Jan 13 / Dennis Hartlieb

Expanding Your Dental Career Opportunities with Dr. Amanda Seay

Write your awesome label here.

Are you struggling to find balance in your career and life? Are you wanting to push yourself to try new things in your career but feel reluctant to take the risk?

Don't miss this inspirational interview with Dr. Amanda Seay. In Part 2 of the interview, Dr. Dennis Hartlieb and Dr. Amanda Seay discuss Amanda's career path from her early days as a dentist all the way to her current journey with ImPres and with other continuing education opportunities! Amanda shares some powerful lessons that she's learned along the way that have helped her get where she is today!
Drag to resize

MORE ABOUT DR. AMANDA SEAY

Want to connect with Dr. Amanda Seay? Check out her instagram account @doctorseay, and learn more about her work at Imprescourses.com.

From Dr. Seay's site:

Dr. Amanda Seay received her dental degree from the elite New York University College of Dentistry, a global leader at the forefront of cosmetic and restorative aesthetics. She is a clinical instructor at the Kois Center, and has also published articles covering the art and techniques of aesthetic dentistry and dental materials. Dr. Seay is Accredited with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the world's most recognized advanced cosmetic dentistry program. This means she's dedicated hundreds of hours to learning the most advanced techniques to provide you with the smile you've always wanted. She combines her artistic talent, her passion for medicine, and excellence in clinical dentistry to create her own dental practice, focused on cosmetic and restorative dentistry. That’s dentistry redefined! When not in the office, Dr. Seay enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children. Her hobbies include cooking, traveling, exercising, photography, health and fitness, and beauty.
don't have time to listen?

Read the Full Interview Below

Dennis 0:02  
Hello again, Dental Online Trainers. I'm Dr. Dennis Hartlieb. And today we continue our conversation with Dr. Amanda Seay. Now many of you are already aware of Amanda and her incredible talents and accomplishments in cosmetic dentistry. But if you're not, here's just a small sampling. Amanda is an accredited fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She's a member of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry. Mandy is an instructor at the Kois Institute, and she's co-founder with Adamo Elvis of ImPres, a dental educational platform. From her home in Charleston, South Carolina, Amanda shares with us the challenges of balancing being a mom and a wife, and a dentist and a dental practice owner. She also shares with us how she was influenced to become a cosmetic dentist, and who her mentors were along her path. So kick back and relax, and enjoy my conversation with the amazing Dr. Amanda Seay. Hello, Dental Online Trainers! Dr. Dennis Hartlieb, back with you part for part two of our conversation with Amanda Seay. So thank you for joining us today! If you missed the first part, Amanda and I spoke at length about how she grew up and how she sort of got introduced into dentistry. It's really super interesting. I think you all should check that out because that's good information, and about her experience in dental school at NYU. But today we're going to talk about life as a dentist! And, Amanda, I want to start with a quote that I read from you. I can't remember where I picked it up, but you said, "You have to prioritize what you want most in your personal life and work backward from there. As much as I love my career, and I'm passionate about it, it's important for me to have time with my family, with my children, while they're still young." That's great advice. That's great advice for all of us. And when you think back as I say that, talk me a little bit about what are your thoughts on that?

Amanda 1:59  
Yeah, you know, for me, having told you kind of in Part One of my childhood, it was important to me that when David and I had kids that I wanted to -- no matter how successful or whatever our careers may be or where it takes us -- that I wanted to build this family life, this unit that was like Erin's family, you know? I wanted them to feel that; I wanted to be present. I didn't ever want it to be too busy. So for me, it was the balance of all of that. Because while I admire my father so much for how hard he has worked and the things he's accomplished, he put it above everything. And while he did it for his family, you know, now as he's older, you know, he tells me he wished he would have had more time when I was younger to spend with me. And he regrets that. You know? And so his words speak true to me, because it does! It goes by so fast! And so David and I made it a mission to make that happen, you know, and whatever that may be. And so, you know, I told David, when I first opened my practice and other things I said, you know, I just want to be home by a certain time so that I can take them to dance classes and see them perform or, you know, go to the basketball games. Those things were important to me to be able to do. And we just have to figure out how that looks. You know, I mean, if you work for somebody or you own your own practice, you do have to work backwards and make it work around what you make... It's like the big pebbles and the little pebbles, right, that you put in a jar! You've got to put those big pebbles in first, like what are those things that have to happen for you? And then you fill in all the other things. And it's always worked out well. I'm not saying that it's easy, and that I'm balanced. But it's about making the time that you have with them count, and it's quality time, right? And there's times when, yeah, I have a busy real two weeks of work, and the kids understand that now, but then we're going to have these this vacation together or we're going to do this. So it's, you know... I don't want people to put pressure on themselves to think I have to have this complete balance because balance can be... it can be self limiting sometimes when you think, "Oh, I'm not doing it right because I'm not balanced!" I mean, I'm not balanced. But I prioritize what's important to me. And there are times when certain things are going to require more of my time and times when it won't, but you put those things first, and they'll remember that! You know? And my kids... Even when I do that, I think sometimes like I'm that mom that doesn't volunteer at school. There's a lot of moms always volunteer at school and do awesome things. And I always felt guilty, guilt that I put upon myself, that I'm the water mom, meaning if you volunteer to bring anything, I volunteer to bring water! And my kids when they were little would always be like, "Mom, can't you make cookies or something?" I'm like, "I can make cookies, but I can't!" I just can't, you know? And it was this guilt that I had within me, but now that they're older, they're like, "Mom, we're so glad you're the water Mom! It's okay." You know? And you realize, like, give yourself some grace. And just understand that there's just not a perfect idea of balance, but making the things that count count!
Write your awesome label here.
Dennis 5:46  
I think people are going to really appreciate you saying that, Amanda, because I think there's so much pressure to be perfect at everything, right? To be the perfect baker, to be the perfect mom at school or, you know, even for dads. I mean, I felt enormous guilt for not being able to do the homeroom stuff with my daughter when Becca was growing up. I mean, I really wanted to do it. I really wanted to do it! But it just wasn't going to happen! But you know, and so you're right! And balances elusive. But it is about putting, you know, putting the the things that are most important... Prioritizing those. Family dinners were always very important when Becca was growing up, being there for family dinners. That was such a critical aspect. I grew up with family dinners every night. That was something that we continued to maintain. So yeah, that's just awesome advice. So thank you for sharing that. I want to get back, and I want to know about when you got out of dental school, and how your practice started, and all that. So did you... So David was from South Carolina. Was he from Charleston?

