Max is a general dentist from Elm Grove, WI; a smaller town outside of Milwaukee. He has been in private practice for 5 years since graduating from Marquette University and has a dream of retiring in a world where the Green Bay Packers win the superbowl every year and private dental practices still thrive and do not look like today’s medical practice with crappy customer service and no real relationships with patients. Max and his wife Susan, a Pediatric Dentist, live with their dog Gilbert Brown and In their free time they enjoy hiking, binge watching Netflix and helping to run a small 501c3 called United By PAT, chartered to providing dental care to those with big need and little access.
VIDEO - DUwHF #1017 - Max Meinerz
AUDIO - DUwHF #1017 - Max Meinerz
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Howard: It's just a huge honor for me today to be podcast interviewing Max Meinerz. Thank you so much for coming over on the show. He's coming up on his five-year anniversary. I like to think of this as a variety show of dentists at all different stages. We've done our fair share of a bunch of sixty-five-year- old white-haired men who wrote textbooks and are the specialists in their field. It's fun to get consultants. I think it's really fun to get a thirty-year-old, because I always ask you, "Send me an email at Howard@dentaltown.com, and tell me your age, where you're from". Dude, 25% are still in dental school. The rest are all under thirty. I get like one email a week from someone who's forty or fifty. I think the oldest email I got was sixty-one and I'm fifty-five, so there's only like one guy listening to this show that's older than me.
Howard: Well, let me read your bio. Max is a general dentist from Elm Grove, Wisconsin, a smaller town outside of Milwaukee. Now, are you old enough to remember Laverne and Shirley?
Max: Absolutely, I've seen that show.
Max: Oh yeah. Re-runs probably.
Howard: Okay. Re-runs. He's been in private practice for five years since graduating from Marquette University and has a dream of retiring in a world where the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl every year and private dental practices still thrive and do not look like today's medical practices with crappy customer service and no real relationship with patients. Max and his wife Susan, a pediatric dentist, live with their dog, Gilbert Brown, and in their free time, they enjoy hiking, binge watching Netflix, and helping to run a small 501(c)(3), called United by Pat, chartered to providing dental care to those with big need and little access. God ding, that’s cool. So, that name. I've never seen a dog with a first and last name. So, Gilbert Brown, that must mean something. Is that a star out of a movie or something?
Max: Gilbert Brown played for the Packers in the mid-nineties. He was a monster defensive lineman.
Max: And my dog happens to be brown, so it just kind of made sense.
Howard: And the Packers was Vince Lombardi, right?
Max: Absolutely. Way back then.
Howard: So, that's why the Super Bowl trophy is Vince Lombardi.
Max: That is correct. Yep. We wish we'd win it more, but at least we got it...
Howard: So, you have to just explain to me one thing before we can move on. I'm obviously an Arizona Cardinals fan, and it never snows here and we have a roof on our stadium. And then I see some of your games where it's sometimes hard to even see the field. It looks like a white album. I'm like, why does Arizona have a roof and it never snows. So, why did you guys not add on the roof?
Max: I think it's because everybody in the stadium is so drunk, they all feel warm and it's like they're 12th defenders. So, I don't know. That's a good question. I'll have to talk to them, next time I'm up there.
Howard: I've lectured in that stadium. They have rooms up on the side there. So, there's an amazing lab up there called Lord's Dental Studio. And they had me come up back when Renny Challoner owned the lab. They used to have me come up every couple of years.
Howard: And you went to Marquette and Renny Challoner ... So, now they're opening up all these new dental schools. When I got out in '87, they were closing down a bunch of dental schools. They closed down Emory in Georgia, St Louis, Washington U, Howard University, Northwestern. I think it was six or seven dental schools. And they were going to close down Marquette, which was a private Jesuit school. I went to Creighton Undergrad in Omaha, a Jesuit school. And the owner of Lord's Dental Studio, Renny Challoner, said "That's a really bad idea". And he was such a mover and shaker. He was able, he was so, you know, your net worth equals your network. And he was able to get the governor, the mayor, the dean of the school, he got everybody in a freaking room and said, "What is going on?" They were in there and Renny had all these post-it notes and grease boards. And a marathon, twelve hours later they figured out the money, the stake, costs, who was going to do what. He saved the whole damn dental school. If it wasn't for Renny Challoner, there wouldn't have been a Marquette.
