It’s only been five years since Dr. Anthony Nguyen completed his dental education at the University of Detroit School of Dentistry, followed by his GPR and advanced surgical training at University of California Los Angeles. Yet in that short time, Dr. Nguyen has already created a name for himself in the L.A. area.
Since his graduation, he’s split his time as an associate in a dental implants practice and as a faculty member working with dental students at his alma mater UCLA. Dr. Nguyen has even managed to amass an impressive following under his Instagram handle Dr. Save-a-Tooth – a nickname he earned early in his career thanks to the “heroic lengths” he goes to to save patients’ teeth.
This year, Dr. Nguyen is also getting ready to fulfill his lifelong dream of practice ownership.
“ It’s always been my vision to be a staple in my community. My vision for my practice revolves around community, compassion and care – and that’s what I want to convey to my staff, patients and team members.
Dr. Nguyen calls this the ‘Three Cs’ of his practice vision – and they are part of what led Dr. Nguyen to earn over 110 CE credits within his first year as a Spear Online member. Though he says he initially joined Spear to make the most of his free time amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nguyen quickly recognize the potential for what he could learn through Spear.
Building Clinical Confidence
“For me, comprehensive treatment planning is the end game. I think the biggest hurdle for a new dentist is to understand the big picture instead of relying on single tooth dentistry, and Spear Education gave me a foundation and a structure to follow,” Dr. Nguyen explains.
“ I found courses on my own, but I feel like Spear Online laid things out for me so I could expand on what I already knew. [Spear] gave me an outline of these other clinical challenges on a higher level so I could begin learning and implementing it myself.
As an associate at an implant center, Dr. Nguyen had the benefit of immediately integrating what he learned online into his work with his patients. Before long, he was taking on ambitious restorative cases that drew on expertise he’d built while exploring Spear Online courses independently.
“Since I work on [these types of cases] every day, I wanted a more comprehensive understanding of things that may go wrong, so I know how to fix it. Now that I have a better understanding of the whole picture, I get to be involved more with IP because we have an in-house laboratory,” he says. “I get to work with my lab technician to actually design implants instead of just having them design it after I prep it.”
For Dr. Nguyen, having greater oversight and influence over design and materials has allowed him to tap into the artistic aspects of his work he enjoys the most. “I love all-on-X cases because you can control the whole smile design – the gingival contour, the esthetic contouring of the tooth – versus doing a full mouth case where you are constrained by what the patient presents with,” he says, adding that his confidence with these cases has largely come from what he’s learned through Spear.
Preparing for the Future
As Dr. Nguyen began making official plans to open his own practice, he shifted his focus to practice management and leadership courses. His goal was to build the confidence he would need to hire and train a team that would support him in achieving his clinical and practice vision.
“I think that the clinical element of dentistry, in the grand scheme of things, is pretty straightforward,” he says, explaining his reasoning for preparing well ahead of time for the challenges of practice ownership. “I think taking care of patients, taking care of the team, and making sure all of those personalities don’t go at each other – that’s the hard part.”
After poring through courses like Dr. Ricardo Mitrani’s Characteristics of Ideal Team Players and Giving and Receiving Feedback, Dr. Nguyen decided to expand on his online learning with the Leading Your Business by the Numbers half-day seminar. The timing was perfect, as Dr. Nguyen broke ground on a brand-new practice building just days beforehand.
His new practice, ARTSCI Dental (www.artsci.dental), opens to the public in June 2021. After years of planning and preparation, Dr. Nguyen is looking forward to finally bringing the Three Cs of his practice vision to life.
“I want to create a compassionate environment, and I want to hire for that culture. I want to provide the best possible care for the patient, and that's where the education comes in,” he says.
“ To provide the best, you have to seek out the best in the world of dental education. So that is what drives me to get better and to do better with Spear. It’s all so that I can serve my community better.