Memorial Day Special: The Change to Digital Dentistry

With over 21 years of service in the Navy and National Guard, Dr. Deanna Thomas DMD, spent time in Iraq and Baghdad serving as a dental officer. Her experience serving the nation has changed the perspective she had on life, making her appreciate everything we often take for granted. Currently, Deanna is running a practice in Hermitage, PA which recently made the major move to digital impression workflow.

Full Transcription:

Shaun Keating: Hey everybody! I’d like to welcome you to this weeks Dental Up Podcast here at Keating Dental Arts in Irvine, California. This week we’re talking to Dr. Deanna Thomas. She is from Hermitage, Pennsylvania. What’s up Dr. Thomas?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Not a whole lot Shaun, just looking for the sun to come out again here. There’s been a lot of rain.

Shaun Keating: I bet, man. That’s so cool. Thank you so much for taking the time. I know you’re so busy, I want to just thank you for all the years working together but I really wanted to talk to you on this little Podcast about some of the things you’re doing. Before we get started, I always like to start off with sports and stuff and I know you’re a big basketball fan. Who’s your team out there? You like the Cavaliers or what?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Of course, I love the Cavs, they rock.

Shaun Keating: That’s so crazy. I know, that dude, Lebron has been to the Finals the last seven years straight. You know, with multiple teams; first with Cleveland, then with Miami and then back with Cleveland; but seven straight years, man. The dude just passed all time scoring leader, Michael Jordan, in the payoffs after last nights game but he is a stud but you know, we are California; the Golden State; and we do like our Warriors here, now that the Lakers kind of suck. Good for you guys. It’s going to be a great series, Golden State against the Cavaliers again, it’s the third year in a row that they’ve actually played man, it’s like three years in a row, last year the Cavaliers were down three to one and they came back and won everything but good for you.

Our ducks, I’m a big Ducks fan here. I do a lot of the guys’ dental work and we lost to the Nashville Predators in Hockey and then your Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey Champs from last year, they’re playing again, they beat out Ottawa at double overtime last night. Ottawa man, Canada hasn’t had a team in the final in like over 20 years, the poor Canadians, you know.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh, then there we go.

Shaun Keating: So, go Pittsburgh man, they gotta be happy. Well heck and then we got, what do we got? Sunday, we got the 100 First Annual Indie 500, that’ll be a good one, looking forward to that.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh yeah.

Shaun Keating: And then we’ve got Memorial Day and I want to thank you for your service for our Country, you know, you’ve been in the, heck man over two decades. Weren’t you in the Army and the National Guard for over 20 plus years?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yes.

Shaun Keating: Thank you. Thank you for your service and all that. I remember always talking to you on the phone on cases and you’re talking about like you were in Afghanistan and stuff or Iraq or where were you?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I was in Iraq, in Baghdad in 2005.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, good times.

Shaun Keating: How did that work? Were you a dentist in the Army and working on the guys or what did you do?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Right. I was a dentist with the National Guard and I didn’t do a whole lot of dentistry because we didn’t really have the supplies or the equipment, unfortunately. Mostly, the function for the Dental Officer is to do triage when we have casualties, stuff like that. So I did actually have some experience with that kind of thing. It was a little bit different. It was a good opportunity, I worked with some really great physicians. I learned a lot about medicine which I thought was unique and basically required me to change my perspective in life and re-organize my priorities and just made me appreciate a lot more of what we have here.

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: A lot of people don’t realize what it’s like to go into another country except for to those tourist places. When you see people just getting blown up and bombed everyday in their homes, it’s kind of, it is kind of sad.

Shaun Keating: It is.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Definitely.

Shaun Keating: Wow, we thank you for that and I just think people don’t really realize a lot how important Memorial Day really is. It’s not just a holiday. It’s something that through the years, all the people that have given their lives for our freedom and all the people that have served, to help us be a free nation. I’m a Navy brat. My dad was in the Navy 31 years and I’m just very thankful for what he did. I’m very thankful for what you did and what everyone else does in the service. I mean, hats off to you man. Yeah, you’re a great dentist. How did that work with your dental education, with your training? Did you get, like my brother went in the Navy also and they paid for his dental scholarship. Did you go through? Tell me a little bit about your college and how that worked.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: When I was a third year dental student, I started talking to the recruiters but I decided that I wasn’t willing to make a commitment because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in the next three years, I just didn’t want to make the commitment. Once I was done with dental school, then I decided, well I had worked in a few places around my hometown and wasn’t really thrilled with it. So I called them up and started in the Navy. After five years of active duty in the Navy, they still didn’t have any money. They had programs for loan re-payment but they had no appropriations so there was no money for it, so I’m like, “I gotta pay these loans back,” cause I had about 120 at the time, now it’s doubled from my new Associate. She’s coming out with twice as much, it really sucks.

After that they had a program where you could do loan repayment so I signed up with the guard and they paid off my loans cause at the time they offered 50 grand for loan repayment and then after maybe about six or seven years ago, they finally decided they’re not going to keep dentists in the military if they’re not going to pay back their 120, $200,000 loans, so they increased the limit, paid off the rest of my loan and I did get it paid that was but I was like, “I’m not paying for this. I’m going to pay $200 for the rest of my life,” you know?

Shaun Keating: That’s so crazy.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I had such a low interest rate, you know, but.

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: It worked so, it was only a headache in paperwork, obviously. It wasn’t a simple process but it was worth it. I appreciate it. Makes retire a little bit more palatable and sooner coming.

Shaun Keating: Well, there’s still a lot of people with debt that didn’t go into the service, that I don’t know, 10, 15, 20 years, takes quite a long time to pay it off. A lot of these guys, I’m looking at these younger students that are three, four, $500,000 in debt and that’s just for the college. They haven’t even got into any practice debt. If they could even afford, how do they do that? I just don’t know how, this day and age.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I don’t know, I don’t see how they can.

Shaun Keating: It’s just such a tough thing. Even with me with my lab, when I went and expanded in 2004, I had to do the SBA, the Small Business Association, I got loans through them but I’m so dumb, I didn’t realize, I just knew I wanted to grow my lab. I got like $1.7 million in loans and it’s a trip but I paid them all off. You’ve just got to go for it but good for you. Now, tell me a little bit about how you were telling us about, you know, we’ve been working together probably like 20 years, long time but did you do to make the decision to bring on a partner? I know you’ve got Dr. Noel Peters now and she’s kicking butt. Right? She’s doing great. But what made you decide to bring on a partner but also you went digital and that’s what I really want to talk to you about; going digital.

I know there’s some of the, several different systems you were considering and what motivated you to pick the system that you have and what you have is the 3SHAPE TRIOS, which is, in my book, the top of the line man, it is the top. Tell me a little bit about that, your thoughts on that, Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I brought on an associate because I just had way too much work to do and I felt like I was killing myself and then I finally had a practice evaluation, they said, “You have enough work her for two full time dentists,” and I said, “Do I really?” And so they said, “Yeah,” because I was very worried about it, for two people to work full time and to still make a paycheck for me too. We brought her on and she worked at a couple of other little practices around the town at the time and people die and retire and all of that kind of stuff and just kind of found her again anyway. We do a lot of advertising on the internet and we’re trying to pick up our social media sites but I think, I mean I was busy all the time, I don’t know if people like us or something like that.

So anyways, she’s come along and she’s doing dental implants. She did a residency to do implants so she’s starting to do, what we call, the slam dunk. If I see you, as the example, then she’s doing it and then some graphing and just stuff like that. Doing surgery. So, that’s kind of cool cause I don’t like to any of that. I’m doing a couple of fillings and single unit crowning, no, I want to keep it simple.

