The Journey from Fashion Journalism to Aesthetic Dentistry with Dr. Tracy Taddey, DDS
November 14, 2019
Our guest this week Dr. Tracy Taddey, DDS chats with Brandon Fetters on her Journey from being a Fashion Journalist to becoming a well respected Dentist in La Jolla, California. She goes in depth on how mentorships helped her understand and solidify her path early on in her career. She explains how a good AGD Program can help recent dental graduates adapt to real world Dentistry and shares some tips on maintaining a good relationship with a Dental Laboratory. You will hear all this and much more on this week’s episode of the Dental Up Podcast.
You will hear on this Episode: -Her journey from being a Fashion Journalist to a Dentist
-How mentorships helped her adapt to a new career.
-Her perspective in Digital Impression Taking and CAD/CAM Technology
-What she does to perfect her time management throughout the day.
Host: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Dental Up podcast brought to you by Keating Dental Lab, a full service, award winning dental laboratory. Each week you’ll learn tips and techniques from real world dentists. Bringing you in depth interviews, motivating stories, current events and sports. Here is your special host, the senior technical advisor for Keating Dental Lab, Brandon Fetters. Brandon Fetters: Hi everybody, Brandon here. Welcome to another episode of the Dental Up podcast. Our guest this week is a third generation dentist who graduated from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry. By combining her creative journalism background with dentistry, she has been able to put her practice on the map and voted best dentist for 2019 and has been consistently voted among the best dentists in La Jolla for the past few years. Currently practicing from La Jolla, California, please welcome Dr Tracy Taddey DDS. How’s it going Dr. Taddey? Dr. Taddey: Hi Brandon, I’m great. How are you? Brandon Fetters: Oh doing good thank you. Dr. Taddey: Good. Brandon Fetters: Yeah, it’s been great conversing with you over the years here. And it’s kind of interesting because I’ve never asked you this question, but why did you get into dentistry? At what point did you think that you wanted to become a dentist? Dr. Taddey: Well, my story’s a little bit different probably than most dentists. I was at NYU as a journalism major and I thought I really wanted to get into magazines and fashion and beauty. I pursued that career and I worked at Elle during college as an intern and then I was hired as a health and beauty editor when I graduated and I just wasn’t really happy doing what I was doing. It just wasn’t very satisfying. The work environment wasn’t very enjoyable either. I really liked the health aspect of what I was working on with articles and things. My dad suggested that maybe I’d want to be a dentist and I said to him, “Are you crazy?” Dr. Taddey: I hadn’t really been a science major or anything, but I really thought wow, I couldn’t combine the health and beauty of what I’m doing in journalism and maybe transfer that into dentistry with cosmetic dentistry. And I always wanted to work with my dad, so I just decided to go for it. And so I left Elle I took all the science classes I needed, the prerequisites to apply for dental school and then I wound up getting into UOP in San Francisco and just loved it and really happy with my career change. It’s been 21 years now and I’m really happy I decided to just go for it. Brandon Fetters: That’s excellent. When, like you mentioned about your father being a dentist, was he pretty much your main mentor in dentistry? Dr. Taddey: Yeah, really because I hadn’t really been interested in it before. He was my main mentor in the beginning. And then I actually came up to your lab where I met you guys and took the Over the Shoulder program with Dr. David Hornbrook and that’s where I really learned on my cosmetic skills. And then started working with your lab and really started doing some really bigger greater cases. And so that was my next mentor after my dad, besides mentors I had in school, I really liked my dental school, so I learned a lot. And the spirit, just the whole environment there really I think added a lot to the way I practice dentistry. Brandon Fetters: Now, you were saying about doing the cosmetic cases, I know you and I, we’ve worked on quite a few cosmetic cases together also. Now aside from just working on your normal patients with cosmetic cases, you’ve done quite a bit of work on family members too. Can you tell us about that experience? Dr. Taddey: Oh yeah. As I got more experience, I started working on my family because everyone wanted a new smile. I worked on my dad, I wanted to do his smile over for a really long time and he finally let me and that came out great. And then his brother, my uncle was one of my most challenging cases and that came out really, really awesome working with you guys. And I just recently restored my mom’s case and my boyfriend, and I think that’s about it for family members, but that’s a lot. Brandon Fetters: I’m always nervous to go in on that aspect. Dr. Taddey: Yeah, a lot of pressure, but they all turned out great. Brandon Fetters: Now, aside from your father being in dentistry, do you have any