Max: That's pretty amazing. Yeah.
Howard: Yeah. What an amazing guy. And then he eventually retired, and I think he lives in Florida now. Just an amazing guy. A lot of history up in that state. My two favorite labs over the years was Lords in Wisconsin and Green Dental Lab in Arkansas, because those two labs got one third of all the dentists in their state to use them. So, there's these other big labs like Glidewell, that make 5% of all the crowns in America. Sure. But they're spread out all over the United States. Nobody got the density. And they got that density, say for like in dental school, they were totally connected in their backyard. They put on online CE, and they said, "We don't need to go to Indiana and Texas and Kansas. We just want to concentrate on our backyard. Lord's Dental Studio always had hands-on courses, online CE courses.
Howard: And I always try to carry on that, Wisconsin Lord's Dental Studio and Green of Arkansas, with these dentists on continued education, they always think they got to get on an air plane and fly across the country and drop $3,000 a weekend with some fancy instructor who's not going to be there when your case fails and you go to the board. And there's some amazing endodontists across the street from you that'll teach endo. There's an amazing periodontist or oral surgeon. True, true. Probably half of them live in fear and scarcity and thing. "I don't want to teach you molar endo. You just sent it to me." And the quicker you can identify that someone is toxic, you know, because you're just going to be a summary of the five people...
Max: People you're with...
Howard: Close to your life. So, if you find out there's two oral surgeons across the street and one's toxic and lives in fear. Well, you don't need that shit. If you need that shit, all you got to do is watch Fox News and CNN and MSNBC and all the media companies which are just all publicly traded for profit, fearmongering bullshit.
Howard: You just need to start finding the five specialists in your area. You want the orthodontist that's going to teach you Invisalign, not the orthodontist that lives in fear that you might learn Invisalign. You know what I mean? So, I really loved their business models. It was kind of like Patterson when Pete Frechette was the CEO, he wouldn't let him go overseas. Stan Bergman spread like fifty-six different countries. You go to lecture dental conventions around the world, Shein's in most every country I've ever lectured in and has a booth in the back and all that stuff. But Pete Frechette said, "Dude, America does a hundred and nineteen billion dollars a year in dentistry.
Max: There's a few bucks (unclear? 07:01).
Howard: We don't need to go to Mexico and Peru and China.
Howard: And he just focused on the States. He eventually added Canada, which makes a lot of sense, because 90% of Canada lives within hundred miles of the US border. So, we just moved our northern border, just a simple one hundred miles. Canada would just be polar bears and maple trees.
Howard: So, what have you learned? Let's go back. Let's start with the 25% of our listeners that are still in dental school. They want to graduate so bad, but the closer they get to the finish line, the bigger the knots are getting in their stomach, because they realize, "Oh my God, I'm going to graduate from dental kindergarten school".
Howard: "Where I've lived in a protected refugee from kindergarten to doctorate." And now they got to go enter the real world.
Max: It's terrifying, right?
Howard: Yeah, it is. Because it's change, and the only people who like change are little babies who crapped their pants. Adults don't like it.
Max: That's (unclear? 08:01), but yeah.
Howard: So, what advice would you give these kids in dental school?
Max: Yeah, if I could go back and do it all again, I'd probably take a few more of those like dead afternoons where the patient cancels and you're looking for the golf course or the gun range or the bar. Kind of create your own luck and do a little bit of a better job of kind of filling your time. Whether it's going to volunteer in one of the specialty clinics, just hanging around somebody that knows more than you, and utilize that time a little bit better. And then also, walking out with your diploma, your shit still stinks. I think getting to know that and appreciate and respect that is really important. So, making a priority, a budget line item when you get out for associateship or whatever else it is that you're doing. That you're reinvesting in yourself, going to bug your endodontist buddy down the street, to learn a little bit better about all the specialty things that you're probably not as good at as you may think on graduation day.