Shaun Keating: Do it.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m ready to be done. And then, anyway, for a while, cause I’ve always been a little bit of a tech nerd, we started looking at digital dentistry, I didn’t know then, because our practice was mostly based on insurance. So, you know, is this something that’s going to cost effective? Am I doing enough of that to warrant the purchase of a scanner? When she came along we increased our volume, decided to start looking around, went to all the shows, looked at the Cerec mostly, I thought it was kind of complicated. Just too much for me, once I saw the 3SHAPE, it’s just so simple, it’s like really easy to use and I called Keating Dental Arts, talked I think mostly to Bob Brendan about what are you guys using, what’s the advantages, what’s the disadvantages cause I know, I wanted to be able to continue my relationship with you guys. It’s probably harder to get a divorce than to change your-

Shaun Keating: Dental lab.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Dental lab. So, we talked about it a lot, we had them demo it and we just picked it up and started using it and I’m like, “Well, we’re just going to try to it with everything,” and Dean has been really, super great at helping us figure it out and put it together.

Shaun Keating: That’s so cool.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I think it’s just been marvelous, you know. It’s nice, plus they have good tech support and again, being able to call. I talked to Dean probably at least once or twice a week, not so much now. I’m not working as much. He’s talking to Noel now but all the time, trying to figure things out and make it more efficient on both our ends and I really appreciate, he finally, after about a year, I asked him, I said, “What can I do to make it better for you,” and just threw out a couple little suggestions. I was like, “Okay, I can take it, I’m a big girl,” I want it to be simple and easy and to work. I like it. It’s pretty cool. Patients think it’s fantastic.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, it is amazing. It really is and you’re talking about Dean Tassey, he’s our CAD/CAM Manager and he can make things really easy and what I really love about the 3SHAPE in the TRIOS, we have several different scanners but 3SHAPE we have probably 10 of those but we have a bunch of different kinds. 3SHAPE is the best and what I really like is when you do a scan in the mouth, we get it immediately where everything else, it takes about an hour cause you have to clean it up when it comes through but the 3SHAPE is instantaneous to us and it’s just so … it just seems so accurate and so much nicer but again, it is a little bit more than the other ones that you can kind of put together and buy them in pieces and the 3SHAPE for the money and everything else, the TRIOS is just really, I think it’s just a winner out there, man.

We’ve even noticed on your cases, they’re going in better, they’re going in cleaner, it kind of makes you a better dentist having to be able to practice with that magnification. It really did change how, we have little to no remakes. Not that we had many at all but it just gets things so much more accurate. I’m just really proud of you cause I know you, you’re always, “Sean, when can we do this?” Whenever I got you on, I think it was a Shade Device, what was that one?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh yeah, I forgot what it was.

Shaun Keating: Vita or something.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, I don’t know. It was like a little white box, I don’t remember.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, couple grams, something ridiculous. I think we had problems with calibration between lab and the office when that was calibrated and then this one but you’ve always been looking to stay on the cutting edge. I just like your staff, your staff kicks butt man, you really do, everyone there. You have a really great staff. Tell me a little bit, you were saying about working on your marketing because we have a lot of dentists that are young, starting off and you know, basically I’m bringing in my doctors on these Podcasts and just kind of ask about their practice. What kind of advice could you give to a starting practice or some of the newer practices as to when it comes to marketing in your town or if you’re doing social media; can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Well, in our town, when I first started practicing, we used basically the newspaper because that was the most popular mode around these parts and then shortly thereafter, I had a website developed by a dental branding, I believe it was. It wasn’t very simple for me to access and change photos or text or anything because like every time I touched it, it was just a total nightmare. So I found, at a dental town meeting, a company called Great Dental Websites and they were just like-

Shaun Keating: Great. That’s awesome.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. They’re on top of it. Every month they call and they’re like, “You need to do this, this, this and this. This, this and that,” and like okay, okay, okay. I’ve got the list going. I’m working on it, I’m getting a lot of it done. One thing that I was doing recently is we videoed me Dental Assistants, they do all the scanning and then temporize and all of that because once we prep, we’ll put some cord in and then I’m done. They actually do all of that and just by the way, I don’t really do any of that. I did go to one of them, we did a couple of crowns on one of our staff members here and we did the video and we took a bunch of pictures and then we called Dean and we asked him if we could take a few shots, just as part of the process so we could put it all together and I’m working on that to put it on the website. We’re trying to work on putting some videos and stuff like that. Developing the website, a web presence I think probably the most important thing for anybody now days because that’s where people are getting their information.

Shaun Keating: Everybody’s always on their phone and going to their device. I’ve seen you on Facebook. We’ve always been on it but I never got on it until a couple months ago, I just started you know likes and stuff, I never knew how to do it. My team always did it.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: That’s basically how I am.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. I liked it today, something under Deanna Thomas Dental or something and I’m like, “I know her,” and I like your other staff and stuff. You’ve got a bunch of, freaking women in that office. You’ve got like 10 women and one dude, huh?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. He’s actually trying to get into dental school right now. He’s working here and we’re trying to do whatever we can; write him letters, find a way to get him educated and get him in the business.

Shaun Keating: There you go. That’s awesome.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah.

Shaun Keating: That is so cool.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. We have a lot of people that float through so it’s kind of cool. A lot of students from schools and things like that so dentists, our dentist assistants, whatever.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: It’s just fun. Keeps it exciting.

Shaun Keating: Tell me a little bit about Hermatige, what’s what? Is that by Pittsburgh?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Hermitage.

Shaun Keating: Hermitage. Okay.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Hermitage, yeah it’s like right in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland on the Western border of Pennsylvania. We’re closest to Youngstown. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that.

Shaun Keating: Oh, Youngstown State, man. That’s a party town there. They’ve got a good football team too.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, they have some nice athletic programs. Now, they have a lot of business programs, they’re starting incubator programs and all kind of really neat stuff going on. That’s where we usually hang out to shop or party because Hermitage doesn’t have a whole lot. It’s an old steel town and the mills are closed, the hospital’s been bought out, our mall just lost Macy’s and Sears so it’s kind of like on a down spiral.

Shaun Keating: Do you got a pub or do you got a bar you can go to at least?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. There’s plenty of those.

Shaun Keating: That’s all.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: There’s no shortage of that. Yeah.

Shaun Keating: That’s really all that matters to some people. No, just kidding.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: We frequent those places.

Shaun Keating: What about, now your husband’s in the service too, wasn’t he or no?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, he was in the Army. Yeah, he’s still in the Reserves. He’ll finish next August I think he’s going to be done.

Shaun Keating: No kidding. I remember I’d always talk to you and you’d go, “He’s been gone for a year,” and I’d be like, “Damn, what are you doing by yourself all that time?” I mean-

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I know, working.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, working your butt off while he’s over there on the boat hanging out with his buddies.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, he had some interesting trips over there. He’s an MP so he had a different job.

Shaun Keating: That’s crazy. I bet you he’d beat the crap out of people, if he’s an MP, he’s gotta be tough. You can’t be the skinny boy to be the MP.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: No, he’s not. He’s a hard ass.

Shaun Keating: So tell me a little bit about your hobbies, what do you like to do instead of dentistry a little bit?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I have a 13 year old that keeps me busy that I cart everywhere, I’m his personal taxi service and chef.

Shaun Keating: You will be in a long time for that. 13, you better keep an eye on him.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. My escape is I had somewhere with blue water and scuba dive, I’ve always enjoyed that. I try to break loose and do some diving but around here, not a whole lot, just hanging out with my friends and riding my bike, just do nerdy stuff on my computer. I’m on our school board so that sucks up a lot of my time too and working with some other local businesses, start ups and just keeping busy like that. That’s my social life; being on boards and meetings.

