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AUDIO - HSP #266 - Sam Weisz
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VIDEO - HSP #266 - Sam Weisz
• The inspiration and beginning of Sugar Bugs
• Sam Weisz' early involvement in Dentistry
• How dentists can use the book as an effective tool!
After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Samuel Weisz gained a spot at the VA Medical Center in Long Beach, California where he completed postgraduate training in Implants, Sedation Dentistry, and Anesthesia medicine.
With this unique training he has continued using advancements in dental technology to increase the comfort of his patients in the chair. His main focus is on prevention, an area in which he lectures frequently. He can be seen teaching throughout the Chicagoland area at one of his sought after programs dealing with juvenile dental health and anxiety. He is known for his hands on approach, working with Kids to reduce anxieties and fear about going to the dentist. His core beliefs include fostering early education to lay the groundwork for healthy teeth for life. Dr. Sam Weisz has implemented the use of Computer Guided Implant surgeries in conjunction with a process called conscious sedation to make his Libertyville dentist office a more comfortable and less scary place to be. His first project post residency, was as editor to the dental education publication, “Things You Should Have Learned in Dental School and Never Did”. Dr. Sam Weisz’s main goal in dentistry is to make the dentist less scary and create a new kind of smile for the patients at Libertyville Dental Associates.
Dr. Weisz remains dedicated to providing dental care to under served populations both at home and abroad. He has gained a unique perspective on life in places in which there are few or no dentists, through his work with migrant farm workers of the southwest, isolated populations of Yucatan Mexico’s village communities, and the U.S. war veteran population. In his free time, Dr. Weisz has a fondness for anything adventurous, from hiking and whitewater rafting to amateur boxing and fishing.
Dr. Weisz takes great pride in caring for his patients with a gentle hand and caring smile. Most of all, Dr. Weisz, is excited to bring his energy and enthusiasm to Libertyville Dental Associates. He believes strongly in our practice philosophy and looks forward to meeting our patients.
Howard: Hey, we're at the Greater New York dental meeting, and I just ran into my buddy Sam Weisz. I love your Twitter the most. What is it, AskMyDentist?
Howard: You brought me a gift that you started your book, Sugar Buzz. First, tell me the story about you. You're in Chicago.
Sam: I'm in Chicago. I practice family dentistry with my dad, actually. Grew up in dentistry and started getting passionate about kids and seeing kids, and I always had a story in my head that I'm telling kids as I'm cleaning their teeth, "I'm getting all the sugar bugs out, I'm cleaning them all out." It morphed into a book. My wife's an illustrator author, and she helped a lot.
Sam: It's a factually accurate depiction of the mutan family, so Strep mutans. The little bugs look just look they do on electron microscopy, and it's a story of Theodore, who loves sugar. He loves sugar so much that all these mutans move in.
Howard: Theodore is a kid?
Sam: I'm sorry, Robby is the boy's name.
Howard: Robby is the boy's name? This is Robby?
Sam: Yeah, Robby, all he does, he eats gummies, donuts, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so they become fast friends and start moving in, and all of a sudden, he starts to realize that these sugar bugs are not his best friends. They move into the house, his teeth start to go rot, and they're playing in the house next door where baby teeth used to be. Mom's teaching all the sugar bugs about how to be nasty little sugar bugs and wreck havoc in his mouth. We wanted something that is positive for dentists to go and teach, because most of the books you see now, it's real negative verbage. We don't want the word scary anywhere near, whether you're saying not scary, or it's okay.
We want all really positive language so that it teaches kids that it's a fun place to be, not a tough place to be.
Howard: On your Twitter, you're AskMyDentist, but you have a YouTube channel, too, right?
Howard: Is this in a video on YouTube?
Sam: I don't know if we have a video for this, but I actually started a YouTube way back just trying to, I did a lot of outreach in dental school, and wanted to continue that. I did how to try to take care of a tooth ache at home really quickly before you get to the dentist, stuff like that to help people get help.
Howard: How would you like to get this out? Overall I think at the end of the day, you want to reduce decay. That's what everyone dentist wants, so what is your big plan of how to reduce decay with this book?
Sam: The idea is to get it into every hand of every kid, of course, and it's a great primer for dentists to go into schools with because it's a built-in program. When we struggle, as you know, we go to school. We don't know what to do. What should we bring? You just bring the book, and you can hit the three main points that I think everyone should hit on, which is diet and sugar, and taking care of your teeth, how to do it, brushing two minutes two times a day, and then going to see your dentist. It encompasses everything, and that's how we reduce decay.
Howard: How do dentists order these, and how much does it cost?
