Special Needs Dentistry and Communication

Special Needs Dentistry and Communication

Shaun Keating CDT + Shawn Casey DMD

This week we have a special guest, Dr. Shawn Casey DMD practicing in Piston PA to discuss how he has created a truly family oriented practice. From providing care to patients with special needs and children to offering implants and orthodontics, Dr. Casey has been able to bring many aspects of dentistry under one roof to convenience his family clientele.

Dr. Casey has a staff of 10 doctors and specialists who have learned to communicate and work together to accomplish a common goal of providing excellent dental care.

Join us to learn how Dr. Casey has created a unique practice of multiple doctors and specialists which work together through communication, the obstacles that special needs patients present and how Dr. Casey and Keating Dental Lab provided dental care to football legend, Rudy Ruettiger from the movie football movie Rudy.

For more information on Dr. Casey’s multi-faceted dental practice visit his site:

Full Transcription

Shaun Keating: Hey, everybody, Shaun Keating here. I want to welcome you to this week’s episode of the Dental Up podcast here at Keating Dental Lab in beautiful Irvine, California. This week, we have a special guest on the show. He’s a longtime partner of ours, and he’s been with us since we started our lab. He runs a thriving dental practice in Pittston, Pennsylvania. Please welcome Dr. Shawn Casey, DMD. What’s up, baby?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Nothing much. What’s happening? Thanks for having me on your show.

Shaun Keating: Aw, dude, that is so cool. I was, I always like, I think of you all the time, because way back in the day, I remember, we’ve worked together for a long time, but I remember, I’m such a football nut, and somehow you knew Rudy Ruettiger from Notre Dame, and we did his case. We did all his teeth, man, and I got to meet the guy. He came to our lab a few times and went to Vegas once, but tell me a little bit about that, Dr. Casey. How the heck did you get to meet Rudy?

I mean, that was, I still freaking cry to that movie when I see it, and I see it probably once every two, three months, when it’s on cable somewhere. I’ll just watch it, like when he sneaks into the coach’s room, or just like his brother giving him crap in the stands, and like, who’s never stayed at the steel mill, and you know, the whole thing. Ned Beatty is his father, wasn’t it? What a great show, dude. How the heck did you end up meeting Rudy Ruettiger? Tell me a little bit about that.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Well, you’re right about the movie. The movie’s actually shown all over the world at any given time, over in big daytime. That movie’s actually being shown somewhere.

Shaun Keating: I bet.

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s funny that you said that. Yeah, we see it every once in a while, but it is a classic movie, it’s a great movie, it’s an inspirational movie. Every kid, every adult loves it. Men and female, they all love the movie. I was in charge of, with a name like Shawn Casey, first of all, you could tell how you and I liked each other with the first name Shawn. You don’t see too many of those being in society, but …

Shaun Keating: Exactly.

Dr. Shawn Casey: We met one time … We were trying to get a speaker to come to our banquet. It was the Friendly Sons of Greater Pittston. Every year, we have speakers that come in, so I said, “We’re going to try to get Rudy.” We had a long list of speakers. You know, for example, we had vice president Joe Biden a few years ago.

Shaun Keating: Oh, wow.

Dr. Shawn Casey: We had other athletes, we had other important people, a lot of generals, a lot of people on the federal level, state level of government, come and speak. We had Tim Russert, the late Tim Russert from NBC, come and speak to us, so it’s a pretty organization that has a lot of good speakers, so we wanted to try to raise the bar and keep it the same, so my choice was to pick him, being everybody loves Notre Dame from the area, and a name like Shawn Casey being Irish, I figured it’d be a great match.

I called him up and he said, “Yeah, I’ll come and speak for your organization. I’ve been there a few times.” He knew a local person, a gentleman that was a leprechaun that he went to school with, so he had a little connection to our area. I ended up calling him up, he came in, and the night before, Ed Rendell was the governor of Pennsylvania at the time, he closed half the state due to a nasty blizzard.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: He’d actually flew into Pittsburgh. He was supposed to fly into Philadelphia, into Wilkes-Barre Scranton, so he flew into Pittsburgh. I got so lucky. What happened was, when he landed the plane, I had a person who was coming to the banquet leaving that morning from Pittsburgh, actually picked him up from Pittsburgh and took him here in the snow. You couldn’t even travel on 81 or Interstate 80. It was shut down. There was snow everywhere. We got like 18 inches of snow within a short period of time.

When I called him on the phone when he landed in Pittsburgh, he said, “How am I going to get to you?” I said, “Rudy, you remember the scene when you went to the grotto and lit all the candles?” I said, “I burned five churches down to get you here. I went to every church to light a candle to get you here.”

Shaun Keating: That’s cool.

Dr. Shawn Casey: He showed up and he spoke at the banquet, and ever since then, we had a great relationship, and he knew I can get things done, because I got him from Pittsburgh to the banquet, no problem. Then he had a problem flying out the next morning. I got him on a flight out of Valentine, which is about an hour away.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: We became good friends. He invited us out to Notre Dame, my wife and my three beautiful children. We hung out with him, got a great experience, and he showed us how the movie was made, and how everything was put together, and different cast of characters, and you know, different scenes and why they picked part of the campus, and the dorm room that he lived in, and where he stayed at the stadium, and some people that knew him and everything, so we had a great time and a great experience, and we became friends ever since.

Shaun Keating: That is such a cool story. I mean, I never knew that you went all the way out there and went to the stadium and all that. That’s so unbelievable. People would give their left nut to do that, man, just to tap the touchdown Jesus or whatever, or, gosh, that just, that’s just so crazy, man.

Dr. Shawn Casey: My son, at the time, was, he was still live in seventh grade, so when he got the tour with him, he was like, he was in awe. You couldn’t talk to my son. He was just so thrilled that Rudy gave the tour around the campus. He had a great time out.