Howard: Yeah. I think it takes five years after graduation to realize that you suck. A lot of kids come out and they went to Jamaica and placed like fifty implants on a weekend.
Max: Sure, yeah. How many of them are still there?
Howard: But they never saw their patient again, they don't know what the hell happened to them. So, they come out and they start doing all this, placing all these implants and doing all this. And it takes a year or two to realize, these fillings fell out, it de-bonded, the implant failed. It takes five years to find out that you actually don't walk on water, you're shit does stink. And then you have to either commit to continue education the rest of your life. That's why I'm against dental therapists, because the reason I'm against dental therapists is that, when you're a fully trained doctor, you barely know what's going on and you need five years and about five hundred hours of CE just to get average. So then someone is saying, "Oh, you don't need a full doctor, you need a half doctor".
Howard: And it's always that hypocritical stuff. Like, Bill and Hillary Clinton were massively against private vouchers for private school and said, "No, public education only". First question, "Where does your only child go?" "Oh, private school." And then you say to these people that want dental therapists, say, "Well, if your tooth broke, would you want to go to a half doctor?" "Oh no, I'd want to find the best doctor. The best dentist in Scottsdale, Beverly Hills, I'd want the best of the best." "Okay. So, you want the best of the best for yourself. But for the little people, a half doctor will work fine for him?"
Max: It's kind of amazing how good we are dictating other people's lives for them, whether it's, you get the half doctor, but I'm taking a full one. I've never known anybody to do the half ass thing for themselves, whether it was their ass on the line. So, you make a valid point. I think that the dental therapy programs are well intentioned, but definitely aren't going to work terribly well in practice.
Howard: Well, the bottom line is that they miss the whole point. If you want kids to go back to a town of five thousand, you got to get the kids from the five thousand. That's what Jack Dillenberg found out. He said, "You know why the kids don't go back to the Indian reservation? Because none of the kids came from the Indian reservation. And you know why none of the Navajos got in dental school? Because you're fixated on this DAT score that measures algebra and trigonometry and all this bullshit that you don't even need when you're a dentist." And Jack came out there and said, "You know what? We've got Indian reservations with no Indian dentists on it. We've got small town rural." And he was the first dean to say, "No, we're going to accept kids from the Navajos. I don't give a shit what their GPA is. What are you saying? That the Navajos should not have a Navajo dentist, because that's better than having a Navajo dentist who's not good in algebra?" I mean, how stupid is that?
Howard: And then the same thing. There's a mine up there in northern Arizona that we stopped by and talked to them. I said, "What is your biggest problem to grow?" Then he goes, "Well, we can't get any engineers up here". I said, "Why?" They said, "Because the kids that applied from this town don't get accepted an issue." You know, who gets accepted an issue? All the kids from Phoenix who got 4.0’s on math and chemistry and geometry and trig. And those kids stay in Phoenix. So, if you want to support rural, if you want to support Indian reservations, not creating half doctor therapists, because if that half doctor came from Scottsdale, well, they sure as shit ain't go on to some rural farm. They're not going to get in a canoe and go out into the backwoods of the Yukon and Alaska to work on Eskimos like your little fantasy world things. If you want some kid to practice in the Yukon, and by the Bering Sea, well you better find an Eskimo from there that wants to come. So, they completely missed the boat. But what did you do right when you graduated? When you graduated, what was your, what was your first move?
Max: Oh man. Yeah, that was private practice. So, my mother is a dentist. Full time mom. Part time dentist.
Howard: Your mom is a dentist?
Max: Yeah, one of those ladies.
Howard: That is so cool! And you married a dentist?
Max: Yes. There's probably a lot of weird...
Howard: You know Mark Zuckerberg's dad is a dentist.