Shaun Keating: That sounds cool though. I mean I miss having my kid at that age. 13, he’s just starting high school coming up and that’s all politics there but it’s nothing greater than to have your kids right there and just kind of dealing with all of the parents and stuff. I don’t know, I kind of miss that. My boys are 32 and 30 now and it’s like dude, I kind of miss that so we’re waiting for grandchildren. Gosh. I wish I had a 13 year old boy. I’d be throwing a football saying, “You’re going to be a running back for the NFL,” or whatever. If he’s a big boy, he’d be a lineman or-

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, my kid says he’s going to play in the MLB but I told him he has to have a back up plan.

Shaun Keating: Oh, good for you.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: He’s a baseball player. He plays all the sports, whatever’s in season; we’re doing baseball, basketball and every other year football.

Shaun Keating: There you go. Keep in mind, that damn phone, I seen a great little picture on social media and it showed these little kids like drinking out of the hose and stomping in the mud and just playing outside, doing all of this stuff; these three kids, and then it showed the other three kids with their head buried in a phone. And it showed like where we grew up ad then now the kids now days. It was like, keep their heads out of those damn inter webs and phones and keep them in activities, man. Keep them busy. Keep them relating to people and being, I don’t know, just active. I think that’s real important. I’m thankful, I’ve always got to kid around, well the kids didn’t die on my watch, man. That was my whole thing, just keep those little bastards alive. Not having anything bad-

Dr. Deanna Thomas: That’s what I say all the time. Yeah. I just caught my kid and him and three friends the other day, I saw them walking down a local nature trail, all with their pants off and their shirts off cause they were all muddy from playing in the river and they all came home with poison ivy. It’s just like, really? You’re just like out just walking around in your underwear? And I’m like, “Whatever.” At least their not on the couch.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: They’re at their fishing holes and their bicycles, pushing the bike and I’m like, “Where’s my bike?” Because they popped the tire and just threw it into the woods, stuff like that. That’s just like routine. That’s routine, you know, 13 year old boy routine crazy.

Shaun Keating: That’s so neat. Now, are you able to shoot guns out in Pennsylvania and stuff in the hills?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Sometimes. Yeah, we do.

Shaun Keating: You can’t really do that here in California, they’re kind of weird here.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah.

Shaun Keating: I had a BB gun that even my took that away from me because the BB’s kept going into the pool and they rusted the bottom of the granite in the pool so I’m not allow with BB gun’s anymore.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Kind of. I’m not real good with that kind of stuff. I’m an idiot when it comes to keeping yourself under control and not being a knucklehead. But hey, I want to thank you for this time. I appreciate it. I know you’re real busy today. I can’t thank you enough. How’s our work doing? How are we doing? We doing okay in the lab? Are we solid?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: We’re doing fantastic and I’m very happy that anything that we can’t ever figure out, that I know that I can call and somebody there is going to help me work through it and figure it out. I’m very satisfied. I appreciate everything that you do for us.

Shaun Keating: Thank you. We do with you too man. It’s just a relationship that I think, it’s important to have with the dentists that you work with and for us, finally in all of the years of never really seeing each other too. You’re probably looking at me like, “You kind of look like Colonel Sanders,” and you look younger than heck. I always thought you were young but you just look very nice, beautiful woman and you’re a great dentist and I bet you the town Hermitage is very lucky to have Dr. Deanna Thomas is their city taking care of them.

Whatever we can do to make your practice easier, let us know and again, if you have any patient that’s just really down and out of their luck and we’ve got to do a grill on them, just let me know, call me up and we’ll take care of you. I know you do work with insurance and I do know it’s tough out there and I know that you’ve had ups and downs through the years with people and lack of insurance and what they’re only paying. I know our cost can be a little more than others out there. You’ve stuck with us through it and you just continually always try to get better and you’ve always been there for us. I know you get, like every one of our dentists, they get solicited a lot by other labs and probably cheaper this and that.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh, every day.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, I know. I thank you for sticking with us and again, Dr. Thomas, anything we can ever do, man, you just let us know.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I sure will.

Shaun Keating: Cool. Well Memorial Day, are you done with work or do you still have to go back to work?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m just done, I think. I’m done.

Shaun Keating: Let it begin, girl. Especially you. You should be celebrating Memorial Day extra good, what you’ve done and for our country and everything else, we really appreciate that and appreciate your husband too. Just thank you so much, man. It’s good talking to you. We’ve got to get you out of here, we’ve got different seminars here. We’ve got to get you out and you can come out here, bring that little kid of yours. You can keep your husband home if you want or you could bring him, however you want. We’ll put you over at Wally World, over at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, we’ve got all sorts of stuff to play with.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, I’m working on it.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m working on it now that I have Dr. Peters here to back me up, I can start doing some of those things. I’m looking forward to that. So definitely.

Shaun Keating: Well you know, we’ll fly you out and put you up and everything so just anytime, you let me know. You deserve a break, you know, so you need to get out, even if it’s a three or four day thing, man. Come out on a Thursday, Thursday night and you’re only missing Friday of work and you can fly back on Sunday. Fly right into John Wayne airport, it’s about two minutes from us but we’ve got all the beaches, everything else. It’ll be fun.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I know it. I know it.

Shaun Keating: All right man, well hey. Thank you again, so much. Hey everybody I want to thank you for tuning into this weeks Dental Up Podcast. If you could, go to iTunes and go to our Dental Up Podcast and leave us a review, we greatly appreciate it. Again, Dr. Thomas, thanks again, have a great weekend and God bless you.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Thanks Shaun, have a good one.

Shaun Keating: All right man, see you later.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Bye.

Shaun Keating: Bye.

Shaun Keating: Hey everybody! I’d like to welcome you to this weeks Dental Up Podcast here at Keating Dental Arts in Irvine, California. This week we’re talking to Dr. Deanna Thomas. She is from Hermitage, Pennsylvania. What’s up Dr. Thomas?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Not a whole lot Shaun, just looking for the sun to come out again here. There’s been a lot of rain.

 

Shaun Keating: I bet, man. That’s so cool. Thank you so much for taking the time. I know you’re so busy, I want to just thank you for all the years working together but I really wanted to talk to you on this little Podcast about some of the things you’re doing. Before we get started, I always like to start off with sports and stuff and I know you’re a big basketball fan. Who’s your team out there? You like the Cavaliers or what?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Of course, I love the Cavs, they rock.

 

Shaun Keating: That’s so crazy. I know, that dude, Lebron has been to the Finals the last seven years straight. You know, with multiple teams; first with Cleveland, then with Miami and then back with Cleveland; but seven straight years, man. The dude just passed all time scoring leader, Michael Jordan, in the payoffs after last nights game but he is a stud but you know, we are California; the Golden State; and we do like our Warriors here, now that the Lakers kind of suck. Good for you guys. It’s going to be a great series, Golden State against the Cavaliers again, it’s the third year in a row that they’ve actually played man, it’s like three years in a row, last year the Cavaliers were down three to one and they came back and won everything but good for you.

 

Our ducks, I’m a big Ducks fan here. I do a lot of the guys’ dental work and we lost to the Nashville Predators in Hockey and then your Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey Champs from last year, they’re playing again, they beat out Ottawa at double overtime last night. Ottawa man, Canada hasn’t had a team in the final in like over 20 years, the poor Canadians, you know.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh, then there we go.

 

Shaun Keating: So, go Pittsburgh man, they gotta be happy. Well heck and then we got, what do we got? Sunday, we got the 100 First Annual Indie 500, that’ll be a good one, looking forward to that.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh yeah.

 

Shaun Keating: And then we’ve got Memorial Day and I want to thank you for your service for our Country, you know, you’ve been in the, heck man over two decades. Weren’t you in the Army and the National Guard for over 20 plus years?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yes.

 

Shaun Keating: Thank you. Thank you for your service and all that. I remember always talking to you on the phone on cases and you’re talking about like you were in Afghanistan and stuff or Iraq or where were you?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I was in Iraq, in Baghdad in 2005.

 

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, good times.