Shaun Keating: Can you believe that? You know, he is such, I guess that’s what he does, motivational speeches, and, you know, he’s a speaker from, you know, and just, it’s just a neat thing. We actually got him, after we did his teeth and everything, and we got him to come out to Vegas, because he lives in Vegas, and we had a Dentaltown show, and I remember I had it to where I was talking to Howard Farran, and I said, “Dude, man, let’s get Rudy to do a little speech,” so he did like the keynote, I think, or something. We had him do it there.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah.

Shaun Keating: The thing was, they all had to come by the booth afterwards, my booth, the Keating Dental Lab booth, to get a signed picture or whatever, but that was like the best, most volume we ever got at a dental show, where doctors, we could get their information or give them a free packet of our lab scripts and fee schedule, but they had to come through because I had Rudy at my thing.

There was hundreds of people in line after that speech, and you know, I remember listening to him there, and just so engaged with the guy, his story, and what he came from, and, you know, the perseverance and everything that, God, it just, it brought a tear to your eye just listening to him talk, and it just pumped you up. What a great guy, what a great story. I think he, he doesn’t like me. I get a little tipsy sometimes and I’ll dial Rudy Ruettiger. I’ll tell my buddies, man, after we throw a few back, I’m like, “Hey,” and I’m like, “Rudy, Rudy.”

He’s like, “Shaun, you’ve got a few pops in you, huh, Shaun?” I’m like, “Yeah,” and he just, he’s the coolest dude. I mean, he signed, I’ve got a whole Notre Dame football here, signed. I’ve got a helmet signed from him and for the Keating Dental Lab and all this stuff, and just a great, very humble person, and just very thankful for what you did and what we did, you know, for his teeth. God, that’s just a great story, dude. He is such a good guy. God, what a hero, man, to be out there.

Even my son, our youngest son, Travis, he has like a Fighting Irish on his chest, over his left, you know, by his heart, I think, or the right side. It’s a pretty big one, you know, four or five inch covering his whole, you know, Fighting Irish, you know? He’s just, we love our, we love our Irish heritage here, you know? God, the Fighting Irish.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You can go anywhere, if it’s … We were at a card show in Chicago. Every year, they do a sports memorabilia show, and they go either Anaheim, Chicago, Atlantic City, or Cleveland, and it’s a very popular show and he’s always there in attendance, signing autographs, or meeting people. He did some work with Steiner Sports now, but no matter what part of the show, if you’re walking a few aisles away, there’s always a bunch of guys chanting, “Rudy,” out there, so it’s, you know where the booth is soon as you walk into the place.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, it’s nothing but, “Rudy, Rudy.” Oh, that’s so cool, dude.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Never gets old, he says. Never gets old.

Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet. You know, for that dude to live the life he’s lived for, basically, what did he get, one play in? I mean, to actually make the team is one thing, but he got out there for one or two plays, and he, it’s true that he did tackle that …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yes, but it was offsides.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, but he did tackle that quarterback, didn’t he, or something? I think in the movie, he did it, but I think in real life, he actually got somebody, the running back or the quarterback.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Playing time, he got the playing time in, yeah.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. That’s so cool, dude. What about you, man? You’re in a area, what is it, western Pennsylvania? Is Pittston in western Pennsylvania?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Well, that’d be more towards Pittsburgh. I’m in northeast central, northeast Pennsylvania.

Shaun Keating: Okay.

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s near the Poconos, Wilkes-Barre Scranton area, about two hours from Philly, two hours from New York.

Shaun Keating: Okay. What’s your …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Scranton, the home of the show The Office. Everybody loves The Office.

Shaun Keating: Oh, you’re kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s in Scranton, yeah.

Shaun Keating: Oh, I love that show. That’s so great. What’s your teams out there, man? Are you Phillies, you Pirates, 76ers? What else?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Well, everybody likes the Phillies, but not, that’s not my particular choice. I’m a diehard Yankee fan. I like the Yankees.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I think Aaron Judge is from Mt. Irvine. He’s out that neck of the woods near you.

Shaun Keating: Who’s that?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Aaron Judge.

Shaun Keating: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: He’s one of the upcoming stars for the Yankees. He’s not doing too good now, but I think he’s going to come back strong. You know, the Steelers, lot of Eagle fans here. It’s divided. Actually, our area is divided between the New York Giants and the Eagles.

Shaun Keating: Can you believe it?

Dr. Shawn Casey: More toward state college, you’re going to pick up more Steeler fans. Lot of Yankee fans here, and a lot of Philly fans, kind of mixed.

Shaun Keating: No kidding. Yeah, you guys are …

Dr. Shawn Casey: No one likes the Mets or the Jets.

Shaun Keating: Hey, we’ve got the Lambs out here, the Rams now, man. I don’t think we’re going to be too good this year, but at least we got our team back. I mean, I grew up, you know, taking our kids to watch the Rams in the Coliseum, then they moved down to Anaheim stadium towards the end of their time here, but man, we miss it, and for all the years going out to San Diego, and they’d always end up losing, you know, and you know, it’s just kind of, kind of got frustrated with them, and now we’ve got the Chargers down here, too. It’s like, gosh.

They keep sending me, “Well, do you want Charger tickets and Ram tickets?” I just, “No, I just want Ram tickets.” I’m done with the Chargers. I went to the Chargers because I didn’t have my Rams. Now I’ve got the Rams, and it’s just, it’s kind of neat to have football back. I mean, it’s kind of a neat thing, but we’re excited, man. It’s August time. It’s marlin time, August, September, and football time. My favorite times of year, football’s starting and the marlins start running.

The temp gets a little bit hot out in the waters here, and we get to go get those little striped marlins and catch and release them, but I love catching those little bastards. There’s nothing like it, man, seeing them come out of the water and, yeah, I got my team that, you know, basically will bait it, get it on the hook, then hand it to my fat ass and say, “Here you go, boss,” and I get to fight these things, and it’s pretty neat, but yeah. I like pulling on little calico … I like pulling on any fish.

