Podcast Episode 14 | How to Survive and Thrive in a Growing Dental Practice

With Dr. Sonia Chopra

About the Prosperous Doc® Podcast

The Prosperous Doc® podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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Sonia Chopra: 00:00 That's kind of where I hit rock bottom with my practice and I thought, "Oh my gosh," that was my burnout. Boom, I landed hard on the ground.

Intro: 00:11 From Spaugh Dameron and Tenny, it's White Coat Wellness, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their financial wellness. We know you work hard to help your patients, but you can't be at your best if you don't have your own finances in order. In White Coat Wellness, we highlight real life stories from physicians and dentists to educate, encourage and inspire you to personal, professional and financial wellness. Now from spa Damon Tenney, please welcome your host, Shane Tenney.

Shane Tenny: 00:40 All right, welcome back to another episode of White Coat Wellness. I'm Shane Tenney and happy to be with you today as we're recording in the studio in our Halloween costumes. It's a special day because we're of course covering candy. We're covering scary topics. We're covering root canals today, but not to worry. If root canals are a fear factor for you either because of your practice or because of your personal story, we have on the show with us an endodontist today who's on a mission to save teeth. Dr. Sonia Chopra is the founder of Ballantine Endodontics just on the edge of Charlotte, North Carolina and the creator of an online e-school, an educational forum for general dentists around the world to improve their endodontic skill. And if being a leader and innovator and teacher and mentor in the local dental community wasn't keeping her busy enough, Dr. Chopra is also a wife and mom to three kids. And Sonia, it's great to have you with us today to talk about the highs and lows of private practice.

Sonia Chopra: 01:37 Thank you so much. I'm so happy to be here.

Shane Tenny: 01:40 Absolutely. Well, I know you've got a good story and a lot of your story I think is going to connect with the folks listening to us today while they're driving or working out or things like that who are juggling the challenges of being in practice. And so maybe I just ask you to start out at the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about the early years in your training or practice and a little bit of how you decided to go from just general dentistry into endodontics?

Sonia Chopra: 02:10 Sure. Yeah. Well, I have always had a love for endo because I was a root canal patient myself. I was actually born without eight teeth so there's a huge backstory to why I even became a dentist and I was always at the dentist. I was like born to be at the dentist and I tell people I was born to be a dentist because I had so many congenitally missing teeth and so my parents had to figure out what to do so I could chew. And I was a lover of candy. And so Halloween was my favorite holiday growing up. So that didn't serve well especially with limited resources. So anyway, I basically have had every dental procedure done in my mouth, like gingival grafts, veneers, bridges, implants, extraction, root canal, you name it. But it was the root canal that actually changed my life.

Sonia Chopra: 03:01 It was a long process. It probably spanned over about a year and a half of my life. The summer after I graduated high school and my parents wanted to make sure that I had a full compliment of teeth and so they were trying to replace those missing spots. Well soon after that treatment, I started to get some pain in the lower left side. It was a saga where people could not diagnose it. It was referred pain everywhere. My dentist couldn't figure it out. He sent me to a few other doctors, they couldn't figure it out and I saw about seven different doctors from dentists to medical doctors and they just had no idea until one day my pain fully localized and I started to swell and then they knew it was actually coming from a tooth. Well, they sent me to get my tooth extracted. I wasn't even given the option of getting a root canal and they took a tooth out and when the anesthesia wore off, I still had my toothache.

Sonia Chopra: 03:54 So I quickly learned just how important it is to like have a good diagnosis from the very beginning and that really stuck with me. I was then referred to an endodontist who really took his time with me, and he was like the coolest guy. I still remember his long ponytail. He was just, he explained everything to me and it all made sense. And that was the day that I knew that, "Hey, I wanted to do dentistry." I really wasn't super convinced about endo just yet because I just hadn't gone through the dental school process. My mom and my brother are both medical professionals, they're both doctors and so I've always had that medical influence, but I knew that I didn't want my mom's schedule. She's an anesthesiologist. And I was like, she always missed my dance recital. So I knew that I wanted to do medicine, but I didn't want to do it with my mom's schedule.

