Has there ever been a better time to be a dentist? Well, who knows—the present is all we have. And this year’s 40 Under 40 honorees are emblematic of the profession: entrepreneurial, clinically proficient and sanguine about a possible recession.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS to look at today’s complex business environment for practice owners. Both were expressed perfectly by this year’s 40 Under 40.
The first: There has never been a better time to be a dentist. “By definition, we’re no longer in the golden age of dentistry, but I think we’re in another, different golden age,” says Dr. Steve Yusupov, a specialist in Roslyn, New York, who opened his practice in 2021. The second: If now isn’t the best time to be a dentist, well, so what? The present is all we have. Says Dr. Gabriela Flores, who recently bought a practice in Miami Beach, “It’s like the old saying: ‘The best time to invest was 10 years ago.’ ”
True, dental school tuition is up. (But when hasn’t it increased year over year?) Real estate values have risen as well. (Though they almost always do; that’s why it’s such a reliable investment.) Practice marketing is also more nuanced today. (Then again, there are also more options for ensuring measurably stronger ROI compared with old-fashioned advertising—some of it’s even free, such as social media and user reviews.) Collectively, that means that practice owners only need be a little smarter and more hands-on than in the past.
Which brings us to this year’s 40 Under 40. Unsurprisingly, our Class of 2023 is more engaged, motivated, multitalented and successful than ever. Want to know what the best young dentists are thinking, or exactly how they made it big? Need inspiration or wisdom? Chances are, there’s someone right where you aspire to be someday.
Something else about our 40 Under 40: They’re undeterred by the kind of noise that distracts many entrepreneurs, as you’ll see. When we asked them specifically about the prospect of a recession, their reactions were decidedly nonchalant. “In dentistry, there are so many levers to pull,” says Dr. Margaret Spargimino, a practice owner in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Added Dr. Meyleen Izquierdo of Weston, Florida: “The chances of a dental practice failing are only something like 3 percent, even now.”
If we could buy stock in dentistry as a whole, we’d bet our life savings on it. That’s not a gut reaction; it’s based on years of concrete data, business intelligence and insights that we see at Benco Dental. All of it tells us one thing: Our customers are confidently investing more every year into building their practices. They’re also ordering more supplies to treat their expanding patient bases. Exactly as they did during the pandemic. And as they’re doing now, in what can best be called a strange, if not recession-inevitable, economy.
Are we biased? Perhaps. We grew up in this business. But more than anything, we’re gratified to play a role in dentistry’s success. Watching so many doctors succeed at what they love while making patients’ lives better is a thrill. And, like our 40 Under 40 honorees themselves, it just keeps getting better every year. ■