I’m not a real big fishing eating guy, but it’s a good time of year right now. Heck, compared to other parts of the states, you know, I mean, we’ve got 90 degrees, beautiful, sunny weather, and God, you think of Houston and all that rain. What the heck’s it raining in August? I mean, but just …

Dr. Shawn Casey: You watch that devastation on TV, it’s unbelievable. I mean, you can’t even …

Shaun Keating: I just …

Dr. Shawn Casey: I mean, it’s just, I never saw stuff like that in my life. I mean, you see pictures of old floods that occurred in our area, and you see pictures of floods in Katrina, and, you know, as you get older, I think you look at the glass a little bit different, but …

Shaun Keating: Yeah, it totally …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Any age looks at this. It’s just like, how can this even happen?

Shaun Keating: You know, it really does. I mean, how … You never even thought that, like, Louisiana and the area, it’s just the way the land is. I know out here, like, I wanted to buy this little place in San Clemente, and it was like right on the water, and like, the water was right there, and it was like, you know, you only had about 20 feet of beach, but the insurance companies and the banks wouldn’t even loan you money on it, because they’re saying in 10 years, the way the water is encroaching, you just don’t know with Mother Nature, and, you know?

That’s why we went up on a hill a little bit, so we’re in the tsunami zone. You come up to my hill where you overlook the water, but that’s scary stuff, when you’re by the water like that, but you never knew Houston and everything was so, just, they have those little aqueducts and all those little things that were built 100 years ago or whatever, to curtail that water, but all it takes is Mother Nature to come and do that one time, and look at the devastation.

That’s just, you look at this town and these houses, and the water’s up to the top of their garage doors, man. That’s freaking nuts.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Right.

Shaun Keating: Scary stuff.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Unbelievable.

Shaun Keating: Thank you, Lord, and I pray for all you guys out there, for your safety, and yeah, I just hope everything works out for them, for sure. All right, dude, let’s Dental Up a little bit, man. Tell me there, Dr. Casey, how did you get into dentistry, and at what point did you think, “I want to be a dentist?”

Dr. Shawn Casey: I was in ninth grade in high school, and I had my braces put on by Dr. Tony Kuprionas, and Tony actually, later in life, came to me, he works for me, retired now. I just started liking that and got into it a little bit and asked him a bunch of questions, and next thing led to it, I just wanted to do it, so I knew since I was in ninth grade in high school I wanted to become a dentist. I have a cousin who’s also a dentist also, too.

He was originally going to become a doctor, and then we talked about how dentistry can be a better field, and he encouraged me, he re-encouraged me to make sure I was picking the right choice. Went to Wilkes College in Wilkes-Barre, now called Wilkes University. It was small then.

Shaun Keating: Is that in Pittsburgh or …?

Dr. Shawn Casey: In Wilkes-Barre, right in Wilkes-Barre. Then I went to the University of Dental School in Pittsburgh.

Shaun Keating: Oh, okay.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I went to Pittsburgh for dental school.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, that’s weird.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Graduated there in 1994.

Shaun Keating: Oh, you’re just a puppy. You know, my brother did the same thing. He kind of got into it. He’s the oldest one, and he, my oldest brother, there’s four boys, and then I was the youngest of them, but he was about ninth grade, and his teeth were kind of going every which way, looking like Dracula, and he had to get, see an orthodontist, and he had some teeth that were just kind of going every which way, so he really got into it at that time, about ninth grade, knowing he kind of wanted to be a dentist.

When I was like in eighth grade and he was like out of high school and just starting dental school, he kind of put in my ear, “Shaun,” because he was making my mouthpieces for football at the time, and I knew by eighth grade that I was going to be a dental technician, because I wasn’t real smart. I was more in the athletic part, but I knew from like eighth grade, because he always said, “Shaun, I’m going to be a dentist, and you can be my dental lab technician. You can make my mouth guards and make my teeth.”

I’m like, “Dude,” so I kind of always knew it and always had it in the back of my head. You know, when I get out of high school, “I’m going to be a dental tech,” but that’s so cool, you know, the way the teeth kind of brought you into it. That’s one of the first dentists I’ve heard say that, so that’s kind of cool. Tell me a little bit about, what do you find passionate about, in terms of dentistry? What do you like doing? What you don’t like doing? Tell me a little bit about that.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I like the idea of, I mean, so I’m practicing now for over 20 years, and I see different challenges amongst different students graduating from dental school today. They’re in a lot of debt, whereas years ago, not too many people were in a lot of debt, with their dental school loans and everything else. My passion is try to create a work environment that we can have dentists, specialists, and everybody work together in one facility, work as a team.

I’m very passionate about the team approach, so you know, we have a facility here where we have specialists, orthodontists, along with pediatric dentists and ourselves, and we have a special needs dental clinic. We try to basically take care of all access to care and means that are, that the area needs.

If we can create an environment with special technologies and all this other, you know, latest and greatest stuff that this next generation is used to using, we can provide a nice work environment for them, that’s my passionate, is trying to expand and grow and do it that way.

Shaun Keating: That’s awesome, dude. Tell me about your practice location. Now, your city there, it’s only like about 7,000 people. Am I right there, or not?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah, we’re in the greater Pittston area, as they like to call it, northeast Pennsylvania, NEPA for short, they call it. It’s a real growing area, as far as commercial real estate is concerned. For example, you know, we will have, when completed, the second biggest FedEx terminal next to Nashville, Tennessee, not even three miles away.

Shaun Keating: Oh, you’re kidding. We might have to switch to FedEx for you, huh? We’ve got UPS.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Well, UPS is also going to do the same thing. They’re also going to grow in leaps and bounds in our area. There are two big hubs up here, because the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Airport’s a smaller airport. It’s easy to get in, easy to get out. We’re right near major throughways like 80, 81, and PA turnpike. You know, New York City, from the docks, is only less than two hours away. Philadelphia docks are less than two hours away.