Howard: And he's married to a female MD psychiatrist. Mark Zuckerberg. I just thought it was so cute that he married a female MD.
Max: Oh, I did not know that.
Howard: And your mom, was she like a role model idol?
Max: Oh absolutely.
Howard: And then you went out and found your mom a role model idol, and you married a female pediatric dentist.
Max: Pretty much.
Howard: That is so damn cool.
Max: Yeah. Yeah. So, I'm a pretty blessed guy surrounded by lady dentists.
Howard: Strong women dentists.
Max: My wife is the boss. That is for sure. I'm a smart guy and...
Howard: Now when she gets mad at you, does she make you drink silver diamine fluoride?
Max: Yeah, she switches it on, and lets it stain. Yeah, exactly. "You're going to work like this."
Howard: Your mom rinsed your mouth out with soap and now your wife switched to silver diamine fluoride.
Max: Malice. Yeah, the 2018 kind of punishment I suppose. Right?
Howard: So, when you graduated you wouldn't work for your mom?
Max: For her and like three or four other dentists at the same time. It was kind of cobbled together, a full time...
Howard: In the same town?
Max: Yeah. It's probably at the worst driving about an hour and a half.
Howard: So, you were born in Elm Grove?
Max: In a town that's kind of a mouthful. It's called Wauwatosa.
Max: Wauwatosa. W-A-U-W-A-T-O-S-A.
Howard: Wauwatosa. Is that the town right next to the (Unclear? 14:39)
Max: That's a good question. I'll have to look at the map when I get home, man.
Howard: So, you're born in Wauwatosa?
Max: Yes sir.
Howard: And your mom's practice is there?
Max: In Elm Grove.
Howard: In Elm Grove. So, you would practice, you would work a day or two a week for her...
Max: Day or two, yep. Day or two at the other guy, day or two at the guy down the street. It was kind of a mess for a while.
Howard: And then how long did you do that?
Max: Couple of years. Until the practice that I wanted to be in, the one that my mother had started, had grown up to a place where I could resign from those many associateships. Now I'm there full time. It's fantastic.
Howard: And is your mom there full time too?
Max: She retired a couple of years ago.
Howard: How old is she?
Max: She is, I'm probably not supposed to share this, but she's a little bit older than you.
Howard: Why is it that, I'll tell anybody my age. Men will always tell you their age and they'll always show you their scar.
Howard: And women never tell their age. I mean, if men gave babies and had stretch marks, they'd show you. I mean, it's like when you meet a vegan, they always have to let you know that...
Max: They're vegan, yeah.
Howard: Within three minutes. Men love to show their scars, are proud of their age. But anyway, so she retired?
Max: She retired.
Howard: So, what now. Are you still living there now?
Max: I've gotten a partner recently which has been kind of an interesting and new and really fine development and we mutually have a part time associate as well.
Howard: So, you sold him a half?
Max: I did, yeah.
Howard: Or did you just buy half of your mom's and she sold the other half to him?
Max: No, I bought the whole thing. Sold half to the new guy.
Howard: Okay. So, let's talk about that because some people say we only get married, you have great sex and you share a dog named Gilbert Brown and your holidays and weekends, and that fails half the time.
Howard: So now you married a... Is he a male?
Max: He is a male.
Howard: You guys have great sex.
Max: We don't have great sex. He's got great hair. So, I thought about it, but no. We have a pretty nice clinical and business partnership mostly because the areas where I know that I'm most efficient, he's really strong and vice versa.
Howard: Where you're efficient...
Max: And strong, he's maybe not so well.
Howard: So, you have competing skills? Complementing skills?
Max: We have complementing skills.
Howard: So, what is Max Meinerz' complimentary? What are your skills?
Max: I know a ton of really shitty jokes. I do like to get a little bit more into the blood and guts, so extractions or implants, doing that kind of stuff is really fun to me. That's the kind of stuff that makes Kyle, my partner's hair...
Howard: Now when you say blood and guts. Does that include endo?