other family that’s in dentistry? Dr. Taddey: My sister is a hygienist and she practiced with us in our practice for a few years and then she’s married now and lives in Virginia and practices hygiene there. Yeah, two of the three of us, got to go into dentistry and then my grandfather was a dentist, my dad’s dad. Brandon Fetters: Awesome. Dr. Taddey: It’s in our family and it’s really, I feel honored to be a third generation dentist. I wish she was around still to see what we’re doing today versus the way they practiced then and how far dentistry has come. Brandon Fetters: Yeah, no doubt. Leaps and bounds over just the past 20 years it seems. Dr. Taddey: Yeah. Really. Brandon Fetters: Now, along those lines of the future of dentistry and everything, how do you feel about digital impression taking and as we move forward into the CAD/CAM technologies? Dr. Taddey: Oh, I think it’s amazing. I don’t have a scanner yet, but I would really like to get one. I think it’s just so much more precise and the quality of the restorations, just the fit and the beauty. I think it’s just the way of the future really, and it keeps getting more and more advanced. Brandon Fetters: Yeah. Yeah. Truly compared to when it first hit the market and everyone was really nervous about, how’s this thing going to work? And how long is it going to be until it pays for itself? Dr. Taddey: Right. We used to have one, which didn’t really work out, so I’m just waiting to get my next one. Brandon Fetters: Got you. Dr. Taddey: But I do like taking my impressions I have to say. I’m kind of old school. Brandon Fetters: Hey, nothing wrong with doing what works. Dr. Taddey: Right. Brandon Fetters: Now I know that you’re pretty active outside of the workplace too. How do you find a good balance between your personal activities and the work? Dr. Taddey: I guess I just have always been kind of good with time management so I just tend to get up really early and get my running and my personal stuff done and then focus really hard on work and then after work just go forward with the day. I guess I always have a plan so I know you know what I need to get done and just kind of make certain things a priority. Brandon Fetters: Excellent. Dr. Taddey: And hopefully it all works out. Brandon Fetters: well you seem to be doing great at it. And along those lines, you had informed me too that earlier in the year you had ran at the Boston marathon. What was that like? Dr. Taddey: That was an amazing experience. As a runner, running Boston is just an ultimate goal and privilege if you get to qualify and I qualified. And my whole family came, my boyfriend came and it was just one of the happiest days of my life. It was just the spirit of Boston with the whole Boston Strong theme and just the city and all the people that were out. The finish line was absolutely exhilarating. It was just crowds and crowds of people and just was a really awesome day. The weather was crazy and that just made it probably even better because it was raining, it was windy, it was sunny and it was just really crazy but really fun. Brandon Fetters: Now when it comes into getting into the dental field, is there any advice you’d be able to give dentists that are newly coming into dentistry? Dr. Taddey: I think doing a AGD program is really important. I think you get more experience because when you just come out you’re just so new and you have a little experience but you don’t have speed and the real world is so much different, so the more experience you can get before you get out there I think is great. I think, I’m a member, I’m a board member of my alumni association at UOP and I think if you have the opportunity to work with another alumni who is trained in the same way or the same spirit you are trained, I think that’s a great opportunity to grow and learn before you purchase a practice or go on your own because there’s so much to learn when you get out. Or just working with an experienced dentist who likes to teach I think, because you’re always learning. Even 21 years later I’m still learning from my dad. Brandon Fetters: Yeah, no, no. Like you said about when you came up for the Over the Shoulder program and everything of that sort, have you gained a certain procedure that’s your favorite one? Dr. Taddey: I think just doing crowns or veneers. 10 or 12 or whatever smile makeovers is really what I love. Working with you guys with the photos and the wax up and the smile design and then the custom temporaries we make off your wax up. I think that whole process is just so routine now for my assistant and I and patients are so happy. Just even when we put their temporaries on, they’re just almost in tears because we’ve changed their smile so much and that’s only the beginning. We haven’t even delivered the real crowns yet or veneers yet, so I just love that whole process. Brandon Fetters: Now kind of along those same lines, what do you find to be the most rewarding part of dentistry? Dr. Taddey: I think that is. When you really change someone’s smile and change their whole image of themselves and you see the patient after you’ve delivered their new smile, a few months later and they’re different in some way, whether it’s the way they dress or the way they smile or the way they present