Sam: They retail at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles and that kind of thing are $15, and Shine carries it.
Howard: What does Shine sell it for, and what does Amazon sell it for?
Sam: I'm not sure what Shine sells it for, but I know Amazon retails $15.
Howard: Is there any volume discounts?
Sam: There are. You can go through mrsweiszbooks is the website, and you can-
Howard: Where's that under?
Sam: Mrsweiszbooks.com. It'll problem be in the back.
Howard: Your name.
Howard: That's your wife, Mrs. Weisz?
Howard: So www.mrs, for Miss, Weisz, W-E-I-S-Z, books, B-O-O-K-S.com, and then your website AskMyDentist.
Howard: AskMyDentistTV.com. That's your YouTube channel?
Sam: I made a website built around the YouTube channel. The website is just prime them over if they want to get more information or touch base with me directly, and I can answer questions. I just realized I did a lot of missions to Africa and to other places, and there are so many people in need in our country that are just on the web trying to search for answer, and I wanted to actually try to at least answer as many as I could, so people hit me up on Twitter and say, "I got a toothache," in whatever, 120 characters, I try to give them some guidance.
Howard: Yeah. I think the Internet's actually killed nationalism. You put something on the Internet, doesn't matter if it's Kansas or Katmandu. I don't see any boundaries with the Internet. It seems like anything you do for America, you're helping Africa, anything you do for Africa, you're helping America. It's all one big ... I think also a huge marketing thing for this would be, I know a lot of dentists who did things similar to this where they got into the OB/GYNs and then pediatricians. I bet you if you put your sticker, your name, my dental office and my phone number and all this, and went out and gave them ask your local pediatrician in your ZIP code, how many new babies are checking in every day?
If it was 10 a month, which that's about what the pediatricians I know, and if you were giving them 10 a month, and they were saying, "Hey, here's a gift from your dentist, Dr. Howard Faran up the street. He wanted you to read this, get a jump on this," if you just converted 10%, that would be $150 would be 10 books, and I think most people will, 1-800-DENTIST, you're paying about $100 for a new patient. Google ads and Facebook ads, most people are paying $100, $150. 10 of these books would be $150, I bet if you gave a pediatrician or an OB/GYN 10 of these a month for how many new babies they are being delivered, that might be cats meow.
Sam: What we're doing, that's the marketing platform. The successful offices, they're using this, and now you're getting word of mouth advertising, not the come in on a special deal. I give this, there's pediatric offices, they give it to every new patient, but especially an expectant mom, for us general dentists, they don't know that we see kids. I give it to them and say, "Here's a book for your kid when they come," or the new patient that has little kids, they're like, "Oh, you see kids? Oh, that's awesome." New patient like that for $10, instead of $100.
Howard: What Sam just said, I just don't want it to slip over your head, because what he said is very profound is that moms make 91% of all appointments, and when they come in with a third-person endorsement and some some element of trust, they're very likely to trust you, accept that you're going to plan, whatever. When they come in off of Groupon or some coupon or some ad, they're starting to feel overwhelmed like, "I'm making this decision. I'm picking Sam, and I just came because I saw a coupon. I don't know if what you're telling me is right or true," and they're very nervous, but if her friend Julie says, "Oh, my God, Sam's great. Go to him." Then she comes in to relax, listens, buys.
If a pediatrician or an OB/GYN or a pharmacist or somebody in health care who she probably perceives as smarter than her best friend Julie, but yeah, I think this would be an incredible marketing thing.
Sam: Yeah, I know a Growing Smiles office that we have, they put it on the cover and give it to all their referring doctors or pediatricians and that, and it's sitting in their waiting room with their logo on it, automatically referring every single patient that comes in. It's the easier thing. Their doctors are referring to them without even knowing.
Howard: Your wife's an illustrator. Is she making stuff for your website, your dental office website?
Sam: No, I need to get her to do that, right? She made my little logo. She didn't give me enough hair in here, but it's in here somewhere.
Howard: She was just making you beautiful, buddy.
Howard: Your dad's a dentist. How old were you when, I was curious, did he push you to dentistry? Did he keep saying, "Sam, look over here?"
Sam: I was like, "I'm never going to be a dentist. No one likes going to the dental office. Keep me away." He's like, "Trust me, you're going to be good at it, you'll love it." I was always an artist, so he knew the art and science, and so in high school he's like, "Just come work in the office." I was filing papers and helping out with the front desk.
Howard: In Chicago?
Sam: In Chicago, and then I just started liking it, liking it, still resisted when I got into college. I knew I was going to be in the sciences in something, a helping profession, and I kept on gravitating back to it.
