Dennis Hartlieb

Mentoring, Partnerships, and Continuing Education with Dr. Gregg Kinzer

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What role does continuing education play in a dentist's life?
How do we establish ourselves while also being in partnerships? 

To learn about these important questions and so much more, watch or listen in to Part 2 of this outstanding interview with Dr. Gregg Kinzer!

In the second part of Dr. Dennis Hartlieb's discussion with Dr. Gregg Kinzer, Dennis and Gregg really explore what it is like to establish yourself at a practice with an iconic dentist like Frank Spear. They talk about why partnerships can be both important and beneficial, and Gregg shares about the Spear Education program and his role in it. Don't miss this great discussion! 

More about Dr. Gregg Kinzer

From the Spear Institute website:

"Dr. Greggory Kinzer is a native of Washington State. He grew up in Walla Walla, WA and attended the University of Washington for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He received his D.D.S. degree in 1995 and his M.S.D. and certificate in Prosthodontics in 1998.

"Dr. Kinzer is a gifted academician and clinician and is considered an expert in restorative and esthetic dentistry around the world. His interdisciplinary approach to dentistry is founded in both empirical research and clinical experience. His unique ability to impart complex clinical processes in a logical, systematic and clear methodology differentiates him from other prosthodontists.

"For his entire career, Dr. Kinzer has been committed to furthering the art and science of dental education. He is highly recognized lecturer both nationally and internationally and continues to serve as an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the department of Graduate Prosthodontics at the University of Washington. In addition, he is the Director of Curriculum and Campus Education at Spear Education in Scottsdale, AZ., where he also resides as full time faculty."
Don't have time to listen?

Read the Full Interview Below

Dennis 0:02  
Hello, Dental Online Trainers. Dr. Dennis Hartlieb, back with you today for part two of my conversation with Dr. Gregg Kinzer. If you didn't get a chance to listen to part one of my conversation with Gregg, I encourage you to go back and listen. I think it's really interesting. Gregg talks about how he got into dentistry. And when he was in dental school, and was thinking about going into orthodontics, and actually did a pivot and ended up going into prosthodontics instead.

In that interview, we talked a lot about his experience in taking over Frank's practice. And I think it's really just a good way to get to understand Gregg's background and how he started got started in dentistry.

In part two of our interview with Dr. Kinzer, Gregg shares his experiences at the Spear Institute and what it's like working there and supporting Spear Education. If you're not familiar with Spear Education, then just Google it, and you'll see it is just an incredible resource for education -- both live, and they have some great virtual stuff.

You know, we talk a little bit about what it's like to establish yourself and your style when you're the new person in an established practice, you know, especially when you're joining a practice, like taking over for Frank Spear, for instance, that Gregg had to do.

We also talk about the importance of diversifying your training and continuing to learn so that we can stay relevant in our ever changing landscape of dentistry. So kick back and relax and enjoy my conversation, part two of my interview with Dr. Gregg Kinzer. 

Establishing Yourself in a Practice with a Mentor

Dennis 1:30  
Hello, Dental Online Trainers, Dr. Dennis Hartlieb. with you again and for part two of my conversation with Dr. Gregg Kinzer. If you haven't listened to part one, you need to go back and listen to Gregg's background, sort of how he grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, small town kid, and how he ended up in Frank Spear's practice and with the Spear Institute.

It's pretty cool information, so check that out. But now we're going to continue on with part two of our conversation. Alright, so Greg, I don't know if you know, but I took over practice for Buddy Mopper. I don't know if you knew that or not... Did you know that?

Gregg 2:06  
I did not know that. That's fantastic.

Dennis 2:10  
So I... when I took over for Buddy, and Buddy was super generous when I came into the practice as far as allowing me to do the dentistry that I wanted to do... My background was mostly in ceramics. And as I talked about earlier, I took a ton of lab courses where I was building porcelain and sitting with lab technicians. And when I sat down with Buddy, I told him, "Look, I'm no good at bonding." And for those who don't know Dr. Mopper, he was one of the original bond-a-dontists. In fact, his license plate says Dr. Bond.

And I would joke with Buddy, he could bond anything. And he pretty much tried to. But he was a real pioneer in direct composites. He was a pediatric dentist who started doing things well before most civilization did. And so he was a real pioneer. And I was really blessed to learn from him.

But it's not without challenges. And one of the challenges was coming into Buddy's practice. People want to see Mopper, and people did not want to see Dennis Hartlieb. And even though I'd been practicing for 10 years, when I came into buddy's practice, people didn't really give a care. They were there to see Buddy... They didn't... you know, who's this guy?

And so that was one of the challenges in the practice was gaining the trust of patients. And I'm wondering, did you go through the same thing when you came into Frank's practice? In spades?