 

Shaun Keating: How did that work? Were you a dentist in the Army and working on the guys or what did you do?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Right. I was a dentist with the National Guard and I didn’t do a whole lot of dentistry because we didn’t really have the supplies or the equipment, unfortunately. Mostly, the function for the Dental Officer is to do triage when we have casualties, stuff like that. So I did actually have some experience with that kind of thing. It was a little bit different. It was a good opportunity, I worked with some really great physicians. I learned a lot about medicine which I thought was unique and basically required me to change my perspective in life and re-organize my priorities and just made me appreciate a lot more of what we have here.

 

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: A lot of people don’t realize what it’s like to go into another country except for to those tourist places. When you see people just getting blown up and bombed everyday in their homes, it’s kind of, it is kind of sad.

 

Shaun Keating: It is.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Definitely.

 

Shaun Keating: Wow, we thank you for that and I just think people don’t really realize a lot how important Memorial Day really is. It’s not just a holiday. It’s something that through the years, all the people that have given their lives for our freedom and all the people that have served, to help us be a free nation. I’m a Navy brat. My dad was in the Navy 31 years and I’m just very thankful for what he did. I’m very thankful for what you did and what everyone else does in the service. I mean, hats off to you man. Yeah, you’re a great dentist. How did that work with your dental education, with your training? Did you get, like my brother went in the Navy also and they paid for his dental scholarship. Did you go through? Tell me a little bit about your college and how that worked.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: When I was a third year dental student, I started talking to the recruiters but I decided that I wasn’t willing to make a commitment because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in the next three years, I just didn’t want to make the commitment. Once I was done with dental school, then I decided, well I had worked in a few places around my hometown and wasn’t really thrilled with it. So I called them up and started in the Navy. After five years of active duty in the Navy, they still didn’t have any money. They had programs for loan re-payment but they had no appropriations so there was no money for it, so I’m like, “I gotta pay these loans back,” cause I had about 120 at the time, now it’s doubled from my new Associate. She’s coming out with twice as much, it really sucks.

 

After that they had a program where you could do loan repayment so I signed up with the guard and they paid off my loans cause at the time they offered 50 grand for loan repayment and then after maybe about six or seven years ago, they finally decided they’re not going to keep dentists in the military if they’re not going to pay back their 120, $200,000 loans, so they increased the limit, paid off the rest of my loan and I did get it paid that was but I was like, “I’m not paying for this. I’m going to pay $200 for the rest of my life,” you know?

 

Shaun Keating: That’s so crazy.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I had such a low interest rate, you know, but.

 

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: It worked so, it was only a headache in paperwork, obviously. It wasn’t a simple process but it was worth it. I appreciate it. Makes retire a little bit more palatable and sooner coming.

 

Shaun Keating: Well, there’s still a lot of people with debt that didn’t go into the service, that I don’t know, 10, 15, 20 years, takes quite a long time to pay it off. A lot of these guys, I’m looking at these younger students that are three, four, $500,000 in debt and that’s just for the college. They haven’t even got into any practice debt. If they could even afford, how do they do that? I just don’t know how, this day and age.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I don’t know, I don’t see how they can.

 

Shaun Keating: It’s just such a tough thing. Even with me with my lab, when I went and expanded in 2004, I had to do the SBA, the Small Business Association, I got loans through them but I’m so dumb, I didn’t realize, I just knew I wanted to grow my lab. I got like $1.7 million in loans and it’s a trip but I paid them all off. You’ve just got to go for it but good for you. Now, tell me a little bit about how you were telling us about, you know, we’ve been working together probably like 20 years, long time but did you do to make the decision to bring on a partner? I know you’ve got Dr. Noel Peters now and she’s kicking butt. Right? She’s doing great. But what made you decide to bring on a partner but also you went digital and that’s what I really want to talk to you about; going digital.

 

I know there’s some of the, several different systems you were considering and what motivated you to pick the system that you have and what you have is the 3SHAPE TRIOS, which is, in my book, the top of the line man, it is the top. Tell me a little bit about that, your thoughts on that, Dr. Thomas.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I brought on an associate because I just had way too much work to do and I felt like I was killing myself and then I finally had a practice evaluation, they said, “You have enough work her for two full time dentists,” and I said, “Do I really?” And so they said, “Yeah,” because I was very worried about it, for two people to work full time and to still make a paycheck for me too. We brought her on and she worked at a couple of other little practices around the town at the time and people die and retire and all of that kind of stuff and just kind of found her again anyway. We do a lot of advertising on the internet and we’re trying to pick up our social media sites but I think, I mean I was busy all the time, I don’t know if people like us or something like that.

 

So anyways, she’s come along and she’s doing dental implants. She did a residency to do implants so she’s starting to do, what we call, the slam dunk. If I see you, as the example, then she’s doing it and then some graphing and just stuff like that. Doing surgery. So, that’s kind of cool cause I don’t like to any of that. I’m doing a couple of fillings and single unit crowning, no, I want to keep it simple.

 

Shaun Keating: Do it.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m ready to be done. And then, anyway, for a while, cause I’ve always been a little bit of a tech nerd, we started looking at digital dentistry, I didn’t know then, because our practice was mostly based on insurance. So, you know, is this something that’s going to cost effective? Am I doing enough of that to warrant the purchase of a scanner? When she came along we increased our volume, decided to start looking around, went to all the shows, looked at the Cerec mostly, I thought it was kind of complicated. Just too much for me, once I saw the 3SHAPE, it’s just so simple, it’s like really easy to use and I called Keating Dental Arts, talked I think mostly to Bob Brendan about what are you guys using, what’s the advantages, what’s the disadvantages cause I know, I wanted to be able to continue my relationship with you guys. It’s probably harder to get a divorce than to change your-

 

Shaun Keating: Dental lab.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Dental lab. So, we talked about it a lot, we had them demo it and we just picked it up and started using it and I’m like, “Well, we’re just going to try to it with everything,” and Dean has been really, super great at helping us figure it out and put it together.

 

Shaun Keating: That’s so cool.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I think it’s just been marvelous, you know. It’s nice, plus they have good tech support and again, being able to call. I talked to Dean probably at least once or twice a week, not so much now. I’m not working as much. He’s talking to Noel now but all the time, trying to figure things out and make it more efficient on both our ends and I really appreciate, he finally, after about a year, I asked him, I said, “What can I do to make it better for you,” and just threw out a couple little suggestions. I was like, “Okay, I can take it, I’m a big girl,” I want it to be simple and easy and to work. I like it. It’s pretty cool. Patients think it’s fantastic.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah, it is amazing. It really is and you’re talking about Dean Tassey, he’s our CAD/CAM Manager and he can make things really easy and what I really love about the 3SHAPE in the TRIOS, we have several different scanners but 3SHAPE we have probably 10 of those but we have a bunch of different kinds. 3SHAPE is the best and what I really like is when you do a scan in the mouth, we get it immediately where everything else, it takes about an hour cause you have to clean it up when it comes through but the 3SHAPE is instantaneous to us and it’s just so … it just seems so accurate and so much nicer but again, it is a little bit more than the other ones that you can kind of put together and buy them in pieces and the 3SHAPE for the money and everything else, the TRIOS is just really, I think it’s just a winner out there, man.

 

We’ve even noticed on your cases, they’re going in better, they’re going in cleaner, it kind of makes you a better dentist having to be able to practice with that magnification. It really did change how, we have little to no remakes. Not that we had many at all but it just gets things so much more accurate. I’m just really proud of you cause I know you, you’re always, “Sean, when can we do this?” Whenever I got you on, I think it was a Shade Device, what was that one?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh yeah, I forgot what it was.