Shaun Keating: Ah, you’re kidding me. That’s awesome.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You put a rail switch station up in here, it’s a home run for everybody, so it’s easy to travel. You can go to 84 to go up towards Boston. You’re right here. There’s a lot of other businesses that are popular that settled here and they’re starting to grow. Amazon, one of the biggest ones on the Eastern Seaboard is what they’re predicting in a couple years.

They’re really growing that in leaps and bounds. They’re expanding, expanding, expanding over at Amazon. We have other companies, like there’s a company across the street that makes those yogurt lids. It’s the craziest business in the world, but they have three shifts of making yogurt cups and yogurt lids.

Shaun Keating: Can you believe that? That’s kind of like …

Dr. Shawn Casey: [inaudible 00:17:27] A lot of commercial developments are starting to develop over here, so we, hopefully it’s good. I remember being out to your place. Similar to what you have over there in those industrial pockets.

Shaun Keating: Yep.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You know, as they, it takes the West Coast first, then it comes to the East Coast later. It’s true. You know, we, when I was out there years ago, I seen that, how all the businesses were all together in the industrial park, and that was nice, so they started doing that around here.

Shaun Keating: It’s right by the airport at John Wayne, too, and this property has just went up so much because it’s so conveniently, we’re next to the 405 freeway and the 5 freeway and, you know, just, but that’s for any little hub of a city or whatever.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Convenience. Yeah, it works.

Shaun Keating: It’s very convenient. Yeah, that’s just, that’s amazing. Good for you. I mean, I like the thought of, too, being a big fish in a little pond, you know? 7,000 people, heck, even my place where I live in Dana Point, I mean, we’ve got like 20,000. That’s, you know, my company in Irvine, I’ve lived in Irvine for 25 years, and we moved out of there.

We’re up to like 280,000, you know? It’s like crazy, just for a city, you know, and it’s all kind of master planned Westworld type community, but it’s worked out pretty well. I just think 7,000 people, heck, we got that on a little concert on Friday night down at the local park.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You got that right. You got that right.

Shaun Keating: It’s just nuts, but that’s kind of, they kind of know all the people in town, and I bet you Shawn Casey’s the man in that town. Shawn Casey the dentist. Yeah, it’s …

Dr. Shawn Casey: My wife and I try to be really involved with the community, so we do a lot for the community. We try to get involved with every function that they do in our area.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, I mean …

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s the way of giving back, and we always, we did it since, we since, since we were young, so we just kept it up, you know? Small town, small community …

Shaun Keating: Oh, yeah. You’ve always been like, aren’t you a delegate of the AGD and some other things … Tell me a little bit about that, some of your extracurricular things you’re doing there.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah, in the past, I was real involved with the Academy of General Dentistry, the Pennsylvania chapter, PAGD. From that, you know, I got involved about maybe 15 years ago, and I started thinking a lot with advocacy and getting involved with, you know, there’s so many issues in dentistry today. Every state has their own, and just developing my career in that aspect. Really passionate about that. What I ended up doing is over a course of time, I got a position at the state board of dentistry, so I’m on the state board of dentistry in Pennsylvania.

Shaun Keating: That’s awesome.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I’m enjoying that. It’s kind of challenging, but it’s interesting.

Shaun Keating: Is that like peer review, too? You do that, or is that just part of it?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah. Well, it’s a combination. I mean, you see a lot of, if something goes wrong with a licensed practice dentist or a licensed dental hygienist or a licensed assistant, we review the situation. We’re, you know, there’s people involved before it even gets to us.

Shaun Keating: Okay.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Then we either agree with the punishment or we disagree with it, or if there’s an issue that we can discuss, then we would give our opinion on something, so it’s kind of interesting.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Kind of interesting.

Shaun Keating: Well, that’s awesome, dude. What about, tell me a little bit about your experience starting your practice. Now, did you start it straight out of college in ’94, or did you work for an associate, or did you just go balls to the walls and go and start it up?

Dr. Shawn Casey: All in.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I graduated in ’94 in dentistry. I finished a lot of my dental requirements up in ’93 going into ’94, so I had some time on my hands. I was married in dental school in ’92, so my wife was back home a little bit trying to hold the fort down for me. I wanted to build my own practice. I was going to go in with somebody. We talked about it, then halfway through conversation, he changed his mind, and I didn’t look back. I mean, I set up, it was a 18,000 square foot office.

Shaun Keating: Oh, jeez.

Dr. Shawn Casey: We set up there in September of ’94, and …

Shaun Keating: That’s huge, dude.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I didn’t look back.

Shaun Keating: 18,000 or 18 …

Dr. Shawn Casey: We keep on growing.

Shaun Keating: 1,800 or …?

Dr. Shawn Casey: 1,800 square feet was my first office, yeah.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: By the end of 2018, we’ll have over 25,000 square feet of practice dental facility.

Shaun Keating: That is so good, man. That’s balls to the wall. That’s like I did, you know? I was in like a 2,000 square foot place.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You started the lab. You took the challenge. You saw what it was like. I mean, it’s not easy. I mean, looking back, it’s not easy. I mean …

Shaun Keating: Looking back …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Would you do it again? I would definitely do it again. I would do it differently, but I would definitely do it again …

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: As a challenge, as a challenge. It’s a lot of sacrifice. It’s a lot of sacrifice.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, big risk, big rewards, you know? It’s just, I couldn’t imagine doing it again right now. I mean, back then, I was signing loans from SBA for $1.8 million totaled, and it was like buying a house, you know, you go through hundreds of papers, sign your name, sign your name. Me and my wife, we had no idea, you know?

I just knew if I built it they would come, blah blah blah, and shit, it worked, but now I’ll sit at home some nights, going, “Fuck, I can’t believe I did that.” It’s like, you know, it’s just crazy. You know, you just have to go for it, and shit, it worked out, man. I don’t know …

Dr. Shawn Casey: That’s what they say. The old saying around here is, “No balls, no glory.”