Sonia Chopra: 04:49 And so I was very conscious of that from a very early age. I remember how it made me feel as a child, and I remember how it made her feel that as a mom. So dentistry was it for me. I felt like I knew what I needed to know as a patient and also I had that influence from my mom. And so I picked dentistry and then while I was in dental school, I was really trying to figure out my own story throughout that whole process. When it came time to learn the endodontic portion of dentistry, that's where like it really sung to my heart and I kind of figured out what happened to myself and that translates into what I do today.

Shane Tenny: 05:31 And so after your training or I guess through the end of dental school you decided all right, endodontics played a huge role in my life. I'm ready to buckle down for a little more training.

Sonia Chopra: 05:42 Right.

Shane Tenny: 05:42 And pick up the story there a little bit. What happened after you finished your...

Sonia Chopra: 05:47 So I actually, I was a general dentist for a while. I wanted to give everything a shot. I wanted to make sure that doing one thing every day was going to be what would make me happy. And when I went out into the real world, I practiced in Manhattan for about two to three years and realized that yeah, I was just kind of mediocre at just everything and I wanted to be really good at one thing and so specializing was key for me. And again, that story of mine just kind of carried through and I decided to go back and do an endodontic residency.

Shane Tenny: 06:21 While you were in New York?

Sonia Chopra: 06:23 Well, I applied while I was in New York and then I got into Penn and I got into Nova Southeastern, which is in South Florida and I wanted the exact opposite of New York City. So I just went and played by the beach for a couple of years.

Shane Tenny: 06:38 Gotcha. And then how did you end up in Charlotte?

Sonia Chopra: 06:41 My husband is from here and I knew that I didn't... I'm from upstate New York and so I knew that I did not want to go back to that cold country. I couldn't handle that, especially after being in Florida for two years. So I felt like Charlotte, North Carolina was a great compromise. Plus we have a ton of family around us. So there is a lot of support which you need when you have three kids.

Shane Tenny: 07:03 Absolutely. In fact, you came to Charlotte and started your practice, right?

Sonia Chopra: 07:11 Yeah. So I looked for a job and I couldn't get a job. So I had two choices. I was either going to be unemployed or I had to start my own practice. So unemployment was just not an option for me so I went ahead and did it. I mean, and it was 2008 it was, the economy tanked. It was probably the worst times we have seen in decades. I kind of had a different outlook on it. I was like, "Well, I don't know anything different. I can only go up." And that's what kind of drove me through that time. And I was fortunate because my husband was working, he's a general dentist and so I am lucky and I feel so fortunate that I was able to not take a paycheck because he had one. I really definitely count my lucky stars for that.

Shane Tenny: 08:03 As you point out, not only is starting any practice a challenge but you started in the teeth of the recession as a specialist and then soon in there, I think it was when you started having kids. Right? Because you have three children. It's not a small feat to juggle all these things. How have you navigated the work life balance and the sanity that's required to keep up with important things?

Sonia Chopra: 08:31 Well, I looked at where I needed to be as far as support and I really leaned on my support. I think that's really essential. Even though I have family in town, I knew that I was going to need more help than what they could provide me. So the first thing I knew I had to do was get a nanny and that allowed me to be outside of the house to be at the office. I was a year and a half in when I had my first child. That was a little bumpy. She had some surgeries to deal with in the first four months of her life and so that is kind of where I made that decision that, "Ooh, I can't let my practice run my life. There's more to my life than just my practice." Where for that first year and a half I was hustling, I was grinding. I was out meeting people because my practice is referral based. So my job didn't just stop in the office.

Sonia Chopra: 09:25 Anytime I had a patient who didn't show up or canceled and I had an opening, I made sure I utilized that time to go out and meet another doctor and showed my face. I went to almost every event possible so that people knew who I was because I moved to Charlotte not knowing a soul and I had to literally start from the ground up. I worked the streets. That's exactly what I did.