Gregg 3:32  
Yeah, I mean, exactly the same. It's probably exactly the same. But the difference is you had 10 years experience. I'm fresh out of school.

Dennis 3:42  
But not doing great dentistry! 

Gregg 3:44  
But I'm fresh out of school. And I looked like I was, you know, a kid.

Dennis 3:49  
Yeah, you still look young. 

Gregg 3:51  
It was amazing... I mean, I looked so young back then. And, in fact, when we... when I came into the practice, and Frank was teaching classes, the class was like, didactic in the morning, and then in the afternoon, it was, we would do like exercises hands on, so I would help with that.

But I always made my way into the room in the morning with these 12 dentists. And Frank would introduce me, and go in there to grab a cup of coffee. And he always end it with you know, he's fantastic. He only looks like he's, you know, 25. He only looks like he's 18. And it got to the point where he said, I looked like I was 12.

And then I said, "Somebody is going in there to get coffee for me. I'm not going back on there!" So yeah, that struggle of how do you transition some patient? Because our practice was referral based, meaning that the patients that were coming in, were coming in for, you know, for Buddy or for Frank. And now how do you get them to see that new person? That's rough.

The only saving grace on it was Frank wasn't practicing much. So when I came in, this was '98, he was seeing patients, maybe 30 days a year, which means that you have a tremendous influx of patients being referred in and a guy that just doesn't have any availability.

So it wasn't a challenge so much because of that. It was a bigger challenge for patients that he had treated before that now had something happen, and they needed to see the new person. And that was a tough one until they got to meet me. But it was just... the initial transition was a challenge for sure.

Dennis 5:37  
How did you manage, with Frank's busy schedule, and, you know, life and everything? Were you able to still learn from him in your position as an associate in the practice? Did he have enough time? And I don't mean to put you in awkward position! 

Gregg 5:52  
No, it's a really good question. And, in all honesty, I ended up having to start running the practice before I was ready to run the practice, because it was just out of necessity. There was nobody there. And the staff had issues, and they need... So, I remember I would make lists of things. So when he came back, I was like that obnoxious, you know, person who would say, "Okay, I've got all these questions for you!" Some of them were clinical; some of them were staff.

So I had the luxury, though, of having Bob Winter in the practice. And Bob was actually there a lot. So Bob, and Frank and I all overlapped and worked together for about three years. So even though I didn't get a tremendous amount of clinical knowledge, let's say, from Frank, because he wasn't around as much, I got a ton of it from Bob. So Bob filled that need and that void. So I got it from Frank, but it was more in pieces. It was pieces when he was around, because he wasn't around all the time. So, yeah, I didn't get as much clinical from him. I got a ton of clinical from Bob. But Frank taught me how to think.

Dennis 7:01  
Well, that's what I was going to say. I mean, one of the things I really appreciate with Frank, from my experience with him, was more than just doing the dentistry is -- like you talked about earlier -- is how to have conversations with patients, how to talk to staff. I mean, Frank seemed to have a natural gift for that for being able to communicate. I still think he's the best communicator in dentistry. But I have to imagine just sort of experiencing that had to be somewhat valuable.

Gregg 7:27  
For sure. And I think what Frank has always done well is speak in the conceptual realm where you learn a treatment plan. And it's... As you know, it's not cookie cutter; there's not one plan that fits for every situation. You have to be able to think your way out of the box when you get pushed into a corner. But speaking to patients and speaking to staff, for sure. Frank has done a very good job. And so I've learned a ton about that piece from him.

But what's amazing to me is, you know, so you're in the shadow, right? You're in Buddy's shadow and Buddy cast a very big shadow. And people start to think of you as a mini him. But you're not, right? You have your own... your own style, and your own unique set of skills and gifts.

And it was amazing to see how when dentists came in, and they spent some time around me when they were doing their class, how there were numerous times where they'd say, "Wow, you're nothing like Frank!" I'm like, "Yeah, I'm not." I mean... I think he does great things. And I think he teaches very well, like there's things that I would love to emulate, but I'm not him. And I think having...

For me to have a separation, that I'm going to do things differently, not that they're better than him. It's just, I'm going to... I'm different, right? You're different. You're going to provide your own benefit to patients that's great. And it's just not Buddy.

Establishing Yourself in a Practice

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Check out this clip of Gregg sharing about his early days in the practice with Frank Spear!

The Challenge of Running a Practice and Supporting Continuing Education

Dennis 9:01  
Right! What's it like running the practice with also having all the responsibilities that you have at the Spear Institute?

Gregg 9:11  
Oh, running the practice now? Back in the day, running the practice was great because I had no financial obligation! I'm running a practice and not paying any bills.