 

Shaun Keating: Vita or something.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, I don’t know. It was like a little white box, I don’t remember.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah, couple grams, something ridiculous. I think we had problems with calibration between lab and the office when that was calibrated and then this one but you’ve always been looking to stay on the cutting edge. I just like your staff, your staff kicks butt man, you really do, everyone there. You have a really great staff. Tell me a little bit, you were saying about working on your marketing because we have a lot of dentists that are young, starting off and you know, basically I’m bringing in my doctors on these Podcasts and just kind of ask about their practice. What kind of advice could you give to a starting practice or some of the newer practices as to when it comes to marketing in your town or if you’re doing social media; can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Well, in our town, when I first started practicing, we used basically the newspaper because that was the most popular mode around these parts and then shortly thereafter, I had a website developed by a dental branding, I believe it was. It wasn’t very simple for me to access and change photos or text or anything because like every time I touched it, it was just a total nightmare. So I found, at a dental town meeting, a company called Great Dental Websites and they were just like-

 

Shaun Keating: Great. That’s awesome.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. They’re on top of it. Every month they call and they’re like, “You need to do this, this, this and this. This, this and that,” and like okay, okay, okay. I’ve got the list going. I’m working on it, I’m getting a lot of it done. One thing that I was doing recently is we videoed me Dental Assistants, they do all the scanning and then temporize and all of that because once we prep, we’ll put some cord in and then I’m done. They actually do all of that and just by the way, I don’t really do any of that. I did go to one of them, we did a couple of crowns on one of our staff members here and we did the video and we took a bunch of pictures and then we called Dean and we asked him if we could take a few shots, just as part of the process so we could put it all together and I’m working on that to put it on the website. We’re trying to work on putting some videos and stuff like that. Developing the website, a web presence I think probably the most important thing for anybody now days because that’s where people are getting their information.

 

Shaun Keating: Everybody’s always on their phone and going to their device. I’ve seen you on Facebook. We’ve always been on it but I never got on it until a couple months ago, I just started you know likes and stuff, I never knew how to do it. My team always did it.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: That’s basically how I am.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah. I liked it today, something under Deanna Thomas Dental or something and I’m like, “I know her,” and I like your other staff and stuff. You’ve got a bunch of, freaking women in that office. You’ve got like 10 women and one dude, huh?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. He’s actually trying to get into dental school right now. He’s working here and we’re trying to do whatever we can; write him letters, find a way to get him educated and get him in the business.

 

Shaun Keating: There you go. That’s awesome.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah.

 

Shaun Keating: That is so cool.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. We have a lot of people that float through so it’s kind of cool. A lot of students from schools and things like that so dentists, our dentist assistants, whatever.

 

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: It’s just fun. Keeps it exciting.

 

Shaun Keating: Tell me a little bit about Hermatige, what’s what? Is that by Pittsburgh?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Hermitage.

 

Shaun Keating: Hermitage. Okay.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Hermitage, yeah it’s like right in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland on the Western border of Pennsylvania. We’re closest to Youngstown. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that.

 

Shaun Keating: Oh, Youngstown State, man. That’s a party town there. They’ve got a good football team too.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, they have some nice athletic programs. Now, they have a lot of business programs, they’re starting incubator programs and all kind of really neat stuff going on. That’s where we usually hang out to shop or party because Hermitage doesn’t have a whole lot. It’s an old steel town and the mills are closed, the hospital’s been bought out, our mall just lost Macy’s and Sears so it’s kind of like on a down spiral.

 

Shaun Keating: Do you got a pub or do you got a bar you can go to at least?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. There’s plenty of those.

 

Shaun Keating: That’s all.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: There’s no shortage of that. Yeah.

 

Shaun Keating: That’s really all that matters to some people. No, just kidding.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: We frequent those places.

 

Shaun Keating: What about, now your husband’s in the service too, wasn’t he or no?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, he was in the Army. Yeah, he’s still in the Reserves. He’ll finish next August I think he’s going to be done.

 

Shaun Keating: No kidding. I remember I’d always talk to you and you’d go, “He’s been gone for a year,” and I’d be like, “Damn, what are you doing by yourself all that time?” I mean-

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I know, working.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah, working your butt off while he’s over there on the boat hanging out with his buddies.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, he had some interesting trips over there. He’s an MP so he had a different job.

 

Shaun Keating: That’s crazy. I bet you he’d beat the crap out of people, if he’s an MP, he’s gotta be tough. You can’t be the skinny boy to be the MP.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: No, he’s not. He’s a hard ass.

 

Shaun Keating: So tell me a little bit about your hobbies, what do you like to do instead of dentistry a little bit?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I have a 13 year old that keeps me busy that I cart everywhere, I’m his personal taxi service and chef.

 

Shaun Keating: You will be in a long time for that. 13, you better keep an eye on him.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. My escape is I had somewhere with blue water and scuba dive, I’ve always enjoyed that. I try to break loose and do some diving but around here, not a whole lot, just hanging out with my friends and riding my bike, just do nerdy stuff on my computer. I’m on our school board so that sucks up a lot of my time too and working with some other local businesses, start ups and just keeping busy like that. That’s my social life; being on boards and meetings.

 

Shaun Keating: That sounds cool though. I mean I miss having my kid at that age. 13, he’s just starting high school coming up and that’s all politics there but it’s nothing greater than to have your kids right there and just kind of dealing with all of the parents and stuff. I don’t know, I kind of miss that. My boys are 32 and 30 now and it’s like dude, I kind of miss that so we’re waiting for grandchildren. Gosh. I wish I had a 13 year old boy. I’d be throwing a football saying, “You’re going to be a running back for the NFL,” or whatever. If he’s a big boy, he’d be a lineman or-

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, my kid says he’s going to play in the MLB but I told him he has to have a back up plan.

 

Shaun Keating: Oh, good for you.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: He’s a baseball player. He plays all the sports, whatever’s in season; we’re doing baseball, basketball and every other year football.

 

Shaun Keating: There you go. Keep in mind, that damn phone, I seen a great little picture on social media and it showed these little kids like drinking out of the hose and stomping in the mud and just playing outside, doing all of this stuff; these three kids, and then it showed the other three kids with their head buried in a phone. And it showed like where we grew up ad then now the kids now days. It was like, keep their heads out of those damn inter webs and phones and keep them in activities, man. Keep them busy. Keep them relating to people and being, I don’t know, just active. I think that’s real important. I’m thankful, I’ve always got to kid around, well the kids didn’t die on my watch, man. That was my whole thing, just keep those little bastards alive. Not having anything bad-

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: That’s what I say all the time. Yeah. I just caught my kid and him and three friends the other day, I saw them walking down a local nature trail, all with their pants off and their shirts off cause they were all muddy from playing in the river and they all came home with poison ivy. It’s just like, really? You’re just like out just walking around in your underwear? And I’m like, “Whatever.” At least their not on the couch.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: They’re at their fishing holes and their bicycles, pushing the bike and I’m like, “Where’s my bike?” Because they popped the tire and just threw it into the woods, stuff like that. That’s just like routine. That’s routine, you know, 13 year old boy routine crazy.

 

Shaun Keating: That’s so neat. Now, are you able to shoot guns out in Pennsylvania and stuff in the hills?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Sometimes. Yeah, we do.

 

Shaun Keating: You can’t really do that here in California, they’re kind of weird here.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah.

 

Shaun Keating: I had a BB gun that even my took that away from me because the BB’s kept going into the pool and they rusted the bottom of the granite in the pool so I’m not allow with BB gun’s anymore.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Kind of. I’m not real good with that kind of stuff. I’m an idiot when it comes to keeping yourself under control and not being a knucklehead. But hey, I want to thank you for this time. I appreciate it. I know you’re real busy today. I can’t thank you enough. How’s our work doing? How are we doing? We doing okay in the lab? Are we solid?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: We’re doing fantastic and I’m very happy that anything that we can’t ever figure out, that I know that I can call and somebody there is going to help me work through it and figure it out. I’m very satisfied. I appreciate everything that you do for us.

