On this week’s episode of the Dental Up Podcast, we have Dr. Thomas Hirsch DDS stop by and chat with us about Improving existing Dental Technology and procedures. We talk about what inspired him to create the ISOLITE® Dental Isolation System and the initial struggle of starting a company on the side while practicing Dentistry full-time.
In this episode you will learn about:
– What inspired Dr. Hirsch at 16 years old to pursue a Dental Career.
-What launched ISOLITE® Dental Isolation System Brand.
-His opinion on surgical guides.
-His thoughts on outsourcing certain cases.
For more information on Dr. Thomas Hirsch check out his practice website
For more information on The ISOLITE® Dental Isolation System visit
Mention the Dental Up Podcast for a Discount Special by clicking the tab down below or calling 855.749.5880 and requesting more information.
Host: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Dental Up podcast, brought to you by Keating Dental Lab, a full-service, award-winning dental laboratory. Each week, you’ll learn tips and techniques from real-world dentists, bringing you in-depth interviews, motivating stories, current events, and sports. Here’s your host, Shaun Keating.
Shaun Keating: Hey everyone, Shaun here. Welcome to another episode of the Dental Up podcast. Our guest this week is a graduate from USC School of Dentistry. He has operated his private dental practice for over 35 years, and he specializes in cosmetic dentistry and full-mouth reconstructions. He served 10 years as an instructor of clinical dentistry at USC, and has received numerous awards for his pioneering invention of the Isolite dryfield illuminator. Practicing from Malibu, California, please welcome Dr. Thomas Hirsch, DDS. How’s it going, Dr. Hirsch?
Dr. Hirsch: Shaun Keating, how the heck are you? Man, I’ve got to tell you, with an introduction like that, I’m not even going to be able to walk through my doorway, you made my head so damn big. I’ll tell you.
Shaun Keating: Hey man, I love-
Dr. Hirsch: Thank you very much for those kind words. It’s going well. How are you doing?
Shaun Keating: I’m doing fantastic, thank you so much. Dude, I know how busy you are. You’re a machine, man. You just have been so crushing it for so long and just, I can’t thank you enough for coming on this podcast. I know you only have a little bit of time, but we’re going to try to … I know I did one, you were like my fifth podcast ever years ago, and it was real-
Dr. Hirsch: It’s been a long time. It’s been a long time, you know. I don’t talk to you all that often. Every now and then, I’ll see you at a convention, but literally, working with you guys, it just goes so seamlessly.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that’s so cool.
Dr. Hirsch: I never have to go up and speak to the big guy. I think you’ve got just a superstar, he’s my go-to guy is Bob Brandon. He is my go-to guy. I’ve got a problem or a question, I call him and man, he’s either right there ready to take my calls, or he just sits there and calls me right back almost immediately.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that is so cool, and I know. I know man, you’ll get in that damn plane and fly down here and bust my ass if I do something-
Dr. Hirsch: Hell yes.
Shaun Keating: No, that’s so cool, man. Well, I know last time we talked a little bit on the Isolite, but I kind of wanted to talk about it on this one for sure, because that’s just such a revolutionary product that you brought to the market several years back, and it’s just changing the way dentists are practicing in their dental practice.
Shaun Keating: But first, how about we start off talking about sports a little bit, but dude, I know you’re in Malibu with all the stars and all this stuff, but what’s it like with the Lakers now with LeBron and all that stuff, and the Rams going off. I mean, it’s-
Dr. Hirsch: Oh man, LeBron is just amazing with the Lakers. Just incredible. That guy’s an animal. And the Rams, I can’t believe … They lost this weekend, didn’t they?
Shaun Keating: Yeah, they did. But-
Dr. Hirsch: First game they lost. They were 8 and 0 and then they … What is it, the Saints get them? Is that who got them this year?
Shaun Keating: Yeah. Yup, the Saints did.
Dr. Hirsch: Son of a gun. You know, I was thinking they were going to go for a great, perfect season. But still, 8 and 1 is pretty damn good, I’ll tell you.
Shaun Keating: Oh, it is, and I think it’s kind of a good thing for the Rams, because you know, I think they had some work to do with that defense. That secondary, especially. Even that superstar millionaire Peters that they got out there at corner, he got burnt quite a few times in the last few games, and Talib, the other corner, has been out. But yeah, they got some new guys on the line. It’s just, it’s going to take a little bit to gel. But even McVay, the coach, that young fricking … What is he, 31 years old? He’s like … I think it’s a good thing we lost. I think we’ll learn from it, I think we’ll get a tighter edge, and so … Yeah, they got the Saints as the number one team now. They got Kansas City number two, and the Rams at three. But heck man, all that matters is that first playoff game and just getting to the playoffs and then just one game at a time. But it’s just neat to see L.A. back in the market with a football team, and then let alone to be playing like they are. I think it’s huge, but I know-
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, it makes them know they’re not invincible.
