 00:32:19]. I had to break the suction thing or whatever. What a nightmare, trying to take an impression, man. So crazy.
Dr. Fontenot: (laughing) I’m sorry.
Shaun Keating: Naw, to be able to wave it now … They’ve got it to where you go to the dental shows and they’ve got these people who work for the different places and they’re just sales people. But they practiced on the little thing, and they can actually teach how to do a full arch in less than two minutes.
Dr. Fontenot: Oh, that’s wonderful.
Shaun Keating: And you know scan it, so.
Shaun Keating: How are we doing in this lab? Are we doing pretty good for you? Crowns going in good for you?
Dr. Fontenot: You guys are doing excellent. I love communicating with Ramona and I know Barry’s been really good. It’s just been fantastic. I can take a picture with my cellphone and send it to you all, and if there’s any kind of issue, you’ll send me a reduction coping. It’s been really good. It’s been so good that when I started private practice, I did try the lab that they were using, but I really missed you all. So, thank you.
Shaun Keating: Oh, man. We gotta get the boss guy those roundies. Tell him, “Let Mr. Shaunie-boy do a roundie for you,” and see what he thinks. I want to do one for him at no cost. Give Shaun a try, and I’ll show him what we can do, man. Show him the Keating difference.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. Well, man … gosh, I can’t thank you enough. I really appreciate it, and I just think with you being … I think you’re going to be the foremost and frontline of the Indian movement now.
Dr. Fontenot: I hope so. I hope not to be the only Mescalero or Apache dentist. I hope that other kids will be inspired that, “Someone from our area did it, I can do it, too.” So, I really hope so.
Shaun Keating: Well, hey. I can’t thank you enough for your time. If there’s anything I can ever do, please let me know. I appreciate all the work, and I just can’t thank you enough. I know Ramona and all the girls upstairs, they’re all excited when they got you to do a podcast. They’re like, yeah, she’s got a new podcast. And they all love you.
Dr. Fontenot: [crosstalk 00:34:27] I was so surprised. Oh, really? Keating has a podcast? [crosstalk 00:34:29]
Shaun Keating: Nobody knows … I mean …
Dr. Fontenot: It’s an honor to be invited. Thank you.
Shaun Keating: Oh, no. Thank you. We really appreciate it, and there’s anything at all, you just let us know. Again, thanks again for coming on our podcast. We’ll talk to you real soon.
Dr. Fontenot: Yeah. Thanks so much, Shaun.
Shaun Keating: Okay. Bye-bye.
Dr. Fontenot: Bye-bye.
Host: Thanks for joining us on the “Dental Up” podcast show this week. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or search the “Dental Podcast” on Itunes for our weekly feed. Don’t forget to visit keatingdentallab.com/promo for exclusive offers. Keating Dental Lab is a full-service dental laboratory and we’re nation-wide. We’d love for you to send us a case so we can show you the Keating difference. If you dig what you heard, please leave a review on Itunes, and we’ll be back next week.