 

Shaun Keating: Thank you. We do with you too man. It’s just a relationship that I think, it’s important to have with the dentists that you work with and for us, finally in all of the years of never really seeing each other too. You’re probably looking at me like, “You kind of look like Colonel Sanders,” and you look younger than heck. I always thought you were young but you just look very nice, beautiful woman and you’re a great dentist and I bet you the town Hermitage is very lucky to have Dr. Deanna Thomas is their city taking care of them.

 

Whatever we can do to make your practice easier, let us know and again, if you have any patient that’s just really down and out of their luck and we’ve got to do a grill on them, just let me know, call me up and we’ll take care of you. I know you do work with insurance and I do know it’s tough out there and I know that you’ve had ups and downs through the years with people and lack of insurance and what they’re only paying. I know our cost can be a little more than others out there. You’ve stuck with us through it and you just continually always try to get better and you’ve always been there for us. I know you get, like every one of our dentists, they get solicited a lot by other labs and probably cheaper this and that.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh, every day.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, I know. I thank you for sticking with us and again, Dr. Thomas, anything we can ever do, man, you just let us know.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I sure will.

 

Shaun Keating: Cool. Well Memorial Day, are you done with work or do you still have to go back to work?

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m just done, I think. I’m done.

 

Shaun Keating: Let it begin, girl. Especially you. You should be celebrating Memorial Day extra good, what you’ve done and for our country and everything else, we really appreciate that and appreciate your husband too. Just thank you so much, man. It’s good talking to you. We’ve got to get you out of here, we’ve got different seminars here. We’ve got to get you out and you can come out here, bring that little kid of yours. You can keep your husband home if you want or you could bring him, however you want. We’ll put you over at Wally World, over at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, we’ve got all sorts of stuff to play with.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, I’m working on it.

 

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m working on it now that I have Dr. Peters here to back me up, I can start doing some of those things. I’m looking forward to that. So definitely.

 

Shaun Keating: Well you know, we’ll fly you out and put you up and everything so just anytime, you let me know. You deserve a break, you know, so you need to get out, even if it’s a three or four day thing, man. Come out on a Thursday, Thursday night and you’re only missing Friday of work and you can fly back on Sunday. Fly right into John Wayne airport, it’s about two minutes from us but we’ve got all the beaches, everything else. It’ll be fun.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I know it. I know it.

 

Shaun Keating: All right man, well hey. Thank you again, so much. Hey everybody I want to thank you for tuning into this weeks Dental Up Podcast. If you could, go to iTunes and go to our Dental Up Podcast and leave us a review, we greatly appreciate it. Again, Dr. Thomas, thanks again, have a great weekend and God bless you.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Thanks Shaun, have a good one.

 

Shaun Keating: All right man, see you later.

 

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Bye.

 

Shaun Keating: Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shaun Keating: Hey everybody! I’d like to welcome you to this weeks Dental Up Podcast here at Keating Dental Arts in Irvine, California. This week we’re talking to Dr. Deanna Thomas. She is from Hermitage, Pennsylvania. What’s up Dr. Thomas?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Not a whole lot Shaun, just looking for the sun to come out again here. There’s been a lot of rain.

Shaun Keating: I bet, man. That’s so cool. Thank you so much for taking the time. I know you’re so busy, I want to just thank you for all the years working together but I really wanted to talk to you on this little Podcast about some of the things you’re doing. Before we get started, I always like to start off with sports and stuff and I know you’re a big basketball fan. Who’s your team out there? You like the Cavaliers or what?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Of course, I love the Cavs, they rock.

Shaun Keating: That’s so crazy. I know, that dude, Lebron has been to the Finals the last seven years straight. You know, with multiple teams; first with Cleveland, then with Miami and then back with Cleveland; but seven straight years, man. The dude just passed all time scoring leader, Michael Jordan, in the payoffs after last nights game but he is a stud but you know, we are California; the Golden State; and we do like our Warriors here, now that the Lakers kind of suck. Good for you guys. It’s going to be a great series, Golden State against the Cavaliers again, it’s the third year in a row that they’ve actually played man, it’s like three years in a row, last year the Cavaliers were down three to one and they came back and won everything but good for you.

Our ducks, I’m a big Ducks fan here. I do a lot of the guys’ dental work and we lost to the Nashville Predators in Hockey and then your Pittsburgh Penguins, Hockey Champs from last year, they’re playing again, they beat out Ottawa at double overtime last night. Ottawa man, Canada hasn’t had a team in the final in like over 20 years, the poor Canadians, you know.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh, then there we go.

Shaun Keating: So, go Pittsburgh man, they gotta be happy. Well heck and then we got, what do we got? Sunday, we got the 100 First Annual Indie 500, that’ll be a good one, looking forward to that.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh yeah.

Shaun Keating: And then we’ve got Memorial Day and I want to thank you for your service for our Country, you know, you’ve been in the, heck man over two decades. Weren’t you in the Army and the National Guard for over 20 plus years?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yes.

Shaun Keating: Thank you. Thank you for your service and all that. I remember always talking to you on the phone on cases and you’re talking about like you were in Afghanistan and stuff or Iraq or where were you?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I was in Iraq, in Baghdad in 2005.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, good times.

Shaun Keating: How did that work? Were you a dentist in the Army and working on the guys or what did you do?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Right. I was a dentist with the National Guard and I didn’t do a whole lot of dentistry because we didn’t really have the supplies or the equipment, unfortunately. Mostly, the function for the Dental Officer is to do triage when we have casualties, stuff like that. So I did actually have some experience with that kind of thing. It was a little bit different. It was a good opportunity, I worked with some really great physicians. I learned a lot about medicine which I thought was unique and basically required me to change my perspective in life and re-organize my priorities and just made me appreciate a lot more of what we have here.

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: A lot of people don’t realize what it’s like to go into another country except for to those tourist places. When you see people just getting blown up and bombed everyday in their homes, it’s kind of, it is kind of sad.

Shaun Keating: It is.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Definitely.

Shaun Keating: Wow, we thank you for that and I just think people don’t really realize a lot how important Memorial Day really is. It’s not just a holiday. It’s something that through the years, all the people that have given their lives for our freedom and all the people that have served, to help us be a free nation. I’m a Navy brat. My dad was in the Navy 31 years and I’m just very thankful for what he did. I’m very thankful for what you did and what everyone else does in the service. I mean, hats off to you man. Yeah, you’re a great dentist. How did that work with your dental education, with your training? Did you get, like my brother went in the Navy also and they paid for his dental scholarship. Did you go through? Tell me a little bit about your college and how that worked.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: When I was a third year dental student, I started talking to the recruiters but I decided that I wasn’t willing to make a commitment because I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in the next three years, I just didn’t want to make the commitment. Once I was done with dental school, then I decided, well I had worked in a few places around my hometown and wasn’t really thrilled with it. So I called them up and started in the Navy. After five years of active duty in the Navy, they still didn’t have any money. They had programs for loan re-payment but they had no appropriations so there was no money for it, so I’m like, “I gotta pay these loans back,” cause I had about 120 at the time, now it’s doubled from my new Associate. She’s coming out with twice as much, it really sucks.

After that they had a program where you could do loan repayment so I signed up with the guard and they paid off my loans cause at the time they offered 50 grand for loan repayment and then after maybe about six or seven years ago, they finally decided they’re not going to keep dentists in the military if they’re not going to pay back their 120, $200,000 loans, so they increased the limit, paid off the rest of my loan and I did get it paid that was but I was like, “I’m not paying for this. I’m going to pay $200 for the rest of my life,” you know?

Shaun Keating: That’s so crazy.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I had such a low interest rate, you know, but.

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: It worked so, it was only a headache in paperwork, obviously. It wasn’t a simple process but it was worth it. I appreciate it. Makes retire a little bit more palatable and sooner coming.