Shane Tenny: 09:51 Absolutely. You got to build that network. And in those early years, I know from just talking with many folks over the years that start in practice, build a practice, there's usually at least some point where you second guess yourself, where it just seems so stressful or exhausting. You think, "I should have done something different." Did you have an experience like that? What happened in there?

Sonia Chopra: 10:13 You know, I didn't, I felt like it was still the right thing for me. I didn't second guess that, but I knew that I had, it couldn't just be me anymore. I needed to look for somebody. So after the birth of my first child and going through what we did, I realized like, "Hey, as an endodontist I'm basically an emergency room for teeth," and toothaches are pretty bad. It's worse than giving birth, believe me, I know I've had both. So you have to be available and your referrals need you to be available or they're going to start sending to somebody else. I noticed that kind of drop off during my first maternity leave, which was essentially two weeks because my third week and fourth week I had to travel to Cincinnati to be with my daughter for two surgeries.

Sonia Chopra: 11:02 And so I was like, "Okay, what can I do now?" I'm seeing this problem and I'm a huge problem solver. I knew that I had to find an associate for my practice. I knew that I had to pick lifestyle over the job at that point. I had financial advisors actually tell me that's a big mistake. And I said, "You know what, the money doesn't matter to me. I'm living great. I'm super fortunate to have what I have, but can I be a mentor to somebody else? Can I help them come out of school and start a job in a great practice? And can we synergize that to like just really make our practice grow even more?" And that's exactly what happened. I brought my first doctor in and then he came in right when I was having my second child.

Sonia Chopra: 11:56 So it took me awhile when I first committed to finding a doctor. It took me two years to find the right doctor because not everybody's going to be a fit for your practice. So I made sure that I found the right one. I probably interviewed like nine, 10 people before I settled on this one. He really just had the same core values as I did, was very patient-centered and that really sung to me and that's who I picked. And I couldn't have picked a better person who is now my business partner and we continue to grow. We have a third associate and we're looking for our fourth, which is amazing. And again, we love to mentor these new endodontic graduates who come out and we can kind of cultivate them into great endodontists and great leaders, which we want. That was probably one of my biggest aha moments is realizing that I needed help in the practice because it was growing even though it was 2008.

Shane Tenny: 12:51 Was that the stage... I think earlier when we were talking before starting the recording here, you made a comment about just your practice being in shambles was a phrase you used. Was that period that you're referring to? Or was there a different stress point that you were thinking of?

Sonia Chopra: 13:07 Well, I think during the time when I was having my three children, it's a lot. It's a lot on your body. You have these weird hormones that you don't even realize are there that are making you act like not yourself. A lot of what I went through was a lot of turnover. Even though I wanted to like grow, we were kind of, our wheels were turning backwards because every time we would lose somebody, we would have to find somebody new, retrain them. So I would say turnover was my biggest problem from 2012 to 2016. It was a good like seven years. But I was going through a lot of change and I didn't realize all these external things that were coming at me and I was just not, I was just grumpy. I was grumpy. I like to call myself a 'bosshole' at that point in my stage because I just didn't know how I should communicate with people.

Sonia Chopra: 14:05 And I had great intentions, but that wasn't coming out with the tone of my voice, with my body language, with anything. I mean, we were number one, we were growing as a practice. So I had so much to deal with from the patient's standpoint and just within my community and people referring to my practice. Plus I was learning how to share my practice with another doctor, which was a huge change for me. And then I was having babies and getting huge and trying to do a root canal with this giant ball in front of me. So it was just a lot that now that I'm out of it, I can look back and reflect on it and now I'm morphing into a different human being and I think that's funny. And I think people forget to look at what they're actually going through and cut themselves some slack.

Shane Tenny: 14:54 Yeah. What did you do? I mean you've got the stress of pregnancy, of juggling things, of turnaround, which I guess is just the culture of adding partners and growing and maybe not being the manager that you want to be. What did you do? I mean it sounds like just some introspection was helpful and you use the phrase cutting yourself some slack. What did you do to turn things around though within just the culture of the practice?