Shaun Keating: Oh, absolutely.
Dr. Hirsch: But hell, my Trojans, I’ll tell you. They’re sucking right now.
Shaun Keating: I know, man. I’m feeling for you. You know Bob, he, you know, big USC guy, as you. You know, you went to USC and my brother went to USC dental school, too, man. I know you guys are Trojans, man. Fight on, dude, and-
Dr. Hirsch: Trojans, hey, fight on, man. All the way.
Shaun Keating: They ask you for money every year? Those alumni, they come after you, don’t they?
Dr. Hirsch: Every year. Every year. But hey, you know what? You’ve got to support your school, got to support your team.
Shaun Keating: Oh, heck yeah. Well, my last school I’m supporting is Stacey Junior High School, man. That’s my last graduation. No. We better cut that out.
Dr. Hirsch: You graduated from junior high school? I didn’t think you went that far.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, eighth grade was my last one, but hey, the Lord works in mysterious ways, man. He said, “Shaun, you make some teeth. You’ll be okay.”
Dr. Hirsch: Well, I thought your GED meant graduated elementary.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, exactly. I had to get that GED to get my CDT, because they had to have something. But I did.
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, that’s funny.
Shaun Keating: That’s just kind of crazy, how things work out. All right dude, let’s Dental Up, man.
Dr. Hirsch: Let’s talk some dentistry.
Shaun Keating: So tell me a little bit, why did you get into dentistry? At what point did you think, “I want to be a dentist”?
Dr. Hirsch: This is a really good story. So here it is, I am 16 years old and we’d been skiing, we started skiing when I was 14, the family took us up and we started skiing at 14. So now I’m 16, 16, almost 17, and it is a bluebird day. It has just come to pile up at Mammoth, so my buddy Dave says, “Tom, let’s go skiing,” and I said, “Dave, we’ve got school!” He said, “No, come on, let’s go skiing! There’s a big, big pile of powder up there,” I’ve got to choose my words carefully here, “big pile of powder up there and it’s sunny.” So we took off, headed out about one in the morning. We get up to Mammoth about seven o’clock and we’re on the slopes and we’re skiing.
Dr. Hirsch: So here I am, I’m riding up on chairlift number three and I’m sitting next to this really old dude. I mean, the guy was like 45 years old. He was ancient. So we’re going up there and he looks at me and he says, “Son, should you be in school?” I think this guy’s a truant officer, he’s going to bust my rear end, and I said, “Well, what do you do, sir?” because I wouldn’t answer the question. He says, “I’m a dentist,” and I says, “You’re a dentist?” and I says, “Don’t you have to work?” He says, “Yeah,” he says, “Wednesday.” He says, “You know, what I do, because I like to ski so much and I hate all these big crowds at Mammoth,” he says, “I work on the weekends and I ski during the week.” And so I’m sitting there thinking about this and I said, “Wow, that sounds like one heck of a gig.” So anyway, that’s what got me interested in dentistry-
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Hirsch: … was being able to write my own hours and my own time and go skiing during the week, which I’ve done a lot of, by the way. But not like I would’ve dreamt I would’ve done. I thought I’d be working Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and skiing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. We all know that doesn’t happen.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Hirsch: You get married, you have a life, you have kids, this and that, and so there’s a whole lot of stuff that comes between it. But that’s why I started, was just because I liked to ski and I liked to write my own hours. Plus my dad, who’s just a great man, said, “You know what, Tom? You don’t want to work for somebody else,” he says, “You want to be your own boss.”
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Hirsch: He says, “Find a job where you can be your own boss,” and so that’s what we ended up doing here.
Shaun Keating: That is such a cool-
Dr. Hirsch: And I just made that recommendation to my youngest child. She’s 18, she just started her first year of college. She’s in Texas right now, because she wanted to get out of dodge for a while, so she’s off in Austin right now going to school.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that’s so cool. My best friend lives in Austin, man. I go out there every once in a while, but it’s a hot state in the summertime, man. It gets pretty
hot and humid out there, but …
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, she’s finding all about that. She was this sheltered little girl in Malibu, and now she finds out what the real world is all about.
Shaun Keating: Oh, yeah. It’s a different world there. They’ve got a lot of good food and good music and stuff like that, but it’s no oceanfront Malibu like you live a couple miles from the water. Your practice is like … It’s such a bitchin’ practice that you have, dude. So that’s-
Dr. Hirsch: I’m lucky. I’m lucky.
Shaun Keating: That’s a great story, dude. Hey, I just seen, too, that little JetSuite, the planes. They’re going out of John Wayne here to Mammoth now, and I’m like, you know, that five-hour trip in the car, it’s a pain in the ass to go out there to get to Mammoth.
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, it is. I mean, you can be up there in an hour.