Howard: What year did you get out of that?
Sam: I graduated in '06, so I've been out about ten years now.
Howard: About ten years, and your dad's been doing it how long?
Sam: About 40, maybe.
Howard: Was he the only one? He was the first one?
Sam: He was the first, yeah. He was the pioneer.
Howard: Were you sitting at home at Thanksgiving around the table, you're dad's talking about the good old days. What does he think about the health of the profession? Does he think it's going in a good direction? Is he concerned? Does he think it went off a cliff?
Sam: I don't think he thinks it went off a cliff. I think he's built a practice and taught me to build a practice based on caring around patients, and not the deals, and not that kind of thing, so in our sense, we live in this bubble that doesn't really exist anymore for me, coming out, people are not building practices like that anymore. It's all insurance-based and all that kind of stuff, so I think he's scared about that, that you just have to see hygiene patients every half hour and whatever it is, and that's just not how we practice. If people resisted that, I think-
Howard: Do you guys take insurance?
Sam: We take it as partial payment, yeah, of course, but it's not their primary.
Howard: It doesn't dictate?
Sam: Yeah. It always does, but we try not to let it dictate how we want to treat people.
Howard: How old are you and how old is your dad?
Sam: I'm 35, my dad's 64-ish.
Howard: Do you guys do the same procedures, or does he do endo, and you do implant?
Sam: We have a little bit of a mix.
Howard: Tell us about your mix between the generations?
Sam: He did a residency at a VA in California, the VA in Los Angeles, and they were really perio-heavy, so his, out of I think the five residents, four of them are periodontists and him. He does a lot of grafting and a lot of the perio-stuff, and I went to Long Beach because I wanted to learn about implants, so I did my BA residency in Long Beach. They had an awesome implant program that we rotated through.
Howard: Sorry I have to ask, but is it hard to go back from the warm weather of Long Beach to Chicago, with those winds blowing?
Howard: What is it, Lake Chicago?
Sam: Lake Michigan.
Howard: Lake Michigan. Those winds can be pretty cold.
Sam: It snowed a foot before Thanksgiving.
Sam: Yeah. It was hard.
Howard: Do you ever get the urge to go back to your VA?
Sam: Some were warm. I'd probably visit you in Arizona, I think it would be my favorite, but yeah, family drew you back to the midwest.
Howard: Your dad's doing a lot of perio, and you're doing implants?
Sam: Yeah, implants. I got into Invisalign.
Howard: Are you surgically placing implants?
Howard: What would you tell a young viewer here who's never placed a young implant? How would you start that journey?
Sam: I think coursework is key, just so you get the comfort level. I don't want to ever do anything until I'm proficient at it. I've heard of tons of these mini-residencies and things where you're placing them.
Howard: You did a residency right after dental school?
Howard: You walked out of dental school and straight into California's?
Howard: Tell them about that. How did you find the program, how long was it?
Sam: I was researching certain programs that I knew they were going to be placing implants, and learning about surgeries, and rotating with oral surgeons so that I could feel like an oral surgeon when I got out, even though it's hard to do that in three months, but at least get my feet wet.
Howard: It was only a three-month program?
Sam: It was a year program, but you rotate. They had a endo residency there, so you get to literally be with the endo residents for three months, and then you're with the oral surgeons, you are the oral surgeon for three months, and then you do restorative and proths and all that. It's a great mix for me because I was learning the proths part of the implants while I'm placing them, so I feel like that gives you a leg up in knowing.
Howard: How did you find that residency? Was there a website that listed all the residencies?
Sam: I guess everyone does word of mouth. Everyone starts hearing this one does this, this one's good at that, and I had a list of about four or five of them that, back when I was going, I think it was Denver was one of the ones that I knew you did a lot of surgery at. Long Beach I know, San Antonia was a big one for that kind of thing, and that's what I was looking for.
Howard: Did you pick one system when you got out of school, or do you use multiple systems?
Sam: We trained on Strallman in school, and then the surgeon that I refer to now uses BioHorizon, so I switched over to BioHorizon, so we're all compatible. For me, I just felt like having something that was a name brand as a general dentist, I don't know, it's just that crux that I have that I wanted to use something name brand, but I also love Blue Sky Bio's stuff. They're based out of Chicago.
Howard: I want to ask you some of the controversial questions. The biggest one is to surgical guide or not surgical guide? Where do you weigh in on that?
Sam: I started to move to mostly surgical guides.
Sam: Again, as a general dentist-
Howard: What are your thoughts on that?
Sam: I just think it makes it so easy. You put this thing on. I went to a lecture on Salama.
Sam: Maurice Salama, a periodontist.