Sonia Chopra: 15:18 Yeah, so in 2016 that's kind of where I hit rock bottom when my practice and I thought, "Oh my gosh," that was my burnout. Boom, I landed hard on the ground and I realized this has got to change. I can't keep living this way. I didn't know what should change and I just started reading books. I started to listen to podcasts. I turned to a coach and that coach, she really, she just took a mirror and like put it in front of my face every day. And I really learned in that moment, in those moments - there were many of those moments - that it all starts with leadership and it's really the top down and that's where if anything's going to change, it has to be me first. I just went on this journey of self awareness that really... The shift that it's had in my practice has been tremendous.

Sonia Chopra: 16:21 I think step one, what I did was I realized like it's really hard for me to be both a clinician and a manager at the same time. So I started to consolidate my days at work and I realized like I couldn't do five days. So then I went to four days and then it went to three days and I plateaued at three days for a while. But then I realized even that's a lot as I went from one kid to two kids to three kids, three days for me was a lot. So now I look at my schedule a little differently. I look at it in hours as opposed to days. So I could do three, eight hour days and get 24 hours or I could do two 12 hour days and get 24 hours.

Sonia Chopra: 17:02 So I picked the two twelves and that's been the shift that I made this year so that I have more time for myself, for my family and for my other side passions. And that is really what makes me be happy. But it really started out with just giving me that little piece of time where I could just be by myself and think and start to gain the clarity of what I truly wanted in my life. And until I was committed to giving myself that time, things were just going to keep going the way they were going. Now I'm a way better boss, I'm a way better wife and a way better mother. I'm a way better leader.

Shane Tenny: 17:41 Awesome. I want to hear a little bit more about the story. I've got some questions that I want to ask you right after this break and this message from my colleague Will Koster.

Will Koster: 17:53 I'm Will Koster. On this episode's White Coat Wisdom, I want to address a question that we get asked a lot. Should I buy a house? Specifically during this segment, I will address the question as if it was coming from a transitioning physician relocating to a new city. Oftentimes this scenario plays out with a resident or fellow who has accepted an attending role in a different city from where they completed their training. Or maybe you're an attending and have accepted a new opportunity and now you're faced with relocating.

Will Koster: 18:22 Now I want to preface my response by saying that every situation is different, but I do want to offer a few tips or things to think about if you're faced with this question of whether you should buy a house immediately as you move to a new city or whether you should consider renting first.

Will Koster: 18:39 One of the first questions I would ask is how familiar are you with your new city? Do you know the neighborhoods and where you're going to hang out? What does your commute look like? The next thing to consider is the job you are taking. How confident are you that the practice will be the right fit? What does your trajectory look like in your new role? How long do you see yourself staying? Now you've probably noticed that I haven't mentioned any of the financial aspects of this consideration, but of course there are many. How much house can you afford? How's the housing market in this new city? Do you have extra cash to buy furniture or a complete home renovation project? How's your emergency fund? Because we all know that houses often come with unexpected expenses.

Will Koster: 19:26 Buying a house is a big decision, one that comes with a lot of different considerations. The takeaway from this segment is to not overlook the financial aspects of buying a house.

Will Koster: 19:37 With this episode's White Coat Wisdom, I'm Will Koster.

Shane Tenny: 19:42 All right, so we're here with Dr. Sonia Chopra, endodontist in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we were talking about time and I want to ask you a question that I think you've got some thoughtful answer to. So many of us feel like we just don't have enough time. When you're spread between a practice, between being a leader, a manager, a spouse, a parent, how have you dealt with that concept of just not enough time?

Sonia Chopra: 20:07 Yeah, I mean I think part of it is just like the race that keeps moving in our mind and like just learning to turn that off a little bit. I will say that my first introduction to meditation was 11 years ago. My husband, who I call my little Buddha, he took me to Thailand to meditate in the middle of nowhere for 10 days and that was my first introduction to meditation. I was not ready for that, but I will never forget that. Now I would say I give myself time in the morning to just be silent and to like turn off my mind. And then that gives me clarity and again, I just get really organized and I start to schedule things so that they get done, so I don't forget. Because again, when your mind is running and running and running and you can't turn it off, you can't remember what you're supposed to get done.