Shaun Keating: Yeah, exactly. Now I’m kind of a sissy boy.

Dr. Shawn Casey: If you play nice, the more you put down, the more you pick up. That’s the answer to [inaudible 00:22:31].

Shaun Keating: Oh, it’s so crazy, but no, good for you, dude. Tell me, in your practice, man, tell me like how many ops you’ve got working, the associates. I know you, it’s kind of neat, you’re doing a whole pediatric thing, and, with the children and all that, and I think you’re doing some special needs children, and, you know, I think you’re …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah, we’re trying, our, the goal is to have complete family dentistry in one facility, with the specialists. It’s been a struggle getting specialists, because some specialists don’t like to work with general dentists. They feel like no one’s going to refer to them, but we created a concept that we can keep them busy. That’s always the first question they have when I talk to the specialists. Our pediatric, you know, we have two associates that are down there now, developing it, and it’s grown and grown and grown every year, which is nice.

From that, I learned some of the children need special attention, due to their behavior, so you know, not everything is easy. Sometimes they need sedation, especially the younger ones. We’re in the process right now of building a surgery center that we can accommodate those needs. We also have a special needs clinic, and we’ve been doing that now for some time, and most of those folks, sometimes, unfortunately, need some type of behavior management, so they would also benefit by going to a surgery center.

Shaun Keating: That’s tough, dude. How do you do that, man?

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s a challenge. I mean, it’s, you know what, it really is a need. I never thought, you know, it’s complicated, because some of these folks, unfortunately, don’t know, you know, they can’t reason with the doctor. They can’t reason with themselves because of their handicap or their disability, but we do, I think we do a real good job of making them comfortable, and I think we do a real good job of taking care of their needs. The doctors I have are great with them.

Shaun Keating: Gosh. That is, I mean …

Dr. Shawn Casey: With that being said, we just want to take it to the next level. We just want to keep expanding on it. There’s a need for it in our area and surrounding area. I mean, our special needs dental clinic attracts patients up to two hours away.

Shaun Keating: Really?

Dr. Shawn Casey: You know, so, and they generally come to us, you know, because where we’re located, because it’s easy, it’s a nice easy drive. You’re not going through a main traffic. You’re not going through downtown Los Angeles to get to a visit for somebody who has a hard time sitting in the chair long enough …

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You know, bad enough driving somewhere. You know, that’s one of our challenges here, but we enjoy every moment of it. I had an aunt who had Down Syndrome, so that’s what gave me a little bit of a backbone to start and say, “We need to do something,” so I just expanded off of that, you know, being raised with her. It’s, you’re, I always say, you know, you were raised with one of God’s children. Try to benefit from it.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: That’s how I got out of it, so that’s our give back, and I think it’s been real successful, and I think we have a great crew here, and they do a great job.

Shaun Keating: That’s so cool, man.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Then our other [inaudible 00:25:11] is that we have an orthodontists, we have braces, so, we have two orthodontists that are in the practice, and that keeps them, it keeps the teeth moving for us, as we like to say. They’re always shifting them back in place.

Shaun Keating: What kind of ortho you doing there? Anything particular?

Dr. Shawn Casey: They’re doing Invisalign and they’re doing, I believe, some of the Damon technique with the brackets, and traditional, regular, you know, regular, traditional braces, along with Invisalign and the Damon brackets.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. That’s cool. What about any Power Prox or Six Month Smile type stuff, or is that too expensive? It can get pretty pricey in just getting the materials from those companies, huh?

Dr. Shawn Casey: No, I mean, I don’t, you know, I let those doctors make their own decision on what they want to do. They entertain some other companies. I’m not familiar with them.

Shaun Keating: Okay.

Dr. Shawn Casey: When I get something across my desk, I always forward it to them. You know, some people are just so content in doing what they’re doing, they don’t want change.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You know, but anything that’s going to make it easier for the patient, and make it accessible, we’ll listen, because it’s going to make our life easier …

Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely.

Dr. Shawn Casey: And make it better that way. In the general department, we have multiple doctors. You know, we have four GPs that work here, and we have a real good program here in the office. You know, we try to cater to the folks that work a little bit later at night, so we stay open a little bit in the evenings.

Then we try to work, we communicate back and forth, you know, the general department, especially like, you know, you have a patient that’s in pediatrics that becomes a teenager, and maybe he needs braces or a dental aid there he wants to shift over to the general clinic, we have all his information. We know who he is. The doctors know who he is.

If we need something and we need to resort back to something, we can communicate one of our specialists here, which works out great for us. I just think it’s an overall, it paints a better picture. Easier way of doing dentistry in this new generation.

Shaun Keating: Absolutely. Get the right people, doing the right procedures, instead of, you know, just do what you do best, and you surround yourself with a lot of great people, because you’re crushing it. You’ve been crushing it for years, dude. We thank you for all the work. You know? That’s just really awesome, but you really are …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah, we’ve been with you guys since day one.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Thank you, man. You know, we appreciate that. It’s just so cool, but you run a good, strong practice, your staff is top notch. I mean, you even brought staff with you down here before, and it’s just, they’re just great people, you know? When you have people that kind of love what they do, and you take care of people, it comes back to you, and just another one of our dentists, you know.

I’ve had a few guys on lately that, you know, they just start talking about staff and taking care of people, and, you know, like even giving back to community in different areas with, you know, the children and stuff like that. A lot of doctors don’t want to touch that with a 10 foot pole.

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s a challenge, believe me. You have to make your, your contagiousness of trying to tell somebody how you’re passionate about something. Sometimes, people don’t agree with you.

Shaun Keating: Oh, yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Sometimes staff doesn’t agree with you. They have their own agenda.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: That’s true. I mean, that’s true in any business, to be honest with it. That’s the, to me, that was the hard part of developing this business. The dentistry, and the construction, and the infrastructure, that’s the easy part.

Shaun Keating: Yep.

