Your Pathway to Practice

In Business by Dental Entrepreneur

Opinions, well … you know what they say. Magnify that with today’s social media mania, and you get the world trying to convince you their way is the way.


You’ve worked your tail off to get here. You’re in debt, you’re drinking gallons of coffee to stay up and study and your meditative breaths when clinic faculty make you shave three enamel rods off an already perfect prep to satisfy their ego.

Enter this article: Pathways to Practice. There are multiple roads to success, and there’s a recipe to follow for each one. We’ll outline them all in future issues of Dental Entrepreneur. For now, here are three key principles that apply to any path you take:

  1. Vision

There are too many practice-management consultants out there willing to charge you $30,000 to help you define your vision and mission statements. Drives me cray-cray! Although I’m a firm believer in having a coach, you don’t need to pay $30,000 to anyone for this.

So if you believe in you as much as I do, find your happy spot and answer the following questions. Your answers are THE MOST important part of your vision.  And, if you’re into it and want more, message me on There’s a hot button that kicks to my cell. I’m happy to walk you through this process for FREE.

  • In your perfect world, where would you like to wake up every day? Ocean? Mountains? Urban? Suburbs? Rural?
  • In that same perfect world, what kind of dentist do you want to be? General or specialist? What does your practice look like? Big? Small? Somewhere in the middle? High-tech? High-touch?  Both?
  • And how about your team? Big? Small?
  1. Focus

There are plenty of squirrels to chase in life. Some will be an obvious waste of your time. Others will be disguised as really cool or really lucrative opportunities. Thousands of dentists fall into the trap of chasing squirrels. One of the most valuable take-homes I could ever give you is this: Once you’ve defined your vision—once it’s crystal clear to you what will bring you the most happiness—make 100 percent of your decisions based on it. When opportunities present, if they align with your vision, say yes. When an opportunity presents and does not align, no matter how good it looks, no matter how much money you think you’ll make, say “No thank you.” It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to be worth it.

  1. Patience

There’s a simple principle in economics. Incredibly, it applies to most things in life and has stood the test of time. For you, it means 20 percent of new grads will have an easy road, but 80 percent will stumble a few times.

Measure your success by how well you fulfill your vision in your timeframe. Some of my friends blazed a trail from day one, and some of my friends wandered their path for a few years. Today, the most successful of us all, despite who was the tortoise and who was the hare, were the ones who defined their vision early, focused and stayed on their path. The others, despite the same, still flounder 20 years in. It’s OK if it takes you a few years to see the fruits of your labor. 

Stay patient, and if you want help defining and executing your pathway, just ask. Till then…

Together We Rise,


Dr. David Rice, DDS graduated cum laudein 1994 from The State University of NewYork at Buffalo’s School of Dental Medicine.In 1995, he completed his general practice residencyfrom the Allegheny General Hospital inPittsburgh Pennsylvania. With a strong beliefin continuing education and mentorship, Dr.Rice went on to complete continuums at thePankey Institute, The Dawson Center and The Spear Center all whilebuilding the Restorative Practice of his dreams and maintaining an associateclinical professorship at the SUNYab School of Dental Medicine.Dr. Rice combined his passions for teaching, mentoring and making adifference and igniteDDS was born. Today he continues to maintain hisprivate practice and travels the country inspiring dentistry’s future to livetheir dream, have great success and to make that same difference that hasbrought him so much joy.