Sonia Chopra: 21:00 I also, one of the biggest shifts that I made in 2016 was learned to not do everything myself. Because as an endodontist, I'm very type A, I work in millimeters and so I feel like nobody could, I felt - not I feel - I felt that I had to do everything myself because nobody could get it done better. But I can't hire everybody while I'm doing a root canal. I can't call this person while I'm doing a root canal. When I realized that I really needed to learn how to delegate properly, there's so much that can happen behind the scenes while I'm doing the root canal that can make the practice continue to grow. And so I started to working on my delegating skills. I worked on my communicating skills first and then my delegating skills. And then I realized, okay, well now we still have a problem with accountability.

Sonia Chopra: 21:50 What can we do with accountability so people know what's been delegated to and how they can follow up? Because if anybody's like me and I'm pretty sure you are, you have that fear that stuff is not going to get done and so we came up with a system for that. So now, everything is systemized so that people know what's expected of them. People know, they like develop a consistency level that is amazing and then they're held accountable. They know that this task is assigned to them and it's due by such and such date because there's clarification on that. Right there, that freed up so much time for me. If I don't have to do all that stuff, then, "Oh my gosh, what should I do now?" I can go to the gym, do all sorts of stuff that are good for you. So I think that's kind of where that started.

Shane Tenny: 22:46 Yeah, no, I was just thinking as you were talking of just a common theme that maybe many of us have heard, but as I talk with folks around the country and work with clients and things like that, to me one of the common themes that you're really touching on that I feel really sets apart great practices from good practices is setting aside time, prioritizing and committing to making time to work on your practice and not just always work in your practice. And when you set aside that time just to think and to reflect on what's happening instead of just being in it, it frees you up to really be intentional and I think that's kind of what you're touching on here.

Sonia Chopra: 23:29 Yeah. And then soon it became, it wasn't just me coming up with every idea and doing everything. Now it's like a collective and when you have these 12 minds getting together and coming up with all these solutions and all these ideas, it's so much better than feeling like all that weight is on your own shoulders. That's just huge.

Shane Tenny: 23:49 Yeah. And I think the concept too applies, because I realize not everybody listening to this is in private practice or owns their own group. But I think that concept of not just working in your practice but working on it, it almost applies to life too. Instead of just living in your life, take some time to work on your life and as you said, just be self-aware to think about what's going on and am I putting the things that are really the most important to me in my life and in my calendar and in my budget first and then filling in? Or am I just moving a hundred miles an hour on the merry go round and not sure what's coming and going?

Shane Tenny: 24:25 Now as a specialist, I think the statistics are, there's something like 180 or 190,000 dentists in America serving a population that's I think moving from 350 to 400 million people or something like that and out of those 190,000 dentists, there's like 4,000 endodontists. But there's way bigger need for root canals and for the type of procedures you do. Who's doing all the root canals? How are there folks being trained enough to be able to provide the level of care that America needs globally?

Sonia Chopra: 25:01 Well, about 80% of root canals are done by the general dentist and only 20% are done by the specialist and that's kind of in my practice. Unfortunately I see my story every day in my patients and after a decade of really seeing it and witnessing it I realized, "Okay, something needs to be done about it," because we only get a glimpse of it in dental school. I had a two-week course of endo in the four years and so like dentistry is just as broad as medicine. If I was President, I would actually try to get there to be more specialists as opposed to primary care in dentistry because I feel like things are so technique sensitive. So my solution to that was to come up with e-school because it's basically a digital online platform learning community where you learn more in depth endo after you've had some clinical experience under your belt.

Sonia Chopra: 26:04 So it's an opportunity for dentists to seek continuing education from the comfort of their own home and really be able to apply that knowledge quickly in their practices. I mean we need a little bit more help in that department, especially when 50% of my practice is re do's of root canals done by other people. One of my things is also to increase awareness about the endodontist, because a lot of people don't know what an endodontist is and that there is a specialist who just does root canals.