Amanda 6:48  
Yep, he's from Charleston.

Dennis 6:53  
So you were married, out of dental school.

Amanda 6:55  
We were married, and he was... Like I said, he was not really wanting to move back home. He kind of wanted to stay in the city or move to a different city and explore something else. But I had to take my southern boards just because I wanted to, you know, I took the northern boards, I took the southern boards. And the rent for our studio apartment was up. So we said, Okay, well, let's move back to Charleston and live with his parents. His parents had this big house that we could live in, rent free. Right? I said, "Well, let's live there while I take my boards and wait to get my license!" Because I had to wait like two or three months to get my license. So we were there that summer. And I just remember... And I'd never really lived in Charleston, you know? I was in Columbia, South Carolina for school, which is much different than Charleston! I was like, this is really nice. I mean, it's very different than a city. But there was something so charming and special about it. And peaceful, too. I just felt a sense of peace. And settled. And I told David, I said, "Well, what if we just live in Charleston, you know?" And he was like, "You really want to live in Charleston?" I was like, "I don't know if I really want to live in Charleston, but I don't dislike the idea of living in Charleston right now, either. And it's more affordable. And, you know, you you could work with your dad..." And so we decided to live in Charleston! And so I took on an associateship at a very beautiful office, thinking it was high tech, but not really high tech. He worked with his dad as a financial advisor. And we quickly realized that we were both really unhappy in our workplaces. I mean...

Dennis 8:45  
What made you unhappy in that associate position?

Amanda 8:51  
It was really high volume dentistry. And I had to do it the way I was told to do it. I had to do the root canals; I had to do the extractions. Not a lot of specialties were used, you know? There was a certain timeframe, I had to work for each procedure. And it was not... I knew that that's not the kind of dentistry I wanted to do. I wasn't proud of the dentistry, you know? And I knew I could do a better job if I had more time, better materials, and better help or support, but it just wasn't there.

Dennis 9:33  
This is common. This is a common experience, especially today with so many graduating dental students join in DSOs. So I think a lot of...

Amanda 9:42  
Yeah, and this was private practice! So it's not just a corporate. I mean, it's -- the wrong practice is the wrong practice, you know? But I also... The good things I learned from it were how to be a better leader could because, you know, the team loved me, you know?They really confided in me, and they would... They were wonderful. And I just realized that if you just spend a little bit of time to ask people how their day is, and invest in getting to know people and be interested in people, that it completely changes the dynamic and the trust and the relationship.

Dennis 10:24  
You're talking about... talking about patients and team members?

Amanda 10:28  
Team members, team members! Yeah, and patients, too, of course, but team members, especially, because I was in an office where the team members were really unhappy. There was high turnover, or if they were there for a long time, they were miserable. But they were just too afraid to leave. But they would tell me all these things, and here I am just one year in this practice thinking, "Why are they confiding in me?" You know? I'm like, "Why wouldn't you tell this to, you know, the boss?" And they were like, "No! No! We can't!" And so I started to see the divide between being a leader in a practice. It was more, you know... The clinical dentistry is one part, but leading the people to help carry out the vision that you have for the practice is such a big part of that, too. So, in that year, I learned much about leading people, I should say. I didn't learn a whole lot about dentistry in my associateship, but I learned about leading people.

Dennis 11:29  
You learned by doing opposite of what you were watching? 

Amanda 11:34  
Yeah. 

Dennis 11:36  
Any books or any resources that you use during that time to help become a better leader?

Amanda 11:42  
No, I, you know... I didn't we, I didn't really get into reading leadership books or self improvement books till much later, probably after I own my own practice and started hiring a consultant, did I really get into that. But at the time, not really! It was just by experience, like just the relationship, and the things that I would learn from people and conversations I would have, and just kind of each time these experiences would help shape me and make me realize, "Wow, that's powerful!" It's so simple, sometimes, what people need, and it's not that much, right? Sometimes it's just a word of praise, or a thank you, or making them feel that they can come to you to say something. And it was just intimidation. And sometimes, you know, to give credit to the person that I worked for, I mean, maybe it's not anything that she did, but it was the the vibe that she gave off that it wasn't possible for people to come to her and approach her, right? So I just... it really helped shape my thought process of you know, if I ever own my practice one day, the type of leader I want to be for that practice.
It was really high volume dentistry. And I had to do it the way I was told to do it. I had to do the root canals; I had to do the extractions. Not a lot of specialties were used, you know? There was a certain timeframe, I had to work for each procedure. And it was not... I knew that that's not the kind of dentistry I wanted to do. I wasn't proud of the dentistry, you know?
Amanda Seay
Dennis 13:04  
What's it like being a being a female leader in a female-centric industry?