Howard: Was he with Goldstein and Garber?
Sam: Yeah, exactly, yeah, yeah.
Howard: How do you say his name? Maurice, I thought. Maurice Salama.
Sam: Yeah, Maurice Salama.
Howard: He's the founder of DentalXP.
Howard: Yeah, I've been trying to get him on a podcast.
Sam: Yeah, I went to his lecture and he was talking about his son watching a surgery who, I don't know how old he was, 10 or something. He did it with a guide, and he was like, "I could have done that, dad." It's true. You don't lose sleep at night with a guide. You put it on, and everything's there for you. I don't know. I think it's a way to go. They're expensive, though.
Howard: Go through how you make a guide?
Sam: That's where Blue Sky Bio comes in. I think you've had a guy on with that course, and I'm still learning how to make them on my now, but right now I take the impression, we get a CT, and I don't have a scanner. I send it to my surgeon. He takes a CT.
Howard: A CBCT?
Sam: Yeah. Then I take the impressions and send it to a lab, and they marry the two. You don't need any special barium sulfates or anything like that. You just take an impression and have a CT, and they marry it, and then you start planning the guide on the software where you want the implants, and then the guide gets fabricated.
Howard: A lab makes the guide?
Sam: Lab makes the guide.
Howard: What lab are you using for that?
Sam: Functional Aesthetics in Missouri is the one that's making them for us now.
Sam: Yeah, I don't know exactly their website, but they're in Farmington, Missouri.
Howard: That's outside of St. Louis.
Sam: Yeah, yeah.
Howard: Isn't that where they're having all the riots?
Sam: I don't know.
Sam: I hope they're still there. It's Functional Aesthetics Dental out in Farmingon. They worked with BioHorizons.
Howard: See if you can find it, Ry. Functional Aesthetics.
Sam: BioHorizon, my rep-
Howard: If you go to BioHorizon, don't they have a list of labs?
Sam: I don't know if they do or not, and I know again, Blue Sky Bio does a good job of saying these people make guides for you, so I know they do that.
Howard: You didn't buy a CBCT, you use your oral surgeon's, is that the lab?
Sam: That's BioHorizon.
Howard: That was BioHorizon. Oh, well. We were looking for that lab he was talking about. Using your oral surgeon's CBCT so you didn't have to buy one, so that's pretty business savvy.
Sam: Right, because I don't do enough cases to justify making that kind of purchase.
Howard: I also believe how old is your cell phone? Where is your cell phone right now? How old is your cell phone?
Sam: A year and a half, probably.
Howard: Are we going to want this in ten years?
Howard: A lot of those oral surgeons and people are telling me that they better the CBCT, and then after five years, they don't want it anymore.
Sam: He's already on his second, I know that.
Howard: You're going to have to do a lot of CBCT, because just like your iPhone, you're going to change out your CBCT as often as your iPhone.
Sam: Right, and then I have the coverage from him. I'm not too proud to say, "This is a case that I want you to do. This is a case that I'm comfortable doing." We have a good symbiotic relationship that way, and he takes the scans, and then he gets at least an eye on the patient when it comes back to them, if it does.
Howard: Let's switch subject to endo. You said your residency did three months with endo. Are you still doing endo?
Sam: Yeah, yeah, I love endo.
Howard: What's hot and what's not in endo?
Sam: Gosh, for me, I use a Brasseler system. I just that they have-
Howard: And a Savannah, Georgia? What's their Brasseler system?
Sam: Their cones fit their, and I'm sure they all do now, but their cones fit their last file.
Howard: The [inaudible 00:17:47] cone?
Howard: Is shaped with the same tape as their file, which is very nice.
Sam: Yeah, and now their sealer actually merges with their, got to perch it because it's lined with some of that, the science. Yeah, you're catching me off-guard with the science here, but yeah, with the sealer merges with that, and it's all one bonded system now, and so I don't know. I just like that system.
Howard: What percent of your endo are you doing, would you say?
Sam: 70%, maybe.
Howard: What do you like to keep, and what do you like to refer?
Sam: I like to keep the easier stuff, refer the harder, so second molars I typical send out.
Howard: Upper and lower, all second molars?
Sam: Yeah, depending. If it's a big buy and I can access it, and then I'll do it. If I can see the canals, I'll do it. If they're curved I send it out. If they're fine and I feel like they'll need a microscope or whatever it is, then I'll send it out. If it's going to be a tough access, but other than that, I try to do, I like doing everything. I like being a general dentist.
Howard: With this book, is it safe to say that you like doing pedo, too?
Sam: I love pedo, yeah.
Howard: You love pedo?