Shane Tenny: 26:37 Yeah. So you basically come to the realization there just physically aren't enough specialists, endodontists to handle all of the root canals that need to be done and I can't change that, but when I can do, I think you've concluded is I can try to create a digital residency, if you will, for general dentists that find themselves doing these or want to be more proficient instead of going to the extra training and residency of endodontics, they can avail themselves of the material that you've put together. I think you call it your e-school, is that right?

Sonia Chopra: 27:10 Yean, it's called e-school. Everyday Endo Made Easy.

Shane Tenny: 27:13 And how's it work? How's the program work?

Sonia Chopra: 27:17 There's two versions. There's some people who just want to do it on their own. So there's an independent version and then there's the coaching version, which I do twice a year at this point where they actually get to get on video calls once a week and go through cases, specific cases. But both of them have the basics of prerecorded lectures essentially and then downloads that correspond to that to really amplify the information. They can really just copy and paste a lot of this stuff to get rid of the excess. I just made it super streamlined so that they can just focus on what's important for their patient and really understand the really main deep concepts of tooth pain and how to rectify that.

Sonia Chopra: 28:05 It's just so important for these people because a lot of dentists are in remote areas. They don't have access to an endodontist or they're working in a practice and they're expected to do this procedure and they just didn't feel comfortable after dental school. And so I think it's really great to make it accessible to people and to have an endodontic coach that they feel like they can ask these questions to because they don't feel comfortable asking their local endodontist because there might be a little bit of a competition there. I don't know if that's the best word, but you know what I mean.

Shane Tenny: 28:38 Yeah. And what's the response been since you put together the curriculum?

Sonia Chopra: 28:43 It's been great. I mean I just launched it in March, so I'm still kind of getting the word out. I would say some endodontists probably weren't the most thrilled, but I think once I talk to them and let them know what I'm actually seeing in the course. I'm teaching dentists also not just how to do it because there is a need for them to do it. If all the general dentists stop doing it in the world, that would be a huge public health crisis. And so they do need to know how to do certain ones and they do need to learn how to refer certain ones and they're learning that they can't do every single one. And so the bottom line is to do endo responsibly and to learn when to refer and to be able to really make a good diagnosis so that the tooth doesn't even come out.

Sonia Chopra: 29:29 You don't even have to do the root canal yourself. That's not what endos about. Endo is about diagnosing as well and making sure even if you're not doing that root canal that you're referring it to the right specialist because you want to make sure that that patient's getting the right treatment. So it's definitely been a warm welcome from the general dentists, not just in the U.S. but all over the world. And I think slowly but surely, the endodontists are seeing that we as endodontists also have an additional responsibility and that's to help our general dentist friends.

Shane Tenny: 30:01 Yeah, sounds tremendous. We'll make sure to put a link to that in the show notes below. Before we wrap up, I want to ask and give you a chance to give a shout out to kind of one of your passion projects, the Night for Smiles. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what you put together there?

Sonia Chopra: 30:13 Sure. So a few years ago I was having dinner discussing patients with an oral surgery friend of mine and I kind of threw out my ideas like, "Hey, I would love to just get the Charlotte community together to see what we can do collectively to make a big difference." And that night, A Night for Smiles was born. We created a nonprofit where we basically fundraise to allow us to make dental care more accessible within Charlotte, North Carolina. Our first year we were able to raise, I mean we literally went from a ground zero bank account to being able to donate $75,000 to the Cleft Out Foundation, which helps subsidize care for children born with cleft lip or cleft palate. It used to be that they would have to travel to Duke, but now these families can actually stay in Charlotte and get this done here.

Sonia Chopra: 31:12 This year we just had our gala in September. We were able to raise $115,000 for NC Mom, which is basically a portable dental clinic. They shut down either the convention center or this year was at the Bojangles Center and they make a huge dental clinic in there and all the dentists volunteer in the community. But our gala was able to donate $115,000 to them and that paid for all the supplies and all the equipment needed for the event, which is amazing. Then all the dentists donated their time, which is amazing. On top of that, the [Liben 00:31:52] Foundation donated another $65,000 and then Teen Smile was a surprise secondary beneficiary of our event this year where they do the same thing but for children and then the Carolina Panthers come in and surprise them. But that clinic takes about $25,000 to run every year and we were able to donate that entire amount to them as well.