themselves or photos they’ve taken with their new smile and they show you. I think that that’s just such a great gift we can give people. Brandon Fetters: Yeah, absolutely. That’s awesome. Now I know that you have a pretty good online presence. Do you feel that Facebook and Instagram has really helped your practice? Dr. Taddey: I think I’ve been working a lot on our Instagram and you guys have been helping me when we post all of our cases together. But I think it helps. I don’t know if it brings new patients, but I think when you get a new patient, it’s nice for them to go on your Instagram and see what the vibe of your office is and what work you’re doing and just kind of, I feel like our Instagram gives people the experience of what it would be like to come to our practice. That’s why I think it’s important. Brandon Fetters: Now I know that I get to see at least once a year when you come up to the CDA, do you often attend other dental society meetings or conventions? Dr. Taddey: Yeah, I’m part of the San Diego Dental Society and I’m part of the alumni board up at UOP and I really like to take continuing ed classes. I’ve done quite a few of those. I always come up to CDA and I’m always looking for new things to learn. And seminars to take. Brandon Fetters: Excellent. Now let’s see, as far as marketing is considered now I know that you said that you’ve done a lot of the Instagram. Do you do any other forms of marketing to help your practice grow? Dr. Taddey: Well, where our practice is down here in La Jolla, and it’s kind of a small town village environment and so we advertise in our local newspaper, the La Jolla Light. And it’s nice because the picture of my dad and I, people recognize us when we’re out and about and they say, “Oh, those are the dentists, the father daughter dentists.” That advertising has really helped us. I think just patient referrals are our main source of marketing, but that’s what we mainly do. Brandon Fetters: Excellent. Now do you work with implants very often Dr. Taddey? Dr. Taddey: I restore implants. I don’t place them and I really like Astra implants, so that’s been the one that I lean towards. Brandon Fetters: Got you. And do you tend to lean more toward doing zirconia abutments or titanium or what are your thoughts on that? Dr. Taddey: I’ve done mostly titanium in the anterior, the zirconium or the gold hue are the ones I’ve done. Working with a periodontist or an oral surgeon and you guys, we always try to figure out what would the best abutment be. And I also liked the custom abutments I just feel like the contour is a lot better. I’ve always done the Atlantis custom abutments and then restored with crowns made by you. Brandon Fetters: Now, when you mentioned about practicing down in La Jolla, was there anything that really drew you to that area to start? Or were you originally from that area? Why did you decide to start your practice down there? Dr. Taddey: Oh, it’s kind of a funny story. My dad, my family, me, everyone, we’re from the Bronx in New York. My dad practiced with my grandfather in a real small office in the Bronx. And so after he graduated and worked for a while, he decided that they wanted to move to somewhere sunny and warm. They were either going to go to Florida or California. They came to California and they found La Jolla right on the ocean and my dad wanted to be able to see palm trees from his office, so they found a house, they bought a practice or opened a practice from scratch and no one thought that they would be able to stay, but it worked out and 45 years later we’re still here and it was probably the best decision he ever made. Brandon Fetters: That’s awesome. Yeah, I imagine that’s quite a different lifestyle going from a Bronx down to La Jolla. Yeah, that’s a good change. Now I know that you had mentioned about you’re waiting to get in another CAD system or I’m sorry, a digital scanner for digital impression taking. Have you introduced any other technology into your practice lately? Any new equipment? Dr. Taddey: We just purchased a new light by Voco, which is really small. It looks like a pen and we really like that. Nothing, we actually haven’t done anything extraordinary lately. We just moved our office from one location in La Jolla to another, so we haven’t purchased anything major, but the next major thing that we would like to get is a scanner. Brandon Fetters: Now do you do anything or do you guys try and do anything differently as a culture to help attract more patients? I know you had mentioned about the online, given them the feel of what’s happening inside the practice and how they’re being treated, but while you have patients there, do you feel like you do anything special that really gets that extra chip? Dr. Taddey: I think our our practice is very family oriented, so we treat our patients like they’re our friends or our family, whether it’s checking up on them after a procedure, when I called them at night or just having conversations and really taking our time and not ever double booking or rushing. I think people appreciate that, just that extra care or being available on a weekend. I think people feel like they’re cared for really well when they come here. Brandon Fetters: That’s excellent. Do you end up having to do a lot of