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Hirsch: And that’s, Shaun, that’s why I got my pilot’s license. The reason I did that is because I hated the drive to Mammoth. Now, my dad taught driver’s education and driver training in high school, so you know he was a really cautious, careful driver. But that drive to Mammoth, that could take us 8, 9, 10 hours sometimes in traffic. I don’t want to make that anymore, so the first thing I did when I graduated dental school is got my pilot’s license-
Shaun Keating: Can [crosstalk 00:08:53].
Dr. Hirsch: … the very first thing.
Shaun Keating: That is the coolest.
Dr. Hirsch: So I’ve had that sucker since 1971. I got about 5,000 hours.
Shaun Keating: Can you believe that? And no, it’s … I remember the first case we did, I met you at the Hinman, our booth. Met each other 15 years ago or whatever.
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, let me tell … Let me interrupt you here and tell your people that are listening to this thing the story. So here I am, I’m new at the dental conventions, I just invented the Isolite and I’m sitting there in my booth. It’s right next to Shaun’s, and I’m talking to him and he’s talking to me and I’m looking at this stuff and man, this stuff looks really good. I mean, I’m kind of anal about my dental work and the quality, and so I’m looking at this stuff and I said, “Shaun,” I said, “This is just great looking stuff,” and he says, “Okay,” and I said, “But the first case I’m going to send you is actually a full-mouth reconstruction.” He says, “Well, how many units?” I said, “28. 28 preps,” and I said, “I’m prepping it Monday,” and he says, “Well, great.” I said, “Well, how long will it take you to get it finished for me?” And so Shaun, you told me, “When do you want it back?” and I said, “Well, when can I have it back?” He says, “You tell me when you want it?” I said, “Well, how’s the following Monday?” and he said, “No problem.”
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Hirsch: So I sat down there, I prepped that thing, I jumped in my plane, it took me all day to prep upper and lower arch. Jumped in my plane, flew it down there. You met me at the airport.
Shaun Keating: Yup, I couldn’t believe it.
Dr. Hirsch: Picked this thing up, and I had it in my office seven days later and I cemented that thing seven days later, and it went in, 27 out of 28 units were perfect and one crown was high. You were high on it was either 15 or 18, I forget which one it was, but I was off somewhere back there. But man, it was just spot on. It looked great. So you’re the man in that aspect, where you say, “Hey, when do you want it?” and I get it. The same thing with Bob. I call Bob up all the time and I’m saying, “Lookit,” I said, “I need this thing, and I know this is really short notice,” and he says, “When do you need it by?” and 99 times out of 100, you deliver. You deliver. Sometimes it just physically can’t be done, if we need some custom abutments or something like that and you’ve just got to send it out to someplace else, it can’t be done.
Shaun Keating: But we will. We’ll get anything that we possibly can do for you, we will, as with anyone, but with you guys, especially, because we do so much big work through the years and oh man, all the stars. We can’t even talk about a lot of them, but I remember the one we just did, Johnny Rotten, man. That was kind of cool. He’s got a big concert he’s doing now. He’s doing like a big tour with his, I think it’s called Ltd or something, his other punk group. I forgot the name of that one, but …
Dr. Hirsch: Oh God, yeah. I went to one of his concerts. I didn’t have cotton balls thick enough for my ears.
Shaun Keating: Oh, I know. It’s so loud.
Dr. Hirsch: Oh my God, that guy’s loud as hell.
Shaun Keating: Oh, he is, and he used to look … I mean, his teeth, his grill was kind of messed up. Now, he’s looking pretty hot, isn’t he?
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah. You did a great job on that.
Shaun Keating: Oh, man. That’s so cool. Johnny Rotten. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, I’ll tell you another one. Kris Kristofferson. He just did a new movie, I forget what the movie he did, but he sat down there and you’ve been working on him, too. But God, his movie was just stellar. He was so good. He played this old cowboy or something like that. Man, a great job. Great job.
Shaun Keating: Really? I’ve got to watch that.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah.
Shaun Keating: I’m big into Westerns lately. God, I’m getting old in my age and I’m sitting there watching … What’s my new favorite show? It’s on one of those old channels on cable. Oh, it’s The Virginian, with James Drury. I love that.
Dr. Hirsch: Oh yeah, that and The Rifleman and all those things?
Shaun Keating: Yeah, they’re like ’60s.
Dr. Hirsch: Bonanza.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. I mean, I’ve seen Bonanza so much, but I’d never seen The Virginian. But yeah, I love-
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, I’ve got a hot tip for you guys here.
Shaun Keating: Okay.
Dr. Hirsch: Just kind of figured this one out. You know when we’re getting ready to do some implants and we make surgical guides because we want to know where all the teeth are?
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Hirsch: I’m going to probably steal a little business from you here, but I think this’ll really help your people out. You know when you make a radiopaque denture, when you … you know, so we know-
Shaun Keating: Yeah, it’s radiograph-
Dr. Hirsch: … where we’re going to put the implants?