Amanda 13:14  
Did you say female-centric industry?

Dennis 13:16  
Well, female centric in that most of the team members we have are going to be female. I mean, we actually have a pretty divided practice. Now we have... we have two dental assistants that are male. But many of the team members we're going to have are going to be female. I do want to address the issue that the profession of dentistry is not female centric! And I want to talk about that also. But as a practice owner, as a leader who's female, and you're working with women, mostly... I don't know if you have men on your staff or not? 

Amanda 13:50  
Oh, I do. I have a doctor. 

Dennis 13:53  
So what's that like? I mean, I think there's there's been a perception that it's harder for women to lead women. But I witness my social partner, Angela, she's a dentist in Milwaukee here. And she has an entire female team. And she's an incredible leader. And she's got... her team is really just incredible. And they follow her. She's led really well. And she's a way better leader than I am. And so what's been your experience as a female leader with female team members?

Amanda 14:28  
Yeah, you know, it's a hard one to answer because I opened my practice when I was 28. So I was, you know, relatively young, and most of everybody that I hired had more experience than I did in the profession. And I wasn't as confident in my ability to lead or my clinical skills for that matter. So I think I was a different type of leader. I don't know if I was a very effective one at that age, and so I would say, when I was younger, it was really hard. There was a lot of dealing with personalities and not knowing how to address this person; I felt like I had to adapt to everybody's personal personality profile differently. And be the one that knows how to be a chameleon and change how I speak to each person. But then, as I get older, now being more confident in my leadership style, I think it's great. I don't find it... I'm not saying it's easy, you know? I mean, you still need to understand everybody's love language, their personality profile and know their needs, because it is... Like I'm, you know, I'm very analytical. I know how I work. But just because that's how I work, that's not how somebody else works. And sort of to remember those things, like to put a hand on someone's shoulder, and just say, "Hey, thank you so much. You were awesome today!" Or, you know, and so, I think it's -- I have more awareness now that I'm older being in practice. And I find that it's much easier now, too. But I think the more people you have, the more difficult it is always because of the you can have 10 great personalities, and then you've got one and then it's... You know, that can make everything go awry. So, it's going to get loud in here! We'll just keep going. And if it gets really bad, we'll go in another room.

Dennis 16:33  
Perfect. I think that for females, and I'm just guessing, that as... I'm kind of a straightforward kind of guy, right? And so, my team could say, well, that's Dr. Hartlieb; he's just pretty straightforward. But if I was a female, then... Excuse my language, but I come off as a bitch. Why, you know? And so I think that's a real... I would think that's super challenging, like being, you know, confident and stern, right? That this is the stuff we've got to get done, but not coming off, like, Oh, she's just, you know, you know... There's all sorts of commentary that can go around that as a female, that as a guy, I don't have to, you know... I get a pass on that. Right. For females, I think a female leader, I think you're under... you're under different rules than if you're a guy going through that. Would you agree with that?

Amanda 17:24  
I do agree with that. And I think what helps is because, you know, outside of work, when I'm not like... when I'm going to work, I'm focused. And so things can be misconstrued where, you know, I'm just straight faced and asking for something. And people don't read your body language the right way, or whatever it is. So I think it's really important that the hours that you spend together in work, you've got to invest a little time outside of work to do team building or a social hour or something so that you can be together outside of dentistry so that people can see, Hey, look, this is... it's different, right? Like, it's different when we're in the mix. And we've got all the operatories going, and I've got to check hygiene, and I'm prepping this, I'm doing that; I can't stop and be like, "Hey, it's an amazing day today!" You know?

Dennis 18:14  
Right! Yep!

Amanda 18:16  
But let's celebrate; let's find that time outside of work. And let's celebrate how awesome our team is. And one another. So I think that's huge to do that.

Dennis 18:27  
I agree. We've been doing Thursday Happy Hours with our team; we do it in the office, so we can do as part of our team meeting. But we'll start out, and each person brings in like their new favorite cocktail. And so there'll be like a little bartender thing going on. We'll talk a little bit about the drink, and we'll kick back, have a drink, and we can have our chit chat and have some fun. And then we'll get a little business done as part of our team meeting. And that's been really, I think, really helpful, especially as we brought on new team members to help them see that, hey, we're just not this dentist that is, you know, Uber focused, and that we are actually, you know, that we're normal. We're human beings also, as it turns out!

Amanda 19:04  
Yes, I agree. And, yeah, like, and it doesn't... We do a lot of like parties at work, too, after hours, because it's easy for everybody! We're already there. So we can just bring food, bring drinks, whatever, and just spend like an hour. It doesn't have to be lengthy, right? Because sometimes people think, "Oh, we've got to plan some elaborate get together." And it can be so simple. I mean, just the last day of the week, we can do that and just get together for an hour or two and share some fellowship.

Dennis 19:31  
What do you tell the young Amanda, the Amanda Seay that started the practice, you know, a few years back? What do you tell them the young Amanda, that you wish you knew then?

Amanda 19:41  
I wish I would have hired somebody much smarter than I was to tell me how to run a business.

Dennis 19:47  
You know, that's so true. You're right. That's so true. I agree 100%! I hadn't thought about that, but you're absolutely right.