Dr. Shawn Casey: To me, that’s like, I could do that with my eyes closed. That’s how easy it is. Designing a building or making an operatory or building a 20,000 square foot facility, that comes easy to me, but the staff, whole different ballgame.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Throw away the books. Throw away everything. There’s not a day that goes by or a month that goes by or a year that goes by that something else pops up or challenges us. I mean …

Shaun Keating: Dude, it’s every day, and it’s never going to go away. I mean, it happens to me here, and it’s just tough, you know? We’re …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah, the dentist knows how to communicate properly in the next generation. You know, my advice to a new dentist is, you know, you can type and you can talk all you want on the telephone in your hand, but at the end of the day, if you know how to communicate to somebody, and you know how to express concern, and you know how to interact with them, that’s the secret to your success in your practice.

That right there is going to be half the battle, because this generation, you know, when I call my kids, I want to reach out there, I want to say, “Pick up the goddamn phone.”

Shaun Keating: Yep.

Dr. Shawn Casey: They don’t want to, they, everything is a text message. “Pick me up here. Do this, do that.”

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: That’s all they’re trained on. That’s all they want to do is text.

Shaun Keating: Exactly.

Dr. Shawn Casey: They don’t want to communicate. Talk, talk, talk …

Shaun Keating: Get on the phone, or let’s come face to face. No. That’s crazy, I know. Now, how old are those kids now, man? They up in their 20’s yet, or are they, what, are they teens?

Dr. Shawn Casey: My oldest now is 20. He’s a junior at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: My other two daughters are 13 and 14. I used to say, I used to love pizza on Fridays. Now there’s more activity with these kids between field hockey, lacrosse, and go to a friends house, and do this. They have more active lifestyles than you and I do.

Shaun Keating: Oh, they do.

Dr. Shawn Casey: I don’t like to get pizza anymore, because I know that I have to go run and get it someplace else. I’ve got to pick pickup or delivery. It’s not enjoyable anymore.

Shaun Keating: I miss the days …

Dr. Shawn Casey: It’s fun, but it’s a challenge. It’s, everybody says, you’re going to be saying that 10 years from now. You say [inaudible 00:30:16]

Shaun Keating: I miss those pizza parlors, dude. They’re gone. We used to do it always with the sports, with youth football, and baseball, and then, let’s go to the pizza parlor, and Daddy’d drink his two pitchers of beer, and then he’d drive those kids home. Thank you, Lord, for letting me get those kids, and none of them died on my watch, man, but you think back, man, it’s …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yes, exactly. You’re right.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Forgive me, for I have sinned. No, it’s just …

Dr. Shawn Casey: You’re right, it was different in those days. I knew my father didn’t, no, you’re right.

Shaun Keating: It is just nuts. It was just like in our track, you know, little Northwood Pizza, you know, and just, it just, it was a hangout then in high school, too, and then they’re all out of sports and they’re all out of the house, and it’s just like, it’s just you and the little lady. Then you’ll find out how much you guys really love each other.

I mean, we’re in 33 years, like, “Shaun, why don’t you go ride your motorcycle? Why don’t you go do something, because you know, you’re getting on my nerves right now.” I said, “Honey, I’ve only been home from work for two hours.” She’s like, “Yeah, that’s two hours now.”

Dr. Shawn Casey: We just had our 25th anniversary. We actually just came back from Napa. We were out in your neck of the woods.

Shaun Keating: Oh, you’re kidding. Congratulations.

Dr. Shawn Casey: [inaudible 00:31:17] so 25 years Michelle and I are married.

Shaun Keating: Aw, that’s so cool, dude. You know what? Hey, that’s kind of our best, my best accomplishment, I think, is just my marriage, you know, being married that long. You know, the kids are second, but it’s just kind of a, you know, it’s kind of a neat thing to think about it. You know, I got married kind of young, and it worked out, and we still get in each other’s face a lot, but, not a lot, but just like anybody, you know? It’s just, it’s a neat thing, and you know, we love traveling and stuff.

We just went to Vegas just for the heck of it, last week for a few days, and got out before Friday, but we like just going for, because it’s so close for us here. It’s like a 40 minute flight. We just go for a good dinner and go to a show. I mean, who the heck did we watch this time? Oh, David Copperfield, dude. I haven’t seen him in a while, but he had a great show. That dude is just, there is shit coming out of the air like spaceships, and they weren’t there, and they just all of a sudden appear.

I don’t know how he does that stuff, but I was like a little kid in a room full of bouncy balls. I was just like happy as heck watching all these different things happen, and, you know, it’s just, get my attention, baby. ADD is like, I could do those shows all the time. I think last time we seen Carrot Top. My wife didn’t like him too much. He’s kind of a whole different thing. She loved David Copperfield. Then I remember one time we went, seen Penn & Teller, and she didn’t like their little kind of, they had an attitude, political attitude, and just kind of, I don’t know.

They weren’t real happy in some times or something, just politics. My wife’s not really into that either, mine. She’s just not liking some of the jokes and some of the things, but it’s just neat. They’ve got the best food and stuff like that, but Napa Valley, that’s just down the road here, and that’s fun, too, but we’re not wine drinkers.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Neither was I, until I went there. I mean, I was one of these people that would joke around about the guys that were smelling the glass and [inaudible 00:33:15] glass to pour it. I have a buddy of mine, he’s like a pain in the ass with that stuff. I used to always pick on him and make jokes about him.

When I went to my first wine tasting out there, it was enjoyable, and I get it, but I went to, when I went to Phelps, Joseph Phelps winery, the gentleman there really took his time to explain everything, and I have a different liking of wine now, because of his experience, and him telling me how, what should be done, and how you taste it and everything else, so I did have a little bit of appreciate for it, and I came back home and I was joking around with my buddy, and I was imitating him in the same way. Now I can tell him at least he’s right.