Max: Not so much on the endo, that's his thing.
Howard: So, what's his name?
Howard: Kyle. So, Kyle likes endo, and what else?
Max: Cosmetics is also his thing. If I had to pass on every veneer case where there's a middle-aged divorcee that wants to look twenty years younger and more beautiful, I just can't do it.
Howard: There's this guy up the street from me. He has this fellowship in the academy of cosmetic dentistry and all this stuff and every crazy bat shit woman, crazy eye that wants all these veneers and everything. I just listen to her long enough to where I can interrupt and refer her to this guy up the street and then he always thanks me for it. And I would say, that that is so damn cool.
Max: That is kind of cool.
Howard: I'd rather work at Taco Bell then treat that woman and you're sending me a thank you card.
Howard: So, complement each other. So, you do extractions and implants. He does endo cosmetics. So, the rest of just be a restorative...
Max: All kinds of stuff. We do a little bit of clear aligner therapy.
Howard: When you say clear aligner, what brand are you using?
Max: We're using Invisalign right now.
Howard: You know what, it's funny because Invisalign has decided to, they don't need to orthodontist or something, right? They bought, I think 17% of SmileDirectClub.
Max: That's correct.
Howard: They're opening stores in malls. So, the orthodontists are very livid mad about this.
Howard: But almost everyone I know, I say to, "So, then what brand do you use now?" They say, "Well, I still use Invisalign". I say, "Why?" They just say all the incremental improvements, the retainer, the plastic, the materials. They just say, "It just works better, moves better moves faster".
Max: And it's easy.
Howard: So, they're so mad at that company, but they won't quit using their product. Because there are some substitutes. ClearCorrect.
Max: Sure. I think they're down in Texas.
Howard: Yeah. And they went under, didn't they?
Max: I don't know that. I still get marketing emails from them.
Howard: So, you're using Invisalign?
Max: Yeah. Yeah.
Howard: Both of you do Invisalign?
Max: Well, we both do a little bit of that, but it's really limited stuff. We still have a pretty healthy relationship with our orthodontic colleagues in the neighborhood.
Howard: So, you're in Elm Grove?
Max: Elm Grove. Yeah.
Howard: What's the population in Elm Grove?
Max: Elm Grove, that's got to be a handful of thousand people.
Howard: Just a thousand?
Max: A handful of thousand.
Howard: What's a handful of thousand? Five thousand?
Max: Five thousand, yeah.
Howard: But you're using Invisalign?
Max: We are using Invisalign? Yeah. One thing I have been, and this is not something that we've attempted on anybody other than myself. I've got a case in process. The Blue Sky Bio's are developing an ortho module. Interested to see how that all....
Howard: Blue Sky Bio? Which is Cory Glenn.
Max: That's correct. Yeah, he's their...
Howard: Cory Glenn, love that guy. And then who's the podcast, the founder of Blue Sky Bio that we did? But anyway, what are they doing in ortho?
Max: So, they've got a CAT planning kind of module for orthodontics. So, if you wanted to bring that service that Invisalign dings you seventeen, eighteen hundred bucks for or whatever it is in house, you can dig around and do the planning and have the aligners made in your office.
Background: Sheldon Lerner.
Howard: Sheldon Lerner. Are you doing this now?
Max: No, I have like one case. Literally I'm attempting it on myself just to do some really minor orthodontic corrections.
Howard: Would you 3D print the trays?
Max: So, if you have a scan, a captured arch with an internal scanner or a table top scanner, you can create sequential printed models and then form your (unclear? 20:55) down.
Howard: And what internal camera are they recommending?
Max: Blue Sky Bio doesn't have one. Anything open source. So, you can use whatever.
Howard: It sounds like the Copenhagen, Denmark, is now at the best with their TRIOS.
Max: Yeah. That one is pretty nice, that's for sure.
Howard: Yeah. And it seems like that's pulling away from 3M's True Def scanner.