Shaun Keating: Well, there’s still a lot of people with debt that didn’t go into the service, that I don’t know, 10, 15, 20 years, takes quite a long time to pay it off. A lot of these guys, I’m looking at these younger students that are three, four, $500,000 in debt and that’s just for the college. They haven’t even got into any practice debt. If they could even afford, how do they do that? I just don’t know how, this day and age.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I don’t know, I don’t see how they can.

Shaun Keating: It’s just such a tough thing. Even with me with my lab, when I went and expanded in 2004, I had to do the SBA, the Small Business Association, I got loans through them but I’m so dumb, I didn’t realize, I just knew I wanted to grow my lab. I got like $1.7 million in loans and it’s a trip but I paid them all off. You’ve just got to go for it but good for you. Now, tell me a little bit about how you were telling us about, you know, we’ve been working together probably like 20 years, long time but did you do to make the decision to bring on a partner? I know you’ve got Dr. Noel Peters now and she’s kicking butt. Right? She’s doing great. But what made you decide to bring on a partner but also you went digital and that’s what I really want to talk to you about; going digital.

I know there’s some of the, several different systems you were considering and what motivated you to pick the system that you have and what you have is the 3SHAPE TRIOS, which is, in my book, the top of the line man, it is the top. Tell me a little bit about that, your thoughts on that, Dr. Thomas.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I brought on an associate because I just had way too much work to do and I felt like I was killing myself and then I finally had a practice evaluation, they said, “You have enough work her for two full time dentists,” and I said, “Do I really?” And so they said, “Yeah,” because I was very worried about it, for two people to work full time and to still make a paycheck for me too. We brought her on and she worked at a couple of other little practices around the town at the time and people die and retire and all of that kind of stuff and just kind of found her again anyway. We do a lot of advertising on the internet and we’re trying to pick up our social media sites but I think, I mean I was busy all the time, I don’t know if people like us or something like that.

So anyways, she’s come along and she’s doing dental implants. She did a residency to do implants so she’s starting to do, what we call, the slam dunk. If I see you, as the example, then she’s doing it and then some graphing and just stuff like that. Doing surgery. So, that’s kind of cool cause I don’t like to any of that. I’m doing a couple of fillings and single unit crowning, no, I want to keep it simple.

Shaun Keating: Do it.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m ready to be done. And then, anyway, for a while, cause I’ve always been a little bit of a tech nerd, we started looking at digital dentistry, I didn’t know then, because our practice was mostly based on insurance. So, you know, is this something that’s going to cost effective? Am I doing enough of that to warrant the purchase of a scanner? When she came along we increased our volume, decided to start looking around, went to all the shows, looked at the Cerec mostly, I thought it was kind of complicated. Just too much for me, once I saw the 3SHAPE, it’s just so simple, it’s like really easy to use and I called Keating Dental Arts, talked I think mostly to Bob Brendan about what are you guys using, what’s the advantages, what’s the disadvantages cause I know, I wanted to be able to continue my relationship with you guys. It’s probably harder to get a divorce than to change your-

Shaun Keating: Dental lab.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Dental lab. So, we talked about it a lot, we had them demo it and we just picked it up and started using it and I’m like, “Well, we’re just going to try to it with everything,” and Dean has been really, super great at helping us figure it out and put it together.

Shaun Keating: That’s so cool.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I think it’s just been marvelous, you know. It’s nice, plus they have good tech support and again, being able to call. I talked to Dean probably at least once or twice a week, not so much now. I’m not working as much. He’s talking to Noel now but all the time, trying to figure things out and make it more efficient on both our ends and I really appreciate, he finally, after about a year, I asked him, I said, “What can I do to make it better for you,” and just threw out a couple little suggestions. I was like, “Okay, I can take it, I’m a big girl,” I want it to be simple and easy and to work. I like it. It’s pretty cool. Patients think it’s fantastic.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, it is amazing. It really is and you’re talking about Dean Tassey, he’s our CAD/CAM Manager and he can make things really easy and what I really love about the 3SHAPE in the TRIOS, we have several different scanners but 3SHAPE we have probably 10 of those but we have a bunch of different kinds. 3SHAPE is the best and what I really like is when you do a scan in the mouth, we get it immediately where everything else, it takes about an hour cause you have to clean it up when it comes through but the 3SHAPE is instantaneous to us and it’s just so … it just seems so accurate and so much nicer but again, it is a little bit more than the other ones that you can kind of put together and buy them in pieces and the 3SHAPE for the money and everything else, the TRIOS is just really, I think it’s just a winner out there, man.

We’ve even noticed on your cases, they’re going in better, they’re going in cleaner, it kind of makes you a better dentist having to be able to practice with that magnification. It really did change how, we have little to no remakes. Not that we had many at all but it just gets things so much more accurate. I’m just really proud of you cause I know you, you’re always, “Sean, when can we do this?” Whenever I got you on, I think it was a Shade Device, what was that one?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh yeah, I forgot what it was.

Shaun Keating: Vita or something.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, I don’t know. It was like a little white box, I don’t remember.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, couple grams, something ridiculous. I think we had problems with calibration between lab and the office when that was calibrated and then this one but you’ve always been looking to stay on the cutting edge. I just like your staff, your staff kicks butt man, you really do, everyone there. You have a really great staff. Tell me a little bit, you were saying about working on your marketing because we have a lot of dentists that are young, starting off and you know, basically I’m bringing in my doctors on these Podcasts and just kind of ask about their practice. What kind of advice could you give to a starting practice or some of the newer practices as to when it comes to marketing in your town or if you’re doing social media; can you tell me a little bit about what you do?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Well, in our town, when I first started practicing, we used basically the newspaper because that was the most popular mode around these parts and then shortly thereafter, I had a website developed by a dental branding, I believe it was. It wasn’t very simple for me to access and change photos or text or anything because like every time I touched it, it was just a total nightmare. So I found, at a dental town meeting, a company called Great Dental Websites and they were just like-

Shaun Keating: Great. That’s awesome.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. They’re on top of it. Every month they call and they’re like, “You need to do this, this, this and this. This, this and that,” and like okay, okay, okay. I’ve got the list going. I’m working on it, I’m getting a lot of it done. One thing that I was doing recently is we videoed me Dental Assistants, they do all the scanning and then temporize and all of that because once we prep, we’ll put some cord in and then I’m done. They actually do all of that and just by the way, I don’t really do any of that. I did go to one of them, we did a couple of crowns on one of our staff members here and we did the video and we took a bunch of pictures and then we called Dean and we asked him if we could take a few shots, just as part of the process so we could put it all together and I’m working on that to put it on the website. We’re trying to work on putting some videos and stuff like that. Developing the website, a web presence I think probably the most important thing for anybody now days because that’s where people are getting their information.

Shaun Keating: Everybody’s always on their phone and going to their device. I’ve seen you on Facebook. We’ve always been on it but I never got on it until a couple months ago, I just started you know likes and stuff, I never knew how to do it. My team always did it.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: That’s basically how I am.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. I liked it today, something under Deanna Thomas Dental or something and I’m like, “I know her,” and I like your other staff and stuff. You’ve got a bunch of, freaking women in that office. You’ve got like 10 women and one dude, huh?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. He’s actually trying to get into dental school right now. He’s working here and we’re trying to do whatever we can; write him letters, find a way to get him educated and get him in the business.

Shaun Keating: There you go. That’s awesome.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah.

Shaun Keating: That is so cool.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. We have a lot of people that float through so it’s kind of cool. A lot of students from schools and things like that so dentists, our dentist assistants, whatever.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: It’s just fun. Keeps it exciting.

Shaun Keating: Tell me a little bit about Hermatige, what’s what? Is that by Pittsburgh?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Hermitage.

Shaun Keating: Hermitage. Okay.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Hermitage, yeah it’s like right in between Pittsburgh and Cleveland on the Western border of Pennsylvania. We’re closest to Youngstown. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that.