Shaun Keating: Can you believe that? You know what, dude? It’d probably, all it would take, because I’ve never, I’ve tasted wine a couple times in my life, just a sip, and I’m like, “Dude, forget this, man.” I just can’t, but I’m a gulper. You know, I like beer, and I will drink.

Give me a 32 ouncer, it’ll be done in like three minutes, and the waitress will look over at my face and go, “Yep, bring another,” but it’s like, all it’s going to take is for me to get some dude in there and educate me on the wine, the whites, the reds, the colds, the hot, whatever, and then I can acquire a taste, and them I’m going to be like [inaudible 00:34:27]. I’ll be like the … Oh, it’ll be terrible. Oh, how …

Dr. Shawn Casey: It can be an expensive hobby, though.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, yeah. Three little bottles over here, bring that one, it’s like, a thousand bucks later, it’s like, I could have had my four 32 ouncers, or I spent four grand on three bottles just to show that I can do it. It’s like my wife. She always says, “Don’t do it, Shaun. Don’t drink it. Don’t try it,” because she’s worried that I’ll probably like it, you know, after I do it a little bit. I’ll stick to the beer, but even now, you know, you’ve got to, I’ve got to curtail on that, man. I can’t be drinking like every day is Thanksgiving and, you know, Oktoberfest.

You’ve got to cut those down, so I’m down to about three days of Thanksgiving, and about four or five days of Oktoberfest, you know? It’s just crazy, but you can’t just keep doing that and not, you know, you come to work, you sit, and then you go home and you sit on your drum set, or you go sit on your hog, or you go sit on your fighting chair. You’ve got to move a little bit more and exercise.

I’m just finding that out as I get bigger and bigger. I’m going, you know, you can’t live a life like that anymore, dude. Once you pass 50, it’s like, things change. Yeah. I want to be, yeah, we’ll work on that. We’re working on that, but all right dude, so tell …

Dr. Shawn Casey: What you said about the gym, it’s kind of funny you said that, but I got a gift one time for Christmas. It was for a membership for a gym. A buddy of mine owns the gym, and the joke was, I said, “That was a donation, because you’re never going to see me there.”

Shaun Keating: Yeah, exactly. I remember there was a new gym being built …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Spend that money, because I ain’t showing up.

Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, I had a gym that was built by my house, and, a couple years back, and we signed up for it, and I found out that it was on my credit card, my, just my debit card, for two years. I kind of forgot about it, or maybe I didn’t, but two years, I never went once, and they’re taking like 30, 40 bucks a month out. My wife’s like, “Shaun,” because she does the bills. She sees them. After a while, she goes, “Shaun, what do you think about this?” I go, “Let’s cancel this, baby,” because I’m not going in there.

She’s got me walking around the neighborhood now every day, so I do my mile. I’m up to a mile and a half now, and that’s kind of neat. Turn on my headphones, and it’s all hills and stuff. It’s kind of crazy, man, but you got to do it, man. You know? Otherwise, I won’t be able to sit here and do these podcasts, I keep doing what I’m doing, so, you’ve got to take care of yourself.

Hey, so tell me a little bit about, what do you do to drive patients to your practice? Is it just, it’s such a small town, word of mouth, do you do anything, any kind of marketing, any social media or anything? Tell me a little bit about that, Dr. Casey.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You know, the younger generation I leave that to, for the social media. I’m not big into social media. I don’t even have a Facebook page, believe it or not, and I’m the most Chatty Cathy doll there is. The younger folks in our practice, you know, they tend to use social media for different things. Thank God that works for us.

We have a lot of internal marketing, because we have everything all in one here, which is an advantage for us, because internal marketing’s huge with the children and, you know, the parents, and with special needs and their parents, and everything else that we do around the area works out nice.

We have a nice location, the location sells itself sometimes, because it’s easy to get in and get out of, and it’s plenty of free parking outside. We’ve tried all kinds of avenues. We’ve used television for a local market.

Shaun Keating: Okay.

Dr. Shawn Casey: That worked out well, doing certain shows. You know, pick and choose your clientele. First off, for us, it’s a complete package of everybody, whereas the majority of general dentists out there, you know, are solo practitioners or two guys or three guys have a practice together in strictly general dentistry, whatever they market, you know, trying to pick and choose their targeted audience. Television one way, social media’s the other way. We got away from doing newspaper, because newspapers is, you know, it’s not really big for us, and we got away from radio.

You know, radio hasn’t worked for us. I think the best word of mouth comes from your patients, and you establish a good communication with your patient, you’re going to have a great result from referrals just from them. I’m in business 20 years, and we’ve gotten a lot of our referrals come from patients.

Shaun Keating: That’s awesome, dude. No, that’s good. I mean, some guys do more with the social media, some guys don’t. We’re just starting it, and you know, we’ve got these young, techy guys. I’ve got my little guy here, Eric, and my son, and these guys, they’re crushing it, but you know, it’s just tough to turn them into customers, in a way, and it’s such a targeted audience for me. I mean, social media seems like it’s just all regular pe- I’m just looking for that small group of dentists, and you know, 99% of the dentists are kind of happy where they’re at or not.

It’s just, it’s hard to find those ones in between. You know, it’s just, we find word of mouth is our number one source, you know. If our dentists kind of, you know, hey, do you have any referrals for us? Maybe a couple dentists that you could say, “Hey, I’m using Keating, and they’re working pretty good?” Then when we get that, that’s one of our biggest, you know, is referrals, for sure. That’s awesome, dude. How did you hear about my lab, way back, when we started? How did it all happen?

Dr. Shawn Casey: You’d given me a call and said that you were setting up the lab and I’m working with you.

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You said, “How about,” you know, “What are your thoughts on that?” I said, “Sure.” Ever since that phone call, you called me one day, I’m going to say, God, that was, that’s …

Shaun Keating: 15 …

Dr. Shawn Casey: You guys are in business almost 20 years, right? How many years now?

Shaun Keating: 15, but yeah, I was with you for longer than that, because I was with the other lab.