Dennis 9:20  
That's how I like to shop.

Gregg 9:22  
That's the best way! I'll tell you you're... So now, with Spear Education being a big part of what I do, but also needing to remain relevant and current and be a clinician. That's a challenge. And that... Again, you spoke about the life balance of, you know, family, free time, work. Well, now I have family, free time, and I have Spear Education, and I have clinical practice and a staff. And that's rough. It's rough because your focus is... always has to be on one of those two things.

And I think the best thing that... I mean, I had an associate. I had Rouse come in, because Rouse and I were going to just... We were going to partner up. And we wanted to learn from each other. Jeff Rouse, we wanted to learn from each other. But in the end, we're like, we should actually just become partners. Right? This is kind of fun. Hard to do when you're in two different states and one guy is commuting to a different area!

Dennis 10:27  
Yeah, I talked to Jeff and I said, you know, if you're late for your afternoon patient, that's a little different than driving across city, right? It's like, my flight is late! I'm going to be a couple hours late for my for that, for that seating appointment.

Gregg 10:40  
It was a lot of fun to have to have him around. I mean, it... To me, it's reminds me of being in a grad school where you constantly get to talk about dentistry at a different level. And being in practice, I had been in practice, essentially by myself. Because Frank, his name had always been on the door. It's still in the door. But he hasn't seen a patient 10 years. But it's not a bad name to stick on your door for business.So I was... I'm just... I'm kind of overwhelmed with everything that's going on.

And I got remarried. And Jill had a practice for 20 years and Gig Harbor. And, you know, we live up near Seattle. And here we have two practices, two staffs, all the challenges that go along with running the practice. But oh, yeah, she's got a commute an hour and a half drive each way to get down to her practice. And we start calculating, you know, how much time she's spending in the car. And we're like, you know what we should do?

We should just join forces. We should... Come into my practice. And it'll be enjoyable, because we'll get to work with each other and learn from each other. It'll help cut our cut our busyness, our overhead, because it's one practice instead of two.

So that's been a nice change. We've been working together for almost three years now. 

Dennis 11:59  
Oh, I didn't realize that. 
And I think what Frank has always done well is speak in the conceptual realm where you learn a treatment plan. As you know, it's not cookie cutter; there's not one plan that fits for every situation. You have to be able to think your way out of the box when you get pushed into a corner.
Dr. Gregg Kinzer

How to Manage Responsibilities within Our Practices

Gregg 12:01  
Yeah, that's been very enjoyable for me. And it's, again, to be able to... It's just the energy level in the practice is different when she's there, when we're both there.

Dennis 12:12  
Oh, that's awesome. Well, I think so! I have a partner. You might know Chris Ching. Chris has been in my practice for close to a decade. And he came into the partner a little while back, and I was with Mopper for a bunch of years. And then as Buddy was leaving, Chris came in.

And I love the energy of having a second dentist in the practice. And then Mondays, I'm there without Chris. And for me, it's not the same. Part of it is Chris has an enormous amount of energy. And so that's great, because I don't! So, he has this infusion of energy, and that works really great at the staff.

And so, I love having that second person in the practice. I love being able to bounce questions off of them. I like being on walking into private office and slam my head against a wall and say, "I've got one of those days!" And they get it at a different level than any of the team members can possibly appreciate it. So, I get it. That's awesome. 

Gregg 12:17  
Yeah, it makes it so much more fun. Hey, come here, check this out. What do you think? What do you see? Do you see something? You know, trying in restorations. It's been a lot of fun.

Dennis 13:11  
Yeah. And I would imagine, then, for family life, it's got to be a lot less stressful with having, you know, the lack of commute, and for you guys then to be able to sort of work your schedule, so that you can also take care of family.

Gregg 13:24  
Yeah, a lot of people... I guess, I had heard like, Oh, be careful, be careful if you're working with your spouse, right? It's too much time together. But it's not! It's you know, we can talk shop in the car driving in, driving home. In the office, I mean, you're busy.

Dennis 13:42  
Right. You should be! 

Gregg 13:43  
So maybe we... maybe we eat lunch together, maybe we pop into the office. But we're there. We can hear each other, but we're not really in each other's business. But there is that energy and that knowledge that gets shared and the excitement. So it has been really nice. Having somebody else around is pretty fun.

Dennis 14:04  
Do you guys share responsibility with managing the practice? Or does one of you take more responsibility than the other?

Gregg 14:11  
Well... since it's my practice for so long, it would be my responsibility, but I give it to her. 

Dennis 14:23  
Well, that's what I do with Chris. 

Gregg 14:23  
It's terrible, right?

Dennis 14:24  
No, I think it's great. And, first of all, I think some people are just better at