Shane Tenny: 32:15 That is tremendous. You must be so proud of what you've been able to help put together there.

Sonia Chopra: 32:19 You know, it's crazy. I kept that idea to myself for a few years while I was having those kids. It's amazing what you can actually do when you make that commitment to do it.

Shane Tenny: 32:31 Yep. Changing lives by changing smiles, I guess.

Sonia Chopra: 32:33 Yeah, absolutely.

Shane Tenny: 32:35 Tremendous. Wrap up. How can listeners get in touch with you? Learn more about e-school? Ping you with questions, things like that?

Sonia Chopra: 32:42 Sure. Well I have a website. It's Sonia Chopra, that's Sonia with an I so, S-O-N-I-A C-H-O-P-R-A D-D-S.com. That's my website where you can get more information about e-school and about me and my story as well. My practice is Ballantine Endodontics in Charlotte, North Carolina, but I'm also on Instagram at Sonia Chopra DDS.

Shane Tenny: 33:06 Excellent. Sonia, thanks so much for being with us today and sharing with us just the story about your practice and your family and how you're making life better for so many people.

Sonia Chopra: 33:15 Thanks so much. It was an honor to be here.

Will Koster: 33:21 I'm Will Koster bringing you this episode's White Coat Achievement, a segment where we highlight noteworthy achievements by your friends and colleagues.

Will Koster: 33:29 In the year 2000 the Surgeon General issued a national call to action to address the silent epidemic of dental disease. Today, pediatric dental disease remains the most prevalent chronic disease affecting children in America. I'd like to take this time to highlight two dentists who joined forces to answer the Surgeon General's call to action. In 2006 Dr. Sherilyn Sheets and Fern Ingber founded America's Tooth Fairy, National Children's Oral Health Foundation. America's Tooth Fairy was established as a collaborative effort of clinicians, corporate leaders, and caring individuals to address the children's oral health crisis. The organization has provided more than $21 million in donated dental products and equipment, educational materials, financial grants, and programming to nonprofit dental clinics and community partners. Over seven million children have received oral healthcare and education from clinics relying on their support.

Will Koster: 34:26 Since 2014 nearly two million oral care products have been distributed to families in need through their smile drive campaign. Today, America's Tooth Fairy continues its commitment to improving children's oral health outcomes by serving as a resource to individuals and organizations facilitating oral health prevention and education services as well as those providing dental treatment, especially to children in underserved populations.

Will Koster: 34:52 As always, if you know someone who wears a white coat and is achieving something noteworthy, feel free to drop us a line. We'd love to hear about it, might even feature them on a future episode, but again, this episode's White Coat Achievement goes to Dr. Sherilyn sheets and Fern Ingber and America's Tooth Fairy because every child deserves a healthy smile.

Shane Tenny: 35:13 Thank you for joining us for another episode of White Coat Wellness. Great to have you with us and if you haven't already, please take a minute and subscribe through Google Play or the iTunes store. That way you'll know about the upcoming episodes that we have already slated. We release them about every other week and it's real life stories of doctors and dentists around the world working to pursue wellness in their lives and in their families and those around them. Also, you can track us down on Instagram, on Facebook. If you've got any ideas for topics, guests, or other questions about the show, you can email me directly. Shane, S-H-A-N-E at whitecoatwell.com. Thanks so much for being with us today and we'll see you back here next time.

Outro: 35:53 This episode of White Coat Wellness is over, but you're not alone on your journey towards financial wellness. Spaugh Dameron and Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists with their financial planning for over 60 years, and we'd love to answer any questions that would be of help to you. Visit SDTplanning.com today and take your financial wellness to new levels. Once again, that's SDTplanning.com and we'll see you on the next episode of White Coat Wellness.