Shaun Keating: Oh, Youngstown State, man. That’s a party town there. They’ve got a good football team too.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, they have some nice athletic programs. Now, they have a lot of business programs, they’re starting incubator programs and all kind of really neat stuff going on. That’s where we usually hang out to shop or party because Hermitage doesn’t have a whole lot. It’s an old steel town and the mills are closed, the hospital’s been bought out, our mall just lost Macy’s and Sears so it’s kind of like on a down spiral.

Shaun Keating: Do you got a pub or do you got a bar you can go to at least?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. There’s plenty of those.

Shaun Keating: That’s all.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: There’s no shortage of that. Yeah.

Shaun Keating: That’s really all that matters to some people. No, just kidding.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: We frequent those places.

Shaun Keating: What about, now your husband’s in the service too, wasn’t he or no?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, he was in the Army. Yeah, he’s still in the Reserves. He’ll finish next August I think he’s going to be done.

Shaun Keating: No kidding. I remember I’d always talk to you and you’d go, “He’s been gone for a year,” and I’d be like, “Damn, what are you doing by yourself all that time?” I mean-

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I know, working.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, working your butt off while he’s over there on the boat hanging out with his buddies.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, he had some interesting trips over there. He’s an MP so he had a different job.

Shaun Keating: That’s crazy. I bet you he’d beat the crap out of people, if he’s an MP, he’s gotta be tough. You can’t be the skinny boy to be the MP.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: No, he’s not. He’s a hard ass.

Shaun Keating: So tell me a little bit about your hobbies, what do you like to do instead of dentistry a little bit?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I have a 13 year old that keeps me busy that I cart everywhere, I’m his personal taxi service and chef.

Shaun Keating: You will be in a long time for that. 13, you better keep an eye on him.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah. My escape is I had somewhere with blue water and scuba dive, I’ve always enjoyed that. I try to break loose and do some diving but around here, not a whole lot, just hanging out with my friends and riding my bike, just do nerdy stuff on my computer. I’m on our school board so that sucks up a lot of my time too and working with some other local businesses, start ups and just keeping busy like that. That’s my social life; being on boards and meetings.

Shaun Keating: That sounds cool though. I mean I miss having my kid at that age. 13, he’s just starting high school coming up and that’s all politics there but it’s nothing greater than to have your kids right there and just kind of dealing with all of the parents and stuff. I don’t know, I kind of miss that. My boys are 32 and 30 now and it’s like dude, I kind of miss that so we’re waiting for grandchildren. Gosh. I wish I had a 13 year old boy. I’d be throwing a football saying, “You’re going to be a running back for the NFL,” or whatever. If he’s a big boy, he’d be a lineman or-

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, my kid says he’s going to play in the MLB but I told him he has to have a back up plan.

Shaun Keating: Oh, good for you.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: He’s a baseball player. He plays all the sports, whatever’s in season; we’re doing baseball, basketball and every other year football.

Shaun Keating: There you go. Keep in mind, that damn phone, I seen a great little picture on social media and it showed these little kids like drinking out of the hose and stomping in the mud and just playing outside, doing all of this stuff; these three kids, and then it showed the other three kids with their head buried in a phone. And it showed like where we grew up ad then now the kids now days. It was like, keep their heads out of those damn inter webs and phones and keep them in activities, man. Keep them busy. Keep them relating to people and being, I don’t know, just active. I think that’s real important. I’m thankful, I’ve always got to kid around, well the kids didn’t die on my watch, man. That was my whole thing, just keep those little bastards alive. Not having anything bad-

Dr. Deanna Thomas: That’s what I say all the time. Yeah. I just caught my kid and him and three friends the other day, I saw them walking down a local nature trail, all with their pants off and their shirts off cause they were all muddy from playing in the river and they all came home with poison ivy. It’s just like, really? You’re just like out just walking around in your underwear? And I’m like, “Whatever.” At least their not on the couch.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: They’re at their fishing holes and their bicycles, pushing the bike and I’m like, “Where’s my bike?” Because they popped the tire and just threw it into the woods, stuff like that. That’s just like routine. That’s routine, you know, 13 year old boy routine crazy.

Shaun Keating: That’s so neat. Now, are you able to shoot guns out in Pennsylvania and stuff in the hills?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Sometimes. Yeah, we do.

Shaun Keating: You can’t really do that here in California, they’re kind of weird here.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah.

Shaun Keating: I had a BB gun that even my took that away from me because the BB’s kept going into the pool and they rusted the bottom of the granite in the pool so I’m not allow with BB gun’s anymore.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, that’s probably a good idea.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Kind of. I’m not real good with that kind of stuff. I’m an idiot when it comes to keeping yourself under control and not being a knucklehead. But hey, I want to thank you for this time. I appreciate it. I know you’re real busy today. I can’t thank you enough. How’s our work doing? How are we doing? We doing okay in the lab? Are we solid?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: We’re doing fantastic and I’m very happy that anything that we can’t ever figure out, that I know that I can call and somebody there is going to help me work through it and figure it out. I’m very satisfied. I appreciate everything that you do for us.

Shaun Keating: Thank you. We do with you too man. It’s just a relationship that I think, it’s important to have with the dentists that you work with and for us, finally in all of the years of never really seeing each other too. You’re probably looking at me like, “You kind of look like Colonel Sanders,” and you look younger than heck. I always thought you were young but you just look very nice, beautiful woman and you’re a great dentist and I bet you the town Hermitage is very lucky to have Dr. Deanna Thomas is their city taking care of them.

Whatever we can do to make your practice easier, let us know and again, if you have any patient that’s just really down and out of their luck and we’ve got to do a grill on them, just let me know, call me up and we’ll take care of you. I know you do work with insurance and I do know it’s tough out there and I know that you’ve had ups and downs through the years with people and lack of insurance and what they’re only paying. I know our cost can be a little more than others out there. You’ve stuck with us through it and you just continually always try to get better and you’ve always been there for us. I know you get, like every one of our dentists, they get solicited a lot by other labs and probably cheaper this and that.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Oh, every day.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, I know. I thank you for sticking with us and again, Dr. Thomas, anything we can ever do, man, you just let us know.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I sure will.

Shaun Keating: Cool. Well Memorial Day, are you done with work or do you still have to go back to work?

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m just done, I think. I’m done.

Shaun Keating: Let it begin, girl. Especially you. You should be celebrating Memorial Day extra good, what you’ve done and for our country and everything else, we really appreciate that and appreciate your husband too. Just thank you so much, man. It’s good talking to you. We’ve got to get you out of here, we’ve got different seminars here. We’ve got to get you out and you can come out here, bring that little kid of yours. You can keep your husband home if you want or you could bring him, however you want. We’ll put you over at Wally World, over at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, we’ve got all sorts of stuff to play with.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Yeah, I’m working on it.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I’m working on it now that I have Dr. Peters here to back me up, I can start doing some of those things. I’m looking forward to that. So definitely.

Shaun Keating: Well you know, we’ll fly you out and put you up and everything so just anytime, you let me know. You deserve a break, you know, so you need to get out, even if it’s a three or four day thing, man. Come out on a Thursday, Thursday night and you’re only missing Friday of work and you can fly back on Sunday. Fly right into John Wayne airport, it’s about two minutes from us but we’ve got all the beaches, everything else. It’ll be fun.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: I know it. I know it.

Shaun Keating: All right man, well hey. Thank you again, so much. Hey everybody I want to thank you for tuning into this weeks Dental Up Podcast. If you could, go to iTunes and go to our Dental Up Podcast and leave us a review, we greatly appreciate it. Again, Dr. Thomas, thanks again, have a great weekend and God bless you.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Thanks Shaun, have a good one.

Shaun Keating: All right man, see you later.

Dr. Deanna Thomas: Bye.

Shaun Keating: Bye.

 

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