Max: Yeah. I've not tried the True Def, but I would obviously trust your opinion on that one.
Howard: But for the cost people, it sounds like just taking alginates and then putting that in a box scanner is going to be the lower cost. So, you do extractions, implants, Invisalign. Your partner Kyle does endo cosmetics, Invisalign, and then you both split the restorative crown and bridge and hygiene checks and all that?
Max: Yeah, for the most part.
Howard: So how many ops do you have?
Max: Seven equipped and plumbed are eight.
Howard: Okay. Are you both there the same hours or do you try to spread your hours to be more available to the patients?
Max: We try to be a little bit more available to our patients. So, we've got probably fifty-five clinical hours a week that we're open.
Howard: Nice. So, the average dentist is thirty-two, so double that is sixty-four. I mean, thirty-two to fifty-five, that's a lot of availability. And it really helps your Google search because so many dentists they'd say things like, "Well, I use this firm and they got me on page one". Dude, if I type in your exact name, you'll be the first one to come up.
Howard: When you say you're on page one, that didn't tell me anything. What search? Is that page one Google near me? So, what are your hours? Monday through what? What are your hours?
Max: Seven to seven, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Seven thirty to seven.
Howard: Wait. Seven to seven?
Max: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.
Howard: Seven thirty?
Max: To seven. Yeah.
Howard: Seven thirty to seven. What days?
Max: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday.
Howard: Thursday. Okay. Then Wednesday?
Max: Wednesday is seven thirty to four thirty. Friday is seven thirty to kind of whenever we finish, usually two. If there's the right case that I want to do, I'll stick around.
Howard: And what about Saturdays and Sundays?
Max: I'm open one Saturday a month. My partner does not like working Saturdays. So, I kind of enjoy it.
Howard: So, the point I'm making is this. Say, the number one surgeon in dentistry on Google for anything is near me. So, you're on vacation, Mexican food near me.
Howard: You're looking for a dentist, dentist near me. If the guy across the street closes at five and you're the only one open, well, it doesn't benefit Google to send you to a business that's closed. Just like when I'm in Phoenix and I need to go withdraw money at a bank and I say, "Chase near me". Well, if the one three miles from my house is closed, that's not the first listing. The one that's four miles south, that's a twenty-four hour one, will pop up. And I think when you Google, "Chase bank near me" and it's after midnight. I think Google will just say, "Dude, really? Really? Why don't you just go to bed? You need to go to bed. All the chases are closed."
Howard: And that's why I think dentists should open up their funnel and just, you could be open seven to seven even though the dentist is only working eight to five.
Howard: Because if you open that funnel that you're open to calls, then that really helps your Google search. If you don't want to be open Saturday, well how much would it cost you to put some lady in there to answer the phone on Saturdays and even Sundays or forward the calls even to her...
Max: Cell phone.
Howard: To her cell phone.
Howard: Because if those were your hours, seven to seven, seven days a week and you call and it's open and you two are on call or whatever. You'd be getting all the Google search for Saturday and Sunday.
Max: I wonder how Google would treat that though. If nobody's GPS on their phone had ever actually put them on site that date or hour, that you'd want it to be open.
Howard: Well, you could pay her to go sit in the office.
Max: Sure. Yeah.
Howard: I mean if you're hung up on that, then just say, "Oh, I'll pay you", but yeah. And then I say, the craziest thing about all these SEO people is that they're always telling you how Google works you know, they know everything about Google. And it's like, okay, and you're in the Holiday Inn and you know everything about Google? Well, why don't you go tell Bing how Google works, because they'll pay you a billion dollars cash if you can fucking tell them how Google works.
Max: How to make Bing work well.
Howard: Because Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, Word, Excel. I mean, what I love about Microsoft, it was in the last bubble, '94 to 2000. It was Microsoft and Intel and Dell and Cisco, and then everything crashed. Now they're back in the second bubble thing, but let's look at Microsoft. They have seven sources of revenue. Facebook and Google, both of them, about a 110-115% of all their revenue comes from advertising. The reason I say 115%, is because they write off so much money in all these projects that have failed, that if they weren't doing all those projects, when they say ninety cents earnings, well they would have had one hundred twenty cents earnings if they weren't putting all this money into all these losing projects, which they do because they're paranoid. They only have one revenue source.