Amanda 19:53  
Yeah, I was so focused on the clinical dentistry, but I had no clue how to run a business and that's stressful, you know? That's stressful. And it wasn't until I got to a place with my clinical skills that I felt like okay, like I started meeting other dentists that were on the same path from... You know, when you start going to all this CE, there's a certain group of people that are all doing the same CE, and you start talking shop, talking business, that I started to realize, "Wow, I'm probably not running my business the best that I could be!" You know?

Dennis 20:36  
I do! I do know! 

Amanda 20:37  
Based on other people. I'm like, wow, like, we do the same kind of dentistry, but I'm not doing those type of numbers or that kind of efficiency, or they're talking about this tax planning, or this or that. And I'm like, "Wow, I've got so much to learn!" And so I wish I would have just, from the get go, hired somebody.
Write your awesome label here.
Dennis 20:58  
Yeah, I don't disagree at all. How did you get start with CE? What was your influence in continuing education?

Amanda 21:04  
This is a really funny story. So I'm in my associateship in South Carolina, and my classmate one year younger than me was Dr. Mike Appa. I'm sure everybody knows who he is. So Mike, calls me and he says, "Hey, you've got to join the AACD and go to this conference in Orlando, Florida." And I'm like, "What's the AACD?" And he's like the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He's like, "It's where all the big cosmetic educators go. Larry is going to be there!" Blah, blah. And Mike, by the way, has always told me when we were in lecture hall, he said to me, he said, "I'm going to work for that guy one day!" when Larry was talking to us, and I just laughed at him. And I'm like, "Yeah, buddy. Sure you are."

Dennis 21:52  
And here he is! Larry is working for him!

Amanda 21:58  
So he's like, "Just go. I think tuition is like, nothing for first year grads or something like that." So I'm like, okay. So I meet Mike, and like five other dental school buddies. They're all guys. None of my... I couldn't convince any of my female friends to come. And we go, and I just remember stepping in there. And my first lecture, I can't remember what lecture it was, but just seeing a presentation. Like, you know, I've only seen presentations in dental school. So I saw this presentation in a huge room. And I was just blown away. I just remember thinking, "This is beautiful. This is amazing!" And I signed up for some hands on courses. I'd never done anything like that before. And I loved it. I just was hooked. I mean, absolutely hooked. And the funny story is this, this is the funny part of it. So that's my first CE, but we're there. And we go to one of the evening events, social events, and Mike's like, "Oh, my gosh, there's Larry! Come on, you've got to come with me! We're gonna go talk to him." I'm like, "Oh, dude, I don't want to go smooze. That's not my personality. I can't do that." He's like, "No, no, no! Come, come! Come with me." So we go up, and he starts talking to Larry, and Larry surrounded by his entourage of, I don't know, all the people at the time, right? I don't know who any of these people are. I only recognize Larry. I don't know anybody. So I'm just like... So Mike's talking to Larry, and I'm just kind of looking around. I'm like I'm just going to make small talk. And so I look around. We all have name badges. And I see a name badge that says Columbia, South Carolina. And so I look up. I'm like, "Hey, Tom!" I said, "I'm Amanda. I went to school in Columbia!" And he's like, "Oh, Tom Trinkner. So nice to meet you." I had no idea who Tom Trinkner was at all. And I think at the time, he was the editor of the journal Cosmetic Dentistry. And so the next day, I go to lecture, and it happens to be his lecture with Matt Roberts. And I'm like, "Oh, my gosh! I met that guy." And I had exchanged emails with him that night. And I had told them, I said, Yeah, I would love to come to your practice, if you know, to Colombia, sometimes... It's only an hour and a half drive, and see you do big cases, because he told me he's like, yeah, he's so humble. He was like, "Yeah, you know, I do some cuts." I'm like, "What do you do?" He's like, I really like cosmetic dentistry, and blah, blah. And I'm like, Oh! And so the next day I go in to lecture, and lo and behold, he's the one teaching the course. So I keep in touch with Tom, and I would drive to Columbia every chance I had to watch him do these cases. I mean, I just loved it. And I just did kind of like I did with Erin. I did whatever Erin did. I did whatever Tom did. So I was like, Tom, where do I go? He's like, "Well, I went to Pankey." So I'm like, well, I'm going to go to Pankey. And I'm like, "Who's your consultant?" And he told me, and I hired her. So I really just followed in his footsteps. And that was my real first mentor, to be honest, in dentistry. And still is to this day! He's just wonderful. So amazing. And, you know, I was this close to moving to Colombia to come work with him. And again, it was just one of those moments where you felt like it was meant to be. But Tom was kind of stepping away from teaching, and he just gotten married. And, you know, I'm like, "Do I want to live in Colombia? But it's such a great opportunity! Do I want to live in Colombia?" And so we decided, you know, this isn't going to work. But, you know, he just still coached me through so much my first several years in dentistry, and I'm so forever grateful for that. 

Dennis 25:45  
That's, awesome.

Amanda 25:47  
That was my first experience with CE and I haven't missed an AACD since, except for when I had my third in Hawaii, I didn't go to Hawaii. So...

Dennis 26:00  
And if I could do a plug for the AACD, I agree. It's been really formative for me and my learning. And I think it's a great organization, and for young dentists, I think being at the AACD meeting, you get a chance to meet other people like you. And it's just such a... it's such a welcoming community, unlike any other meeting, as much as we try at the Restorative Academy. And I know the AAD also tries to be really welcoming. I don't think there's any meeting that is welcoming as the AACD... It just... People want to mentor, people want to share; people have gone down the same path is the young dentists. They see themselves in that, in these people. And it's a great opportunity. So any listeners who are on the outside in, check out the AACD. I think it's a great meeting. Great, great organization.