Howard: That's not very common.
Sam: I know, I know. My dad loves it, and so does our other partner.
Howard: Your dad loves pedo.
Sam: No, he loves that I do it.
Howard: Okay, your dad loves pedo, yeah.
Sam: He's like, "Here, have all the kids."
Howard: I don't get it because I raised four boys, and that's one of my boys. My four boys are the greatest thing that ever happened to me, but even when they were one, two, three, and four, I still couldn't transfer that in the office that wanted to see a one, two, three, four year old. I don't know why that is.
Sam: My two best friends from dental school were pediatric dentists, and so I actually spent time shadowing them because I didn't get it, how to manage these kids. Once I understood what they were doing, it just made a lot more sense.
Howard: Another shift to pediatric dentists back to this book, is that the every time I meet a pediatric dentist with a million dollar practice, they were not interested in referrals from general dentists waiting till you had a child that was upset and didn't cooperate, [inaudible 00:19:48]. They went straight to the pediatricians. They want the kid to come in with a first positive experience. They want this child first time [inaudible 00:19:58]. Their rule is generally they want to see you within six months of your first tooth appearing, or your first birthday. They want to build their practice seeing that fresh virgin kid at one, not wait until he's four, and then you couldn't do a pulpotomy and a chromes to a crown, and he's been truamatized.
Back to this book, if you like children ... what I like most about the children is that they have moms attached to them with husbands and gradmas and grandpas. It's like I do the children to get all of the adults.
Sam: In a way, yeah, the children are the lost leader to get, totally, yeah. That's how we are.
Howard: It's especially tough in Arizona because 25% of my practice speaks Spanish as a primary language. I'm right across the street from the Guadalupe [inaudible 00:20:48], and just nothing more traumatizing than having a three year old girl who doesn't speak English, and you're trying to work on her, and she's so adorable. I don't know how to talk to her, but that's why in my office, half my staff speaks Spanish.
Sam: That's amazing.
Howard: Two of my four assistants, and two of my four-
Sam: Assistants are key to pedo, I feel like. When they're trained, there's something of a comforting nature of our assistants that are women, and they just get it, and so they get them comfortable, and then I can just come in and do the exam, and they've already done everything almost.
Howard: Is there anything else, any other subject I didn't talk about that you want to?
Sam: Gosh, no. I think it was great. Pediatric dentists are buying the book like crazy to give out in their office, and to use it as a marketing tool, I think dentists-
Howard: Have you posted on DentalTown?
Howard: You should start a thread. DentalTown, pediatric dentistry forum, there's 53 forums, and I think the most is endo, then implants. I think pediatric dentistry is fourth or fifth.
Howard: You should start a thread, so that it doesn't sound commercial, just sit there and say, "Howard made me do this." In fact, we'll just take a picture and post that on the thread, and say, "Hey, I just did a podcast with Howard, but Howard wanted me to tell you all about the book and everything," and I think that would be great marketing.
Sam: Awesome. Thank you.
Howard: Tell your dad that he raised a wonderful son.
Sam: I appreciate it. Are you have any that are in dentistry or going?
Howard: I have four boys, and I don't know.
Sam: What age groups?
Howard: They're 20, 22, 24, and 26. The oldest one is married, and he's putting up cell phone towers. He's my favorite son because he made me a three year old granddaughter. A granddaughter is your reward for not killing all of your children.
Sam: That's what I hear.
Howard: Do you have any children?
Sam: I have a two year old daughter.
Howard: Is dad enjoying her?
Sam: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah.
Howard: There's nothing greater than a granddaughter. You did your dad right by giving him a two year old.
Sam: Thank you.
Howard: On that note, yeah, start that thread. Can we take a picture? She'll text you the picture. Start the thread.
Sam: For sure.
Howard: Good luck on your book.
Sam: Thank you.
Howard: There's nine specialties, and everyone always wants to talk about pediatric dentistry or endodontics or all this stuff. I think the most sacred specialty is public health dentistry, and this goes under public health. We don't want to, no fireman wants to go put out a huge fire. Every fireman wants to go do checks on buildings to make sure the sprinklers are working, and we all want to prevent disease. We just certainly don't want a five-alarm fire, and when I see a kid with a baby bottle, tooth decay, when I see these parents that come in, and right now there's a lot of confusion because the marketing is that this is a healthy snack. This is a healthy sports drink, and they think they're doing the right thing, and their kid's got ten cavities.
Congratulations. I consider this a public health dentistry.
Sam: Thank you. That's what I'm going for.
Howard: All right, buddy. Thanks for coming by the booth.
Sam: I appreciate it.