Max: That's true.
Howard: And then Amazon actually, is too. Half of their money comes from cloud storage.
Howard: But everybody only talks about their retail stuff. And then their cloud storage is massively more problem. But Microsoft, what a solid company. Seven forms of revenue. So, the point that I was making is that anybody who tells you they understand SEO is completely full of shit because if Bill Gates actually thought you actually knew what you were talking about, they'd pay you any frickin' amount of money possible to go and get some of Google's market. And Google does look like its heyday is over because it's really weird, on the desktop everybody uses them, but on mobile, the number of Google searches on mobile has been drifting downwards for...
Max: Yeah. And what's replacing it?
Howard: Other apps.
Howard: Voice. You know, Siri.
Max: And Alexa.
Howard: Alexa. Amazon. I think Amazon has 70% of the voice search now.
Howard: 70% of the voice search.
Howard: Have you been in anybody's home yet where they said, "Hey Alexa."
Max: Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah.
Howard: Do you have it in your house?
Max: I don't. Partially because I'm always like about two steps behind the curve when it comes to technology. But my brother, he's a tech nerd. He's a big Google guy. He's got the Google Home and he swears by it.
Howard: But I want to go back to your partnership, because I was talking to this one lawyer who says, "You know what, when you have a lover and you have love and pets and furry friends and family and holidays, that's a glue". He said, "You know, money is a very strong glue".
Max: That's very true.
Howard: And if you got a partner and you're making each other money and you're making a lot of money, he thinks that a lot of men, a lot of dentists, male or female, that it's actually easier to walk away from their spouse than it is from their cash cow, the goose that's laying the golden egg. So, it's just a different kind of glue. But how long have you and Kyle been partners?
Max: We literally just finished up our first quarter together. So, we're still kind of in a honeymoon phase.
Howard: So, were you classmates or how did you meet this guy?
Max: Yeah, we met in dental school at Marquette. I thought Kyle was a huge asshole the first time I met him. So, kind of funny how that's all come around, but yeah, we trained together. He's been my dentist since I graduated and mom hung it up. So, I know he's a fantastic clinician. That was the easy part. We have a lot of fun. On the weekends just hanging out as well, we're really good buds. But yeah, it's been a very fruitful partnership so far and very pleasant to have somebody you can trust.
Howard: Now, was your dad a dentist too?
Max: No. No, he's not weird enough to be a dentist. He's in business packaging, chemical and food.
Howard: Wow. That is so amazing. So, what do you think your secrets have been out of school? Has continuing education been a part of your success? Would you say you've taken a lot of CE? Average? Less than average? The bare legal minimum?
Max: No, no way more than that. I would say I'm slightly above average when it comes to the amount of CE credits that I tackle. A lot more of it being now online. So, using like a Dentaltown's CE module or Spear's got a pretty good digital kind of suite of services.
Howard: How much is Spear a year for their online CE?
Max: They ding you for like a hundred and fifty bucks a month. So, whatever that is.
Howard: That's the fee? $150 a month?
Max: Thereabouts. I wanted to say it's $149 a month.
Howard: Well, you see, first you said it's a hundred and fifty. Now you're saying it's a hundred and forty-nine. Make up your mind.
Max: Okay, well a hundred and forty-nine and a half.
Howard: So, that's $1,788 a year.
Howard: Which is $149 times twelve. And now does that put you in a meet in the flesh study club or is it totally...
Max: No, that's like Max hanging out in his underwear watching a video on the Apple TV or something.
Howard: Yeah. Apple TV?
Howard: So, you're doing Spear Education? We've had Imtiaz Manji on the show. We've had Sameer Puri on the show.
Max: They're right down the street, right?