Amanda 26:47  
I agree, and for what you have under one roof for a couple days, it's amazing. You know, so then you can, you know, I've taken your courses from there. And I think you can kind of see all these educators and decide, Okay, do I want to travel to Chicago to do this? Or do I want to travel to Charleston, or do I...? You know, it's so amazing. But again, it's the community. I mean, my closest friends in dentistry are the people that I've met at the AACD. And we meet, and we want the same things. We go on the same journey. And it's just, it's been so fun and special for me.
You know, it's so amazing. But again, it's the community. My closest friends in dentistry are the people that I've met at the AACD. We meet, and we want the same things. We go on the same journey. And it's been so fun and special for me.
Amanda Seay
Dennis 27:26  
How'd you get involved with Kois? When When did you start with Kois? And tell me about... I want to know about how that all sort of happened with your relationship with with Kois Center and all that stuff. 

Amanda 27:38  
Yeah, so I finished Pankey in 2006. And, I mean, I was a good student, in the sense of I would go back and apply everything that I learned, you know, like, do it exactly the way they taught me. So I was doing, you know... And I'm sure Pankey has changed, but at the time, you were doing these like two hour, two and a half hour new inpatient exams. You're palpating every muscle of mastication, you know, charting every interference. Everybody's put in bites met therapy, you're mounting every case, whether you're doing one tooth or two teeth. And so I did all of that. And it was so hard in private practice! It didn't translate to being... I didn't have good treatment acceptance. I didn't have efficiency; it wasn't profitable. And I'm like, What am I missing? Like I'm doing everything right, it seems! Yet patients aren't saying yes. It's just too hard. And so I just, I'm like, I need something else. And one of my friends, that's a prosthodontist in my local area, and he's kind of like the serial CE guy... He's taken everything. And he said, "You know, I just got back from Kois. I just did occlusion there." He's like, "I've taken occlusion courses from all these schools of thought." He goes, "His makes the most sense to me." I'm like, "Really? Like, what do you mean? How is it any different? Is it neuromuscular? Is it this?" He's like, no. He's like, "He'll tell you when neuromuscular works. And he'll tell you when it doesn't, you know?" And he's like, "Just - you should go!" And I remember going, and it was just a paradigm shift for me. It was so freeing in my mind, because John was able to help me see, "Hey, this is when it's okay to take a triple tray impression! You're not a bad dentist if you take a triple tray, but know when it's going to bite you in the ass!" You know? And it was just so good. And I just remember like, I got it. Like, it makes sense to me now. And he also teaches how to speak to patients... not, he doesn't make it a part of his course, but just hearing him teach. He's such a great educator that you learn how to deal with people, and how to speak with them effectively. And I just really try to emulate what he's taught me all the time. And so from that moment I was, I was really hooked. And I went back and took all the courses over the next three years. And the thing that was really special for me is that, you know, I'm just one student in the 1000s and I don't know how many that John teaches. But John always remembers things about everybody, like, he makes it a point to be interested in people. And that's the thing that was so different and special about John. And so I remember when I when I took the core curriculum over three years, I was always pregnant or nursing, because I had four kids. Right? And I went, and John... At the end of every course, there's an evaluation forum where you have to write down like, what you liked, what could be improved, and you know, I gave them 10+ with everything in there. The only thing I said it could be improved is this. I said, "Well, you know, as a nursing mom, it would be nice to have a nursing station with like a place to sit, and an outlet to be able to do the breast pump." Because when I was there all week, as a nursing mom, you have to, you know, do this twice a day; it takes 20 minutes each time. You have no outlet, so it's battery powered. There's no place to sit, so then you have to sit on a stall. And you're missing 30 minutes of lecture twice a day for a whole week. And sure enough, the next time I went out there, there was a nursing station, there was an outlet, and he installed speakers in the bathroom. And I'm like, that's so cool. I'm like, there's other people that said the same thing that I did, too, I guess. He really take it to heart, you know. And so then he came up to me in between, and he tapped me on the shoulder. And he said, "Amanda, I want to thank you for your honest feedback." He goes, "I'd never thought about that until you wrote that." He goes, "And I installed it right away because of your comment." I'm like wow, that's so special, you know? 

Dennis 32:10  
Yeah. That's very cool. 