Shaun Keating: Yup.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, it’s just radiopaque so we can go in there. I was talking to Bob, and we came up with some where we’re actually radiopaquing the teeth, because I needed some radiopaque paint to put on these things, on a denture that we’d already done, because I wanted to streamline it a bit, and he said, “You know what? We’ve got all this zirconia powder all over the place.” So he sent me some zirconia powder, and what I did is I mixed the zirconia powder up with some bonding agent, and I painted it on the labial surface of the teeth of the denture, and then we scanned the denture in our CT scanner, in our cone beam scanner while it was in the patient’s mouth. And so you get this great outline of where all the teeth are, of the labial surface of all the teeth, so that when you’re planning your implant positioning you can put it so it’s not coming out through the facial surface. So if you’re doing any type of restoration, be it a denture or an all on six or an all on four or if you’re doing crown and bridge, you’ve actually got these things going in the right spot. You follow what I’m saying?
Shaun Keating: Yeah. It sounds kind of neat. Let’s not talk too much about it and maybe get a little patent on this thing. No, let’s-
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, you know. I’ve got some patents. It’s too much damn work to get patents these days.
Shaun Keating: I know, believe me. I’ve done the trademark patent thing and dude, it’s best not even getting involved with those lawyers, man.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, it’s just technique, it’s just kind of something to share with your people, that if they have a problem … because I sat down there and I was trying to figure out, how the hell are we going to make this thing work, and I was trying to figure out different things that I could paint on the teeth that weren’t toxic to the patient, and I couldn’t come up with anything. We can use gutta-percha, but Dycal works, but this stuff works really, really, really good. Mix it up with some radiopaque bonding agent, put it on the denture, then you can cure it so it doesn’t rub off in the mouth, and then you can scrape it off.
Shaun Keating: Oh, that’s so awesome, dude. No-
Dr. Hirsch: That’s just a tip of the day.
Shaun Keating: That’s great minds thinking right there. I’m going to talk to Bob on that. We’ll get a little spreadsheet on that and pass that on to our other doctor. We’ll get all our zirconia dust and get it in packets, man. We’ll give them like kilos out. You need a half key, or you need a …
Dr. Hirsch: What was that Tom Cruise movie that just was … I forget, he’s this guy who starts working for the CIA and he ends up smuggling all this cocaine into-
Shaun Keating: Yeah. Oh, that was a great movie.
Dr. Hirsch: … for Pablo Escobar down from Guatemala and Nicaragua. It was funnier than hell.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I watched that. That was great.
Dr. Hirsch: Packets of white powder. Of course, our white powder’s going to be zirconia.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. That’s it. I thought of you when I seen him flying it all crazy, because I pictured you in your shorts and flip-flops, getting off that plane, and John Wayne Airport’s an international airport but right next to it is ACI, that little, you know, where all the private jets, and here I am, sitting there waiting for you, and I’m two minutes from it, so I drive up. Here you are with a full box of upper lower [inaudible 00:15:32], in your flip-flops and shorts off this plane. I’m thinking to myself, “Dude, what happens if you’re up in the middle of the air by yourself and you just have like a hiccup or something goes wrong?” That just, it’s kind of ballsy, man. It’s just kind of just so nuts. But it takes a special person to get up there by yourself to go across the ocean like that. Or you probably just chase the ocean all the way down, right? Is that-
Dr. Hirsch: No, we have fun. Sometimes we go real low in this thing. Oh, here’s another tip, as far as guided surgery. You know, you talk about flying and this and that? Whenever I’m doing my implants, I do it with surgical guides, and you’ve really got to trust that you planned it right and trust your surgical guide and trust the instrumentation that you have in your hand. It’s just like flying, when you’re doing an IFR approach into an airport when it’s all foggy. You’ve got your instruments right in front of you, and you’ve got to trust those things so that when you break out of the fog, you’ve got to know that that’s where the runway’s going to be.
Shaun Keating: Exactly.
Dr. Hirsch: And so when you’re doing your guided implant surgery and doing your osteotomies, you’ve got to trust that you’ve actually planned it properly and you do everything just right down the way.
Shaun Keating: That’s so true. You should see some of the stuff we get where they’re not using those guides, and it’s everywhere and it’s like, we’re pretty good at not starting those cases anymore. We tell the guys, “We think you’ve got to send it over to Root Lab or one of those other labs, because I don’t think we have capabilities of doing it with it’s out in left field like that.” But that is so true. I mean, that’s how John F. Kennedy, Jr. died, didn’t he?
Dr. Hirsch: That’s right.
Shaun Keating: He was in the fog over there by Nantucket, and he didn’t know what was up or down and he didn’t know how to read his gauges, I guess.
Dr. Hirsch: No, because he’s trusting what he’s feeling in his body. You can picture this whole thing. We may get a little politically incorrect here, but you can picture, he’s flying this thing, he’s in the fog, he’s not really very well trained, and his body’s telling him that he’s turning the plane to the right, so he’s compensating and going left and then he’s got his passengers in there that are just yelling and screaming at him, “Hey, do this, do that,” so he’s got input coming from all over the place.