weekend calls or emergency calls in? Dr. Taddey: Not really, but people can always reach me, which I think is nice. Whether I call it a medication or tell them I’ll see the Monday or just talk to them about what’s going on. It’s nice to have that peace of mind and be able to just dial your dentist’s cellphone and have her answer or call back. Brandon Fetters: Yeah. Yeah, that is great. Now I know that you mentioned about how you’re constantly learning, which is always a very important thing. Have you ever thought about becoming a speaker or teaching classes? Dr. Taddey: I’ve thought about, I’d really like to go back to my dental school if I could maybe once a month or a couple of times a month and teach. I think that’d be really, really fun. I really enjoy the new students and that’s one of my favorite parts about being on the alumni board. I’d really like to do that if I can get up there at some point in my career and give back. Brandon Fetters: That’s excellent. Now given the fact that you and your father are both working at your office, how do you balance that workflow of patients between the two of you? Dr. Taddey: Well, my dad is, I guess you could say semiretired, he comes to the office every day and he stays for about half the day. He does a lot of administrative work and he’s a TMJ specialist, so he does see TMJ patients and he does have some patients that always want to see him. We balance it with our staff and he’s not, I’m doing most of the dental work, but when he has a patient we’d make time in the schedule for him. And he spends a lot of time visiting with our patients. We have our Frank Sinatra playing every day for him. He likes to be at work every day and it’s really nice to have him. Brandon Fetters: That’s great. That’s great. Now along those lines, and you said you just moved into that, your new location here, were you looking to expand further and possibly bring on any new associates? Dr. Taddey: We’re not looking to expand as far as space, but at some point I’d love to have an associate to work with. When I transition further along, but not right now. But at some point I’d love to hire someone from UOP to come in and work with me. Brandon Fetters: What about possibly having more than one location? Have you I thought about splitting up your week like that? Dr. Taddey: I used to do that when I had, I owned a practice a nearby here before I joined my dad and I really like being in one spot. This is great. Brandon Fetters: I can understand that feeling. I imagine that could get kind of hectic sometimes bouncing between two offices. Just given this kind of unique moment because it’s nice to always have you on the show here Dr. Taddey, would you have any feedback for me on how our lab’s performing? Dr. Taddey: Oh the lab is great. I think I’ve used you for about, I don’t know, four or five years now and you’re my only lab. Once I met you guys, I dropped all the other labs and I just feel like we have such a great communication and you can, I always talk to you and you help me with even hard cases or problems with a case or how to solve a case and it’s just so nice. I just feel like, I felt like when I was there it was such a family environment with Sean and everyone. That’s why I love coming up and I just, our work, your work is great. We don’t really send much back and we always work together and get it right. I’ve been really, really happy and grateful. Brandon Fetters: Awesome. Thank you so much. Yeah, along those lines, do you have any advice you’d be able to give other dentists out there about how to communicate with their laboratories? Dr. Taddey: I think photos are really important and I learned when I went to the Over the Shoulder, when you’re doing a cosmetic case, just all the details that you have to include for the wax up or for the final and the more details you give, the better product you get back. And it’s easier for the lab to work with all the information they have to give you what they want. Just doing a very detailed lab sheet and taking really good photos and a lot of photos. I think the more information the better. Brandon Fetters: I’d have to agree with you there. You do make it pretty easy for us, so thank you very much Dr. Taddey. Oh it’s been absolutely wonderful having you on the show. Really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day. Thank you so very much. Dr. Taddey: Oh, thank you Brandon. This was great. Brandon Fetters: Yeah. Anything you wanted to add? Dr. Taddey: No, I just look forward to working with you guys for many more years. Brandon Fetters: Well thank you so much Dr. Taddey. We hope to work with you for many years to come as well. Really appreciate you being on the show. Thank you. Take care of yourself. Talk to you very soon. Bye, bye. Host: Thanks for joining us on the Dental Up podcast show this week. Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or search the Dental Up podcast on iTunes for our weekly feed. Don’t forget to visit keatingdentallab.com/promo for exclusive offers. Keating Dental Lab is a full service dental laboratory and we’re nationwide. We’d love for you to send us a case so we can show you the Keating difference. If you dig what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and we’ll be back next week.