Howard: Yeah, they're right up the street. Well they're in the rich section of Scottsdale. I'm in the poor, born in the barn trailer trash section called Phoenix. So, you said Spear Ed and Dentaltown online CE?
Howard: So, tell me what your honest thoughts are of the Dentaltown online CE.
Max: Dentaltown has got a ton of content which I really like and there's a lot of diverse thought whereas you are in the Spear camp if you're using their product. Understandably so. So, I like being able to search and check out a bunch of different kinds of avenues on Dentaltown. I will say they kind of dummy proofed it at Spear where it's like, this is your pathway, so course A leads to B to C. So, that's really helpful if you want to learn that one thing, Spear's got a pretty good...
Howard: And what is that one thing with Spear?
Max: Well, obviously they're pretty good at occlusion. I do think Spear also has a really nice business management and culture promotion.
Howard: Let's back up to occlusion. Your wife is a pediatric dentist?
Max: Sure. Yeah.
Howard: I think the only controversy they have among their group... Is she your same class, same age, thirty-five years, out in May?
Howard: It seems like the only controversy they have is silver diamine fluoride. We got a silver diamine fluoride rockstar here in Phoenix, Jeanette MacLean.
Howard: Hell, the New York Times did a cover story on her. It's like amazing. Loves it, swears by it. Whatever. Some of the other people, they're not big fans of it. Turns a tooth black. They don't think it kills everything, you know, blah, blah, blah. But when you go to endo, I can't even think of a controversy among endodontists. I mean, they're just so homogenous, oral surgeons, they hardly disagree, but when you go to occlusion, holy shit.
Max: Yeah, that's pretty wild.
Howard: It's like "Well, I'm Judaism". "I'm Islam." "I'm Confucius." "I'm Buddhist." Do you agree that that's the way it kind of is?
Max: Very much the case. And I also think, whether it comes to occlusal dysfunction, your outcomes, everybody's working on some sliding scale of madness. TMJ joints are really rocking sore, they never get fixed. It's always some improvement but never fully rectified. So, all those different pathways and treating those different disease states, it doesn't seem like anybody's clearly got their finger on the pulse.
Howard: The other thing is, human. I put a human in the same category as a cockroach.
Howard: And an ant and a beetle, because they live on all seven continents. Every type of geology environment. Snow, cold. I mean, I've seen some of the most messed up bites, grind down cross, but I mean, I've seen some of the craziest shit period. It's working fine. And then you'll have another case where they'd had braces, Invisalign, they're almost perfect, and it's like one little filling throws them off the deep end. So, there's probably a lot yet to be discovered over the next thousand years to figure it out. And stress. I mean, it seems like when I see people with their occlusion on haywire, you don't have to ask many questions. They're going through a divorce, lost their job, credit card maxed.
Howard: So, it's like you got all this occlusion stuff, but I mean, shit, you just answer them. Any stressful change, you know, loss of a parent. I mean, they might be going through three other emotional, traumatic things. So, then you're like, "Is this psychosomatic?" And is the stress causing your brain to spasm? Your jaw to spasm, your lower back to go out, your irritable bowel syndrome and your heart contracting, which is the five major stress spasms degrees? Or do we really have a bite issue?
Max: Yeah. I think, all of us in healthcare, if we get to a place where the only little part of the body that we take care of is the only thing we're thinking about, that's when we get ourselves into these kind of confusing and head scratching kind of problem areas. You got to take care of the people attached to the teeth and they've got a bunch of unique problems as well.
Howard: Yeah, and it's funny because the dentists are always talking about the oral systemic link.
Howard: But you talk to your physician friends and they're all like, "Well, I used to be an internist, but now we're really getting into the full body". Or you talk to a kidney specialist. "Well, you know, we did a lot of kidney, but now we're really thinking about how the kidney is interacting." So, every one of the fifty specialities in the MD world and all nine specialities in the dental world, that's that phenomena where everybody is discovering that the thirty feet down in the mouth holes direct t