Amanda 32:12  
And he would just always remember things and ask things... Like he does about everybody. Like I said, it wasn't anything special about me; he remembers. His mind is incredible, but I struggled with... So I took occlusion three times. Actually, it's funny because I really struggled with like letting go with the whole everybody who has where is not in CR and I'm like, "I'm not understanding this." And John, I think, just saw that I struggled with it because of where I was trained. And I couldn't let my mind go, you know, to think differently. And I just think that he saw I was really invested. And I just, I just would keep coming and I took my mentorship exam. And I can't even remember... I would say it was in... I took my mentorship exam in 2009. And in 2014, I got a nomination from John Kois. Well, I didn't know it was from John Kois. I got a nomination from Banco for the Lucy Hobbs award, A Woman to Watch. And I'm like, "Oh my gosh!" And they said, "Some people nominated you, but your biggest supporter was Dr. John Kois. He nominated you!" And I just remember thinking, like, what does he see in me, that's... I'm just a good student. I just follow directions really well, and I work hard, but like, I'm not an innovator. I'm not a pioneer, you know, I'm not... But I just remember that I called him, and I'm like, "Thank you so much!" And he's like, "I really believe that you're going to do great things!" And I just remember, like, this man believes in me! I've got to believe in myself in a way, but I wasn't sure like what that was. And then it was probably at the time of like Restorative Academy, and Aesthetic Academy, and the first time that I've ever gone, and John said to me, like, "You're going to present something!" He's like, "I think you should teach on composite artistry." He goes, "You do some of the most beautiful composites I've ever seen." I've never taught composites in my life. And I'm like, Yeah, but I'm not Newton Fall. I'm not Dennis Hartlieb. I'm not Corky Willhite, or any of these... I've learned from all of these people. You know, I learned from Bob Margeas, and I learned from from all these other greats. And that's when I realized, Okay, well, I did learn from all these people, but maybe there's something that I can put together, and put all the pearls that I learned from all these people, and make it my own.
[John Kois] is such a great educator that you learn how to deal with people, and how to speak with them effectively [by watching him]. And I just really try to emulate what he's taught me all the time. And so from that moment, I was really hooked.
Amanda Seay
Dennis 35:04  
And I will say this Amanda, I remember when you came out to Cosmedent. You were at the Center for Aesthetic Excellence, and Buddy had brought in a bunch of dentists. And I can't remember what the technique... it might have been a full veneer. I can't remember exactly, but I had seen your stuff. And I told Mopper, I said, "The best dentist, best cosmetic bonding dentist in this room, is sitting in the front row on the right side." And yeah, your stuff, your clinical skills, is just through the roof. Just outstanding! I remember saying that to Buddy! I said, "The best bonder in this room is sitting in the front row on the right side. That's Amanda." Yeah, truly great, beautiful stuff.

Amanda 35:40  
But I mean, that's the power of a mentor! Somebody that believes in you, or just to say that you can do it. You know, there's right... there was never any place in my career that I was like, I think I want to teach or I think I want to publish, or, you know... It was a nudge, it was a push, it was people saying like, "Hey, I think you can do this, and you would be good at it." And it was really uncomfortable place, but you don't grow unless you are uncomfortable! So that's how I got started with lecturing.

Dennis 36:14  
That's awesome. Tell me about you and Adamo, and tell me what you guys have coming up with ImPres, and what's tell me what we need to look forward to.

Amanda 36:24  
I'm going to go to the outside. You get a little tour of Charleston, South Carolina.

Dennis 36:30  
Well, it's 43 degrees, I think, where I am right now. So this is going to look really nice! 

Amanda 36:35  
It's super warm out here. Oh, much better. 

Dennis 36:40  
Oh, yeah, there we go. Alright, so tell me what you and Adamo have going on with ImPres.

Amanda 36:47  
So it was crazy, you know, so I was on that train of lecturing for all these companies going here going there. And it in the beginning, it was like fun and exciting. But then I started to realize like, what am I doing this for? Right? Because there are times when I'd fly out to some place, some study club... I never know who these people are. Some of them are there for the free CE, not because they really signed up for my course, right? And I've worked so hard on this presentation, putting it together; I'm away from my family, from my kids. And it was like, a day where it was just transactional. You know? It was like, I did my lecture, and I'm leaving. And I remember coming back, and I just told David, "I just don't think this is what I'm supposed to do." You know, like, it's not, it's different. Like, I felt like... There were times when I would teach at the AACD. And that was more transformational for me, because there are people that are really interested in learning it. And I enjoyed that. But the whole going around and to random places, and I just told David, I said, "I just don't know what the next step is. But I just... I don't want to travel that much. I'm not putting our family first if I'm traveling, too, and I don't know!" And so we were at an ASDA meeting, Adamo and I, and we happened... I knew of him, but we'd never met each other. And we were sitting in the back of the room next to each other, and he was on his computer and I was on mine, and kind of like glanced over and I'm like, "Hey, I'm Amanda! I know you from the AACD, but we haven't met!" And so we introduced to one another. We had mutual friends. And our mutual friends came up and said they were like, "Oh, Adamo, can you... Can you do like a private photography course for us?" Blah, blah, blah. And he was like, Well, yeah. And they were my friends, too. Tara Hardin, which I'm sure you know... 

Dennis 38:52  
Sure. 

Amanda 38:54  
And he's like, "You should come!" and I said, "Oh, I'll come and hang out with you guys." And so we went, and we went to Florida, actually. And it was like the four of us. Adamo was looking at my slides and my notes. He's like, "Why are you taking this photography course? You already know how to take photography!" You know? And I was like, "I was going to just hang out with my friends. And you know, I always learn something!" I truly believe that. You know, even if you think you know how to do something, you can always learn something. But at that course, we were just... We got to talking and I'm like, "Let me see that slide!" He's like, "Let me see this slide." And we started looking at each other's presentations. And we said, you know, that'd be fun. We should do something together. You know, like, just like a mini one day or on something! Maybe photography? Maybe... We weren't sure, but we... it was just like a crazy idea because we got along, and we liked each other style, and whatever. So we said, Well, we were trying to decide what it was. He at the time was lecturing with the two Venezuelan photographers, dentist photographers, and so he said, Hey, he goes, "Let's do one in Charleston, and you teach with us. And so we did the "When Pictures Really Matter" in Charleston. And I taught it with those guys. And after that, he was like, "Let's do this!" You know, let's do our own thing. Let's do a one day composite course. And we did a one day composite course. And we read the evaluations, and everybody says, "It should be a two day course!" I'm thinking, "Oh, my gosh! A two day course?" Only, like, legit people do two day courses. I've only done, you know, half day, one day courses, like.. That's like, people could have Cosmedent and places like that to do a two, three day course, you know? I don't know if I could do that much content two days. And then just the logistics of doing a course! I know nothing about this, how to do this. I mean, these companies would take care of everything for me before! I would just show up, and it was there. It was done. So it was the whole idea and the logistics of how do I make this happen now? So we, I mean, just blood, sweat and tears, have figured it out, with each passing course -- what to do, what not to do. But what's been really nice is that we can talk about anything that we use, you know? So we're not sponsored by anybody. We work with a bunch of companies, but the companies you've worked with, they're products that we use, like we really use, you know? Like, I'm not going to sit there and say that everything I use is by Ivoclar, or everything I use is by Cosmedent. Like these are the Cosmedent products I absolutely love. And these are the ones from Ivoclar that I... You know, and so, I think there's more credibility in that sometimes, too!