Shaun Keating: Oh, I bet.
Dr. Hirsch: And you can’t have that. You’ve got to be totally focused on what you’re doing and just know that you’re right and plan it.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, it’s so … Even on my boat, man, when we go over to Catalina, it’s like 30 miles across the water there, and you can see it when it’s clear, but a lot of times, you’ve got this haze and the fog rolls in, you can’t see five feet in front of you and it’s all on radar, and it’s scary as hell, even … because you’ve got to trust it, and then you’ve got to look for all the other objects that are out there and it’s scary as heck, man. I hate going out fishing or anything when it’s foggy, because I just … It’s just a weird, weird thing there. Well-
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, I don’t blame you there.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, kind of crazy. Well dude, tell me about this Isolite. Now, that is the neatest thing. It’s where a dentist can practice without assistance and stuff like that. Tell me how you started it, and tell me all about the Isolite, if you could.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, this goes back a whole bunch of years, back to 1984, when fiber optic handpieces first came out and I had Midwest America’s first fiber optic handpieces. The way that my office is set up is I have big picture window, so I never wanted to have anything in front of the patient, so everything was all side delivery and rear delivery. Well, in one of my rooms, the fiber optic bundle from the light source was draping across the floor, and I kept rolling my chair over the bundle, breaking this thing. So I was destroying these $300 bundles, and these were $300 in 1984, so that’s like $1000 bundle today or a $1500 bundle today, and it takes just exactly two passes of the wheel of my chair to go over this thing before it was gone.
Dr. Hirsch: So I bought five or six of these things, and I could not retrain myself not to roll my chair over the cord when it was all finished. I was proud of what I did, so I kind of pushed back, “Oh man, that looks great,” and … bump, bump and, “Ah, shit.” So anyway, I couldn’t do that, so one day I’m looking at this thing and I said, “Why the hell’s the light box over there when I want the light in the mouth? Why’s the light source on the right and I want it in front of my patient’s mouth?” I said, “I’m going to put a light inside the patient’s mouth,” and so that’s how the idea came up. I was talking to my brother, who is an industrial designer, and I said, “Jim,” I said, “We’re going to put a light inside the mouth,” and he said, “Okay,” and so he did that and that’s how we started the company.
Shaun Keating: Jeez.
Dr. Hirsch: But it took me another 15 years to put it all together and for technology to catch up with the idea, and then once technology caught up with the idea, we went ahead and started this company. I mean, it was on a shoestring. I went out to my friends and family and raised as much money as I could, and I was short by about a factor four. I needed four times as much money as I thought.
Shaun Keating: Oh man.
Dr. Hirsch: We almost went bankrupt a bunch of times, and we mortgaged our houses and I ended up mortgaging my plane and I sold my condo up at Mammoth just to get money to-
Shaun Keating: To do it.
Dr. Hirsch: … to fund this thing. And it took four years before we actually became profitable. We lost a ton of money in the first three years, just making everything and getting it to market. But then ever since then, it’s just been great. The latest development that’s come up with this is we’ve just launched something called the I3, where we totally redesigned our Isolite, and we put in an actual amber cure safe light in that thing so you can turn the light on and get as much light in the mouth as you need and it will not set your most light sensitive material, your bonding agents or composite or cements or anything.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Hirsch: So you’ve got all the time in the world to work. Yeah, so it’s-
Shaun Keating: Now, what about the suction with it, too? How’s that? I mean, it’s kind of an all in one, isn’t it? Like-
Dr. Hirsch: Oh yeah. So what happens is-
Shaun Keating: Yeah. So explain it to me for some of the people that … because it’s more than just a light. I mean, it’s also that-
Dr. Hirsch: It’s more than just a light, yeah. So what this is, first of all, on one side, it has a bite block, but the bite block is kind of a soft polymer material so the patient can rest and they can close down on it if they want, so now they have a place to rest their jaw, so their jaw is not, they don’t have to strain to keep their mouth open. So that’s number one. We have suction in this thing, so it suctions from all areas of the mouth, behind the bite block and down in the floor of the mouth and back of the buccal vestibule and the back of the throat. It vacuums up all the water. It protects anything from going down the throat, either into the trachea or the esophagus, so nothing’s going to go into an airway or be swallowed into the stomach. I mean, it happens on occasion, but not with the Isolite. It protects the tongue and the cheeks from getting cut by the burr.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Hirsch: It keeps the area isolated and clean so you can do whatever dentistry you want to do, bonding, in a dry field. The patient’s wide open, they’re well lit and the area’s nice and dry, you’re controlling all the humidity and all the moisture in the mouth.
Shaun Keating: Are you able to use a rubber dam with it?
