Office Visit: Dr. Trevor Nichols by Arselia Gales, assistant editor

Office Visit: Dr. Trevor Nichols

by Arselia Gales, assistant editor
photography by Jim David Photography

Orthodontists spend most of their working hours in their practices, so they don’t get many opportunities to see what it’s like inside another doctor’s office. Orthotown’s recurring Office Visit profile offers a chance for Townies to meet their peers, hear their stories and get a sense of their practice protocols.

This month we stayed close to home and spoke with Dr. Trevor Nichols of Frost Orthodontics in Mesa, Arizona. Nichols—who practices with his longtime mentor, Dr. Stuart Frost—prides himself on being a family man and uses that attribute to relate to his patients, some of whom travel upward of 1,000 miles to receive the signature “Frost Smile.”

Keep reading to see how this young orthodontist overcame the challenges of working with someone he’s always admired and how he and his team work together to make sure everyone they interact with, from staff members to patients and their family members, feels valued.

Office Highlights

Trevor Nichols, DMD, MS

Graduated from:
A.T. Still University, Arizona

Practice name:
Frost Orthodontics
Mesa, Arizona

Practice size:
6,000 square feet

Staff members:

You’re a husband and a father of four. How do you think that helps you connect with your patients and their families?

Priorities. I can comprehend the love and compassion that mothers and fathers have for their children and the genuine desire to provide them with pride, confidence and a beautiful, healthy smile.

It also helps me understand them: I realize that life happens and no one is perfect. I need to provide them with a great experience and flexibility. Finally, it helps me get on their level—especially with the younger patients. I can fully understand how to communicate with them and make their experience enjoyable as well.

You have a passion for fitness, and majored in exercise and wellness. What made you ultimately choose orthodontics as a profession?

I wanted to have the daily opportunity to serve others in a way that I could affect how they feel about themselves. Nothing brings happiness more than genuine service for others. Secondly, I am so passionate about orthodontics. I love art, critical thinking, amazing interactions and the environment. I truly feel it was a calling.

You’re a twin, and so is the partner in your practice, Dr. Stuart Frost— and you even have twin sons of your own! Any twin anecdotes to share? Are you and Dr. Frost always twinning?

Yes! Dr. Frost and I are always twinning. We show up almost every day, unplanned, wearing the same outfit, down to the color of shoes and more.

There is something special about being a twin that only twins can understand. It has definitely bonded us together, and it’s also fun for the patients and the team to catch us if we’ve inadvertently dressed alike. Funny story: When my wife and I found out that we were having twins, my mom’s first reaction was, “It’s payback!”

All joking aside, it seems as if your partnership with Dr. Frost was a proverbial match made in heaven: He was your mentor and you’d always hoped to work with him. What has it been like working with him these past 2½ years?

I believe to my core that our paths were predestined to join. I remember asking him how I could be an orthodontist when I was 13 years old, and over the next 20 years, our relationship really blossomed.

I don’t believe it was a coincidence that his practice had outgrown him right when I was set to finish residency. I can’t say enough about how working with him has shaped my career! I realize how blessed I am. I have never taken it for granted, and I will always be grateful for it.

What was it like coming on as a partner with someone who had so much experience under his belt— did you run into any difficulties?

Yes! Filling shoes like Dr. Frost’s is extremely difficult—maybe impossible. Bringing me on was a struggle in many ways. I had to really put my head down—I’ve never worked so hard in my life as I did trying to bring myself closer to his level, so patients would feel that I was competent and could provide them with a wonderful result. I had to push myself to feel as though I was worthy. Walk us through a typical day

Walk us through a typical day in your practice. What’s the office culture like, and what do you enjoy the most about it?

We start our day with a special morning meeting with the entire team. Instead of focusing on troubled patients or those who owe money, we share “wins.” We discuss greatness that we saw in one another the day before, and “frame” each other for qualities of greatness. We then huddle up and do an “I am” statement—a projection of who we want to be for the day, such as “I am enough” or “I am an amazing orthodontist.” The final part of our meeting is clinical; the clinical staff meets in the doctor’s office, where we discuss the new starts for the day. Assistants have columns for the day and will present new patients and the treatment plan.

We roll through our day with patients! We have 12 chairs and are extremely busy. The culture is key to our success and is so important to us all. We look for ways to serve each other, not to blame. We love one another and treat ourselves, as a team, with care and respect. This makes our whole team love their job, feel valued and want to come to work each day.

Top Products

1. Damon braces. I am a firm believer in passive self-ligation and its ability to solve many of the difficulties of orthodontics by reducing friction, lowering forces and expanding arches.

2. Vector TADs. I believe that we should always think outside the box and use all the tools we can to provide patients with options—and amazing results.

3. Spark clear aligners (Ormco). In my opinion, Spark aligners are the most superior on the market.

4. Spectralase laser. I use my laser every day to put the finishing touches on a great case. Without it, my cases would not be close to the same.

5. VPro high-frequency vibration device (Propel). This allows me to better treat all aligner cases in a more efficient manner with better results.

You have more than 14,000 followers on Instagram! How did you amass such a following, and how do you use your platform? Does this make it easier to market to potential patients and connect to those outside of the Phoenix area?

I still feel like I have a lot that I want to do and share when it comes to Instagram. I know that my opportunity to work with Dr. Frost helped to accelerate my following. More than anything, I think that the clinical results that I have learned to obtain are appreciated by clinicians and members of the community. Sharing transformations and patients seeing their new smiles for the first time is contagious!

We have someone in the practice who helps stimulate our Instagram accounts. She is so creative and dedicated to our process. I have no doubt that Instagram helps to market the practice to potential patients, too. It’s such a wonderful way to share yourself and your brand to people it might resonate with.

I love to interact with people on social media, and I respect all those orthodontists who are showing cases and working hard to grow their following. I’m right there with you!

How would you like to use social media to connect with other orthodontists around the country?

I feel very strongly that we are in desperate need to unite as a profession. I would like to use social media to unite, share, encourage, uplift and be uplifted. I would like it to share greatness, share others’ greatness and educate the world on how amazing our profession is. I also want to share why orthodontics is important and how it can change their lives.

Do you find it difficult to combine and/or separate your personal life and orthodontics on your page?

As far as social media goes, in a small way, yes. I want to share who I am, but I also want to serve my audience. I feel many of them want to see orthodontics, but I have to remind myself that they might want to see me, too, along with my wonderful family and friends and hobbies. Orthodontics is a massive part of my life, but it’s not all that I am.

Recently, a patient traveled all the way from Idaho just for your “gummy smile” treatment. Do you have many patients who fly in from out of state?

We do! It is great—but to be honest, in most cases we would prefer they be treated by an orthodontist in their own area! At the same time, if we can serve them and they are willing to travel, we want to help them.

What would you say is your treatment specialty? What do you enjoy the most about orthodontics?

I think it’s evolving, and I’d love to say I have many. The first that comes to mind is post-treatment soft-tissue recontouring—laser gingivectomy. I’ve spent a lot of time (and hundreds of cases) trying to get better and better.

The second that comes to mind is arch width—I love seeing wide smiles—and the third would be reshaping of the teeth during and after treatment. It changes so much about the smile!

Tell us about some of your trips abroad.

My favorite trip abroad was to South Korea for a symposium about bioprogressive TADs. I participated in some amazing things and saw an amazing, loving culture that made me curious about the world. Through some of my travels, I have come to realize that orthodontists are all alike, no matter where we live: We have the same struggles, and we all want what is best for our patients.

What advice would you give to an orthodontist who’s just starting?

  • Dive into your passion. Love your patients—truly love them—and your results will reflect it.
  • If you want clinical confidence, it’s all about reps. Find a practice where you can do the most work possible, and your confidence will accelerate tremendously.
  • Find a mentor you respect and don’t just ask for help—offer it.
  • Work hard. If you want to be amazing, it takes an amazing work ethic. Learn to enjoy hard work.
  • Finally, try to find balance. This is the most difficult for me, but I recognize its importance.
What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

The gym is my outlet—the one thing in life I have complete control over. I can go early in the morning, do something hard and accomplish something; there’s nothing like that for me to start my day.

I also love spending time with my family. They truly are my everything. I have the most amazing wife, and four crazy boys who are so energy-demanding. I am blessed in many ways! 

Learn more about laser gingivectomies!

Also in this issue, Dr. Trevor Nichols and Dr. Stuart Frost discuss the steps
behind laser gingivectomy, a procedure they offer to many patients at the end of 
treatment to perfect their smiles.
Click here to read.

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