Dennis 41:47  
For sure!

Amanda 41:47  
 I mean people just -- they look at it, and they're like, "Oh, okay!" And, you know, I'm still... I'm still amazed. And I feel so blessed by the support that we've had from our courses, because I never thought that it would grow to what it's become today. We just... we just had an idea of like, "Hey, let's do something different one day together, because we're tired of flying around all over the place!" And it's grew into something much bigger than I ever thought.

Dennis 42:19  
Yeah! Well, that's because it's so wildly successful. And you guys connect with the participants and you're leveraging that into giving them opportunities to learn in a different, you know, format than what they've learned before. So kudos to you guys. You guys are doing great stuff. Anyone I know who's taking your courses has just raved about it. So, I think those are just great stuff! What do you guys have coming up? Anything on the horizon?

Amanda 42:46  
Yes! So we have a course next week, two more in December, and in 2022, we actually have eight courses, which is the most we've ever had. So we're really excited about that! We have a new course next year that's on veneer, prep design, and previsualization. So that will be towards the end of the year. But, you know, we're just we're trying to learn and improve every day, too. And, you know, it's been a wild ride. It's been great. And I... you know, for anybody that's listening to all these things, like I... You have to believe when somebody sees something in you, because I never, ever would have thought that I would be an educator or do all the things that I do now. But if it wasn't for somebody believing in me, or saying that you can do this, or you should do this, and sometimes it can... I mean, it's scary. There's never one point where I'm like, "Oh, yeah, for sure. I'm going to do this." I mean, I remember I'd never put a keynote together. Before when I was asked to lecture, I'd never put a presentation together. And I remember downloading the manual being like: This is how you do a keynote. I mean, right? And it's so scary, but you'll figure it out. And, you know, put yourself out there, let yourself try it! And if you fail at it and decide I don't want to pick myself back up and do it again, that's fine. But I think you'd be surprised sometimes what you realize you're capable of, or what you may enjoy doing. And if I would have never said yes to my mentors who believed in me and said that I had something to offer, I don't know where I'd be right now! You know, I certainly would not be in this platform teaching other people!
Write your awesome label here.
Dennis 44:43  
Well, I think that's well said! There's couple things before we go. I had a little... we do a coffee and donuts mentorship thing once a month with dental online training, and we had a young dentist on, and I said, "The key, I think, to be able to be successful in dentistry in today's world is to learn how to take photographs." And so I even referenced your course; we do some on DOT. My partner, Chris Ching, has a course for Dental Online Training. But so, anyone who's listening, I would tell you, you've got to learn how to do dental photography! If you want to do, you know, if you want to do cosmetic dentistry, or even... I think you can be successful in dentistry today, you've got to learn photography. So, I know you guys have a great course. And Chris went out and took your guys's course a couple years ago, a few years ago. So I would... If people want to find you, they can just go to... How do they find find information for courses?

Amanda 45:36  
Imprescourses.com. Impres with one s.

Dennis 45:38  
Okay. And then finally, I want to finish up, Amanda, and we touched on this really briefly about being a female in a male centric profession. And even though the office is female centric, their profession is really male centric still, though dental school classes are now becoming 50/50 female. I have to imagine their struggles coming... You know, maybe in school even being a female in school, or maybe after school. What's been your...? What's been any struggles you've had? And what advice do you have for females going into dentistry?

Amanda 46:15  
You know, I didn't really feel the struggle in dental school being female. But I definitely felt it after dental school. I mean, when I opened up my practice, I was still a young dentist, and all the specialists that I worked with were older and mostly male; actually, all of them were male. And even though I was taking all this CE, and I felt like I had good sound clinical knowledge, I was never taken seriously in the sense that I could possibly see something different or a different way to treat a mutual patient than the way that they have always done it. You know, and I remember going back and saying, "Well, you know, I don't need you to equilibrate my patient because I'd rather do an additive equilibration where I don't have to reduce any tooth structure say, or you know, and it was like, "Well, I've been doing this 20 years!" And so it was the first time where I felt like, wow, I'm being challenged by my age, my being female, or whatever it may be. And it's the same when it comes to when I started educating, becoming a lecturer. My very first lecture was like that, actually. It was in Pennsylvania, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. And I flew in for a full day course; it was full day photography. The beginning was the philosophy and lecture portion, and the afternoon was hands on photography. And I went to breakfast, and I sat with some participants, and they were just talking and they're like, where are you? Where are you coming from? I said, "I'm coming from Charleston." They're like, "Oh, that's so great. You came such a far way!" I'm like, "Oh, yeah, no, it's great." And so I excuse myself from breakfast, and I go to set up my own AV, my computer and projector and everything. And the same gentleman, one of the gentlemen that was sitting with me, probably in his 60s, walked by, and he looked, and he just kind of looked dumbfounded. And he looked to me, he looked at me and he said, "You're our speaker?" And I said, "Yeah, I am." And he... I realized that he just thought I was somebody that flew in from Charleston, South Carolina, to attend their study club as a participant. Never in a million years, did he think that I would be teaching him anything? And so he said that! I said, "Yes, I am." And he kind of scoffed and he said, "Honey, I've been practicing dentistry since before you were even born." And that was my first lecture. And I remember just feeling like, pit in my stomach, like, Oh, my God, like, why am I doing this? This is ridiculous. Like, I don't, I can't, I can't teach these people anything! And so that first half of the morning was a blur. I really don't remember the lecture portion of it. But then after lunch, we got to the hands on portion. And as I went around the room to help everybody set up their cameras, the same gentleman that kind of made that comment was also the one that did not know how to use this camera at all. 