Dr. Hirsch: You don’t need to use a rubber dam, and actually, you can if you want, but it takes-
Shaun Keating: Oh yeah, exactly. That’s why you’re … Yeah, the rubber dam’s just to keep it isolated.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, it takes the place of the rubber dam. So this gets you isolation without all the hassle of the rubber dam, and you can work on the upper and lower quadrants at the same time.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Hirsch: So with one Isolite mouthpiece, they’re disposable, so you use them once and you throw it away, and you’re always assured of a sterile, clean mouthpiece going in the mouth without any cross contamination or without your assistant having to take the time to clean this thing and keep track of if it’s been autoclaved or not. Use it once, you throw it away, and it’s only about two and a half bucks, so it’s cheap enough.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah.
Shaun Keating: Do you see a lot of the practices not using assistants or use it with an assistant? Or-
Dr. Hirsch: No.
Shaun Keating: No, it’s like-
Dr. Hirsch: No, no. It really doesn’t take the place of an assistant, because your assistant is your right hand. So what it does, it actually leverages her time. So while you’re working in the mouth and while you’re drilling, everything is isolated and it’s dry and it’s evacuated, so your assistant is in the room, she’s getting everything set up for the next part or the procedure, or if need be, she can split and go into the other room to take a set of x-rays or do something in the other room and get the other patient ready for the next procedure that you’re going to work in the other room.
Shaun Keating: No kidding.
Dr. Hirsch: So you can leverage your time that way, because honestly, your assistant’s the busiest person in the office, much busier than the dentist or anybody in the front desk is. She’s the hardest worker there.
Shaun Keating: I between.
Dr. Hirsch: And so you’ve really got to make her job easier. So my assistant, even if we’re doing something as simple as an occlusal filling, let’s say on number 30, my assistant … and I’m not going to put the Isolite in, she makes me do it because it just makes life easier for her and gives me a better clinical result.
Shaun Keating: That’s so awesome. It really is. I remember back in the day when it just came out, it was like revolutionary and I just thought, and I’m like, “I know this dude,” and I know your brother’s a great guy, too, and stuff. But just what great thing for dentistry, and it’s still going strong and I’m thinking, “I’ve got to talk about this.” Now, what about with … I’ve got to do some of our Dental Up listeners and stuff. I’ve got to do some of this where I’m always giving stuff away at different conventions, stuff like that. We’ve got to start giving some of those Isolites away. You got any specials on them, 10% off or anything going? Or do you do any specials, or can we do a special for any of our people out there?
Dr. Hirsch: You know what, I think we can do a special. You kind of caught me off guard with this one, but I’ll talk to my marketing people there and yeah, for anybody that’s calling in for Keating, we can give them a special, maybe 10, 15, 20% off, something like that. I don’t know exactly what it will be, but absolutely, we’ll help you out there.
Shaun Keating: Let us know on that. We’ll put it up on the website for sure when we put the podcast, and to do a special promo code with Keating, and you’ll get a discount.
Dr. Hirsch: Sure.
Shaun Keating: But I think it’d be great, and then I want to do it, too, for holidays are coming up, we like to give back a little bit here and there. I’m always doing things with either AMD Lasers or whatever, you know?
Dr. Hirsch: Yup.
Shaun Keating: The price point is nice, it’s perfect, and I’ve got a lot of doctors that are in small little towns out there, and I just think it could help, like even if you still have your assistant, she can do more or they can do more and practice smarter.
Dr. Hirsch: Well, here’s the deal, too. Yeah, here’s the thing also. We’ve got three different models of this thing. We’ve got one with a light, we’ve got one without the light, and we’ve actually got an Isolite we call the Isovac that goes right on the end of your high-speed evacuator hose, so for people that are, let’s say, in an area that may be not be quite as affluent and they’re kind of struggling and they’ve got to watch every nickel and every dime, this is a real nice way to get into it with the Isovac that’s really relatively inexpensive.
Shaun Keating: That’s so perfect. We’ll have to get a link to your site and everything else, guys. I’m looking at my guys. Let’s get that, because I just think it’s great. You practice smarter, not harder, and this just really helps out. I just remember when I did it way back in the day and I went in, and I just love that block in the mouth, because no one ever had those before and you’re always holding your mouth up and then you kind of nod off, especially if I’m on the nitrous like I … you know, it’s like, “Shaun, open up again, man. You’re starting to … eyes are rolling back. Come on, wake up.” No, but with that block-
Dr. Hirsch: Yup, wake up, buddy.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, but that block, man, it’s kind of neat and it holds it open and you’re not tensing up and stuff. So just that, but no, that’s awesome. What a great, great product, and that’s so awesome, for sure. We’re going to help you out on those, because I want a lot of my clients to get that if they don’t, and I think it’ll improve their practice, for sure.
Dr. Hirsch: It improves your end clinical result, and it allows you to do things in half the time … Well, not half the time. Some of your procedures, half the time, but maybe, maybe you’re finished in 30% less time. So let’s say you’re doing a crown prep and it takes you an hour, hour and a half to do the crown prep. Eh, you’ll be done in 40 minutes. If it takes you an hour and a half, you’ll be done in an hour.
Shaun Keating: That’s so awesome.
Dr. Hirsch: It just makes life easy, [crosstalk 00:27:14].
Shaun Keating: Oh, heck yeah. That’s what it’s all about, man. That’s what we try to do in life, to find things we can do to make our lives a little bit easier, and I-
Dr. Hirsch: Let me tell you one more thing that I found.
Shaun Keating: Okay.
Dr. Hirsch: Down there, you guys do such a great job. You know me, I’ve been with you for what, 15 years now, more or less?
Shaun Keating: Yup.
Dr. Hirsch: Maybe 15, 16 years?
Shaun Keating: Absolutely.
Dr. Hirsch: And you’ve kind of seen me come full circle, where I was doing everything with you and then when I got my CEREC machine-
Shaun Keating: CEREC, yup.
Dr. Hirsch: … you found me falling off as far as the amount of business that I sent you.
Shaun Keating: Yes, we did.
Dr. Hirsch: That went for a while, but I’ve got to tell you, I love CEREC and I love CAD/CAM dentistry, but when I’ve got to sit there and spend all the time designing and milling and this and that, it just takes so damn much time, so I’ve almost come full circle now where you’re back doing almost everything again.
Shaun Keating: Oh I know. I love it, man. It’s like … Hirsch is cranking it.
Dr. Hirsch: You just make my life easy.
Shaun Keating: How’s your practice doing this year? Is it booming? It seems like it with us, for sure, for your numbers-
Dr. Hirsch: We’ve had an interesting year where we have been really busy and then we get really slow, and then we get really busy and really slow. I mean, I’ve been slow for the last week or so, and then all of the sudden, today somebody walks in and we got a bunch of implants we’re planning and then somebody else walked in with a broken tooth. He came in for a second opinion. Oh, here a good one. Guy went to the dentist, 28 through 30, three in a PFM bridge, 30 and 28 are root canaled. The bridge has been in about a year, 28 either got decayed or fractured off, comes off in the guy’s hand. He’s eating some soup, he pulls this thing out of his mouth, so either they had it in with provisional cement or something got contaminated. Now 28 is shot, so the guy said, “Well here, this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to take out 28 and we’re going to do a four-unit bridge.”
Dr. Hirsch: So he came in to see me this morning for another opinion, and I said, “Well, you know, that’s one option that you could do, and it can be done pretty expediently and pretty quick, but that really isn’t what I’d do in my mouth or in my office.” He said, “Well, what would you do?” I said, “Well,” I said, “I’d certainly take number 28. You’re going to lose that for sure, but then I’d just put two implants in. I’d put an implant in at 28 and an implant in at 29,” and he says, “So you wouldn’t have to grind down number 27?” And I said, “No. No, we don’t have to touch that tooth at all. It’s just fine.” He said, “I like that a whole lot better.”
Shaun Keating: Oh, look at that.
Dr. Hirsch: So one of the things that just never … and this guy, he’s an engineer type, he’s [inaudible 00:29:43] type guy, so he asked a ton of questions, and never be afraid to tell the patients what they really need and what you’d put in your own mouth, because sometimes you wonder, “Well, God, maybe they just want to do it this way,” or “They want to do it that way.” You’ve got to give your patients the option. Let them make the choice. Lay it all out, say, “We can do this or we can do that.”
Shaun Keating: Absolutely, no that sounds like good advice to me.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah.
Shaun Keating: So what are you doing … I know you’re in just a super nice area, but what do you do for marketing there? Are you doing much of interweb with like Facebook, or are you doing mailers? Tell me a little bit about-
Dr. Hirsch: I don’t do-
Shaun Keating: … how you’re driving that?
Dr. Hirsch: I don’t do any external marketing per se as far as mailers or this or that.
Shaun Keating: Okay.
Dr. Hirsch: We’ve got our Google search engine, and Amy came in here and I’ve always kind of shied away from Facebook and this and that. Honestly, I just don’t want to do it. So she kind of took it over, Amy kind of took over my media aspect, and so we’ve got a search engine optimization company that kind of optimizes us and we pay them a thousand bucks a month to do whatever they do. Honestly, I don’t know what they do.
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I see you out there.
Dr. Hirsch: I don’t know what they do.
Shaun Keating: I see it.
Dr. Hirsch: But they sure drive a lot of business here. We get a lot of responses, so we’re doing a lot of, I guess I’m going to call it internet marketing, if you will, and then we’ve got a Facebook page and I guess we’ve got this page and that page and we’ve got a Yelp and blah, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, I don’t know. I don’t know.
Shaun Keating: Yeah. I don’t know either. I just see it. I’m new to it, too, and I get on there. But I see yours, and I like it, because that’s what I do. If I like it, I’m going to say like, and so you know, I just-
Dr. Hirsch: And then what we do, we ask all of our patients to always give us a rating or review us, a Google … I guess it’s Google they go onto.