Dr. Shawn Casey: That’s right, because I’m in that building, yeah, so that’s right. About 15 years ago, I remember you said that, and I’ve been with you ever since.

Shaun Keating: Ah, dude, I know. You’re the only Shawn I know, really, who’s like, that’s a dentist, man. It’s like, but you spell it different. You spell in with a W. I think, everyone always says that’s the real Irish way. Mine, I don’t know what my mom was thinking, but mine’s with a U, but …

Dr. Shawn Casey: Well, you’re right. Well, Sean, well, S-E-A-N is the real …

Shaun Keating: Yeah.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Sean, and it’s kind of funny, because I always said, why was I named, and you mentioned Las Vegas. I was actually named after Sean Connery.

Shaun Keating: No kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: My dad was in Las Vegas at the Riviera one time, throwing dice, and Sean Connery’s at the same table.

Shaun Keating: You’re kidding.

Dr. Shawn Casey: They were playing dice, and Sean Connery yelled over. He said, and he did a movie called The Molly Maguires. He was in the movie. He called, and he said, “Hey, Molly. You roll a number,” whatever it was at the time, the story goes, “I’ll name my firstborn after you.” Well, Sean Connery threw the dice and he rolled it out, and sure enough, here comes Shawn Casey.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, but they spelled it differently though, huh?

Dr. Shawn Casey: Yeah. Well, my mom wanted to spell it this way. He didn’t want to spell it, she didn’t want it spelled S-E-A-N.

Shaun Keating: Yeah, because I always say, that’s ‘Seen.’ That’s seen, that’s not Shawn. That’s like seen. Ah, dude, what a great story. I don’t have that story. I just, I’m Shaun. I don’t know why. Shaun, Hart’s my middle name, after my mom’s maiden name, but that’s awesome, dude. That is really awesome. Well, hey, I can’t thank you enough, man. I just really appreciate all the work. You guys got a awesome, awesome practice, awesome staff. How’s all the children? Are the children …

Dr. Shawn Casey: You guys are doing it, too. I mean, don’t sell yourself short, because you’ve got a, you know, I’ve been dealing with Bob for the longest time out there, and your crown and bridge team out there, and your implant team with Steve.

Shaun Keating: Yep.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Even when you answer the telephone out there, every time you call this phone, whenever I call your facility, there’s always a, you can always tell it’s always a polite person answering the phone, and they’ll direct your call, and communication with emails back and forth.

You know, you guys went out of your way numerous times for cases that I said, “Hey, I need a rush on this,” or something like that. You guys always came through. There was never, never had a problem at all, in 15 years of dealing with you, since you opened. I think that has something to say for you about you guys, too.

Shaun Keating: Well, thank you so much. We, yeah, I love our people here. Everyone’s been with me, no one leaves, you know, unless I tell them to leave, but usually I don’t. It’s just, it’s a great thing when you have staff that’s with you so long, and everyone’s on the same page, and everyone’s, you know, trying to work for the same thing, and that’s just for the patient in the chair, because we know that those patients are paying our bills, you know?

They’re paying you, but then you pay us, but it’s, at the end of the day, these patients are paying our bills, so we’ve just got to do the best work, and just try to treat everyone really good, from the staffs and on the little dental practices that we work with. It’s a neat thing. We enjoy it, actually, and it’s just, it’s kind of a, you know, there is tension and issues sometimes, you know? Teeth, man, we’ve been doing this a long time.

I’ve been doing it since ’84, and it’s like, dang, you know, but it’s getting more predictable, and it’s just getting neat, where the dentists are really getting their acts together, where, you know, we’re getting good impressions, we’re getting good information, we’re getting the right shades. It’s just really becoming more predictable, and it’s just a neat thing. Teeth have been very, very good to me, and been very good to my family.

It’s guys like you, man, that just got it together, and, you know, that have been with us this long, and you know, I know you get solicited, probably. You probably don’t even see 90% of the stuff. Your staff keeps it from you, but I know there’s a lot of labs out there, and we appreciate you staying with Keating Dental Lab, baby.

Dr. Shawn Casey: My pleasure. My pleasure.

Shaun Keating: Well, Shawn, thank you so much. I’m going to let you go, get you back to work. Dude, I just can’t thank you enough. You’re ever in the area, please come on by. I’d love to take you out, cocktails, dinner, whatever you want. Let the wife, you know, bring the wife on out and make a little weekend of it, and, I’m telling you …

Dr. Shawn Casey: We’ll come to Mastro’s. You told me about Mastro’s last, Pacific Coast Highway. I love that place out there.

Shaun Keating: Ah, you’re kidding. I’m going. I’ve got a friend from LA coming in. He’s in here today with his wife, and we’re going to Mastro’s tomorrow night. We’re meeting, he’s going to meet at my house, we’re going to go down, yeah. Yeah, I love Mastro’s, man. Give me that seafood tower to start off. I just love it, all the lobster and scallops and shrimp.

Dr. Shawn Casey: They invented whipped lobster mashed potatoes. That’s the best thing.

Shaun Keating: Oh, got to have that, then I got the big bone-in rib eye, and then, yeah, throw me that pound lobster tail also. No. Yeah, I love Mastro’s. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. Hey, dude, thank you again, Dr. Casey, man. I love you, man. Thank you so much. If you need anything, please give me a call.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Same here.

Shaun Keating: All right, dude.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Good luck with everything, buddy.

Shaun Keating: Thanks, man.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Good luck.

Shaun Keating: Good talking to you. Appreciate it.

Dr. Shawn Casey: You got it.

Shaun Keating: All right.

Dr. Shawn Casey: Thanks.

Shaun Keating: Bye bye.

Review, Follow, and Subscribe!

If you enjoy Dental Up, leave us a review on iTunes. As well, be sure to follow Keating Dental Lab on Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin for all the latest in dental news and insights.

Review Us On iTunes 

You May Also Like