Dennis 49:34  
Sure. Right. 

Amanda 49:37  
And it was just, it was this moment of I realized that okay, you're... there's always going to be people that will judge you. There'll be always naysayers or whatnot. But you've got to decide! I mean, you have to decide whether you can do this or not. You have to have that self belief. And so I came home from that lecture and it was like that lecture where I went to see if I really wanted to lecture ever again. And so I came home and David said, "Well, how was it? Do you want to...? Do you want to do it again?" I'm like, "I don't know." And he's like, "What happened?" And I told him the story. I said, "You know what? I don't know if I want to do it again. But I think I need to do it again. Because I think I can do better." And I did! And I just kept doing it. And it becomes, I don't know, I... And that's the part about perseverance. I think you learn so much about yourself, in pushing yourself to do things, and then you might realize you come to a place where you're like, "No, this is not what I'm supposed to do." But you're better for it, you're better for... You're going to get a better place, having tried harder to push yourself harder than if you didn't at all. So yeah, that was my first experience lecturing.
Write your awesome label here.
Dennis 50:51  
Well, no truer words. And for those who want to get into doing presentations and stuff. Yeah, you're going to... I mean, I distinctly remember that same thing as a young dentist, and some of some of the challenges with some of the participants. But it does make you stronger, it does make you take a step back and look at the material that you're presenting. And I've always said, "If you want to learn how to do something, really well, teach it." Because once you start teaching it, people are gonna start asking questions; you're going to have to learn it at a higher level. And it just keeps on pushing you to really understand why you do what you do and how you do what you do. And it just gives you a better, makes you better at doing your dentistry and makes it, I think, even more enjoyable because you understand it better.

Amanda 51:34  
Yes, yes, I agree.

Dennis 51:37  
Well, Amanda, this has been awesome. You are... You're not just an inspiration to to female dentists. You're an inspiration to me! You're an inspiration to many of my colleagues. You're doing beautiful dentistry. Your work is just... outside of dentistry. You know? And the last thing I'll say: if you're if you're not on social media, if you don't know Amanda, then you've got to check out Amanda's Instagram page. And I think Adamo told me that you force your kids to sit in the basement and do your Instagram stuff for you! So... That's not true. He didn't say that!

Amanda 52:16  
Don't listen to anything that man says.

Dennis 52:19  
But Amanda is prolific on Instagram and really has great content, and so check out Amanda's Instagram page, which is...? What is it? I don't even know what your... I'm on it but...

Amanda 52:28  
It's Doctorseay. Spelled out Doctor, and my last name Seay.

Dennis 52:35  
Amanda, I can't thank you enough for spending this time with us. It really... Sharing with us, sharing with our DOT listeners, your experiences, where you where you came from, and where you are today... It's super valuable. And I can't tell you how wonderful this is that you've just sort of spent this time with us. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Amanda 52:55  
It's honestly special. It's nice to be talking about something other than just the technique of dentistry, right? Talking about the journey. So I hope that it was, you know, if it helps other people. Thank you for allowing me to share my story.

Dennis 53:10  
Thank you so much, and Dental Online Trainers, until next time, yours for better dentistry. I'm Dr. Dennis Hartlieb. And thanks for joining us. 

Dennis 53:29  
Well, thanks for listening in to my conversation with Amanda, and I hope you enjoyed your time hearing from really one of the world's best cosmetic dentists. Now don't forget that DOT has so many other great learning opportunities from our Wine and Unwind -- these are monthly webinars where we engage real time with our viewers as we bring in leaders throughout the dental industry and take your questions and just learn from the best and how to make our dentistry and our dental practices better. We also have our monthly coffee and donut Study Club mentoring sessions, where our members bring in questions and bring in treatment plans, or cases that we need to treatment plan in our monthly sessions. We also have our live virtual workshops where we cover everything from treating the worn dentition to full bonded resin veneers, to prepping teeth for porcelain veneers. So many topics that we cover in these live virtual workshops that you don't want to miss. Of course we have our blogs. And we have our endless selection of hands-on, pre-recorded technique courses to improve the quality of your dentistry for you and your patients. So check us out at DOThandson.com. And if you enjoyed this Sharecast, please share with your friends and colleagues. And until next time, I'm Dr. Dennis Hartlieb. Yours for better dentistry.
That's the power of a mentor! Somebody that believes in you, or just to say that you can do it. You know, there was never any place in my career that I was like, I think I want to teach or I think I want to publish, or... It was a nudge; it was a push; it was people saying, "Hey, I think you can do this, and you would be good at it." And it was really uncomfortable place, but you don't grow unless you are uncomfortable!
Amanda Seay



Dennis Hartlieb, DDS, AAACD

DOT Founder

Join 3,000+ dentists who get monthly restorative dentistry tips

Share this page

Latest from our blog