Shaun Keating: Well, what about … What’s the latest piece of equipment you’ve got in your practice probably? Is it that cone beam? Or … I know you already had the CEREC. Anything else?
Dr. Hirsch: I’ll tell you the coolest thing that I got. I was at a convention and you know the company Practicon? Practicon’s just a … They’ve got a lot of dental products and it’s called Practicon. They’ve got this cool little electric … You know with PVS impression material like Impregum and stuff like that, how hard that stuff is to squeeze out of the guns?
Shaun Keating: Absolutely.
Dr. Hirsch: And you’ve got this big old machine that sits on the wall?
Shaun Keating: Yup.
Dr. Hirsch: Well, Practicon made this gun, and it’s got … You put your cartridge in, it’s electric motor, and you’ve got your tip on there, you squeeze the trigger, the stuff just pops out and squirts right in the tray, and it’s awesome.
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. I remember before, you’d have to get scissors and just cut off the little tip and just … load it real-
Dr. Hirsch: Oh, my assistants get sore arms putting this thing in, but this thing goes lightning quick, so that’s a … You guys, if your assistants are complaining about squeezing all that stuff into the trays, this thing from Practicon is really pretty cheap. It’s about 250, 300 bucks, and-
Shaun Keating: We’ll put that on, too.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, and you put that thing there, so that’s something that I found, and then the zirconia powder. I’m still dialing that in a bit. I don’t know exactly if there’s any other better way to do it, but that’s the best way that I’ve found so far. And what else?
Shaun Keating: That’s so cool. We got some new tips and techniques from Dr. Thomas Hirsch-
Dr. Hirsch: Yup, there we go.
Shaun Keating: … from Malibu, California.
Dr. Hirsch: Hey Shaun, what’s new in your lab? Anything exciting?
Shaun Keating: You know, we’re just really rock and rolling it. We’re just doing a lot of monolithic. Our Bruxer and our Bruxer Aesthetic, it just seems like we’re setting records each month with it and just, it’s such a neat product. We used to do so many E-MAX back in the day, like thousands of E-MAX a week, and at a buck 43 or so, a buck 53 with a micro layer, it can get a little pricey for some practices, but they can go to this monolithic that the aesthetics are just rivaling the … what is it?
Dr. Hirsch: What you should do is you should-
Shaun Keating: Lithium silicate, I’m sorry. Try to get that out, go ahead.
Dr. Hirsch: Yeah, spit that one out.
Shaun Keating: Yeah.
Dr. Hirsch: What you should do is you ought to send out some recommended instructions for the monolithic zirconia as far as what actually bonds. What is it, the MDP molecule? What is it? There’s a certain molecule in the cement that bonds to zirconia so you don’t have to rely on retention to hold these things on, and I think it’s MDP. “Clinical application for bonding to zirconia: The ideal protocol for luting a zirconia crown onto a preparation lacking resistance/retention would be: Treat the zirconia surface with an MDP-based zirconia primer, such as Z-Prime Plus.” I just said that because I’m reading it, I’m not recommending it.
Shaun Keating: Okay.
Dr. Hirsch: So anyway, yeah. So if something has an MDP, people need to know that.
Shaun Keating: Okay, absolutely. We’re going to get that info out, for sure. We have it all on our site, too, on different-
Dr. Hirsch: Super.
Shaun Keating: … products that we recommend, but well hey, man, I know you’ve got to get back. I can’t thank you enough. Dr. Hirsch, man. You’re the man, and I love you so much and can’t thank you enough for-
Dr. Hirsch: Any time I can help you out. Love to talk to you. You’re always fun to talk to, and you come with my highest recommendations. I love your lab, I love your work, and I love the quick turn times that I get. I can sit down there, I can prep it, single unit, multiple units, I can prep it on a Monday, I can have it back the following Monday and if I really need it back, you get it back to me really fast.
Shaun Keating: Oh, man. We can get it back in a day or two, if you want. We just fly it on down to you. I’ve got to get my private jet and get on down.
Dr. Hirsch: You’re going to get right in your jet, huh?
Shaun Keating: I can’t fly it.
Dr. Hirsch: You’re going to get in your jet and then when you’re right over my office, you’re going to drop off one of those little drones, huh?
Shaun Keating: Yeah, I’ll drone it right down with my … I forgot the name of it, but we’ve got those drones, man. They’re amazing. Do a lot of videos-
Dr. Hirsch: Okay, guy.
Shaun Keating: All right, hey, Dr. Hirsch, thank you so much. I love you, man, and you need anything, just let me know, big guy.
Dr. Hirsch: Okay, Shaun. Good talking to you.
Shaun Keating: All right, baby. Talk to you soon.
Dr. Hirsch: Okay. Bye-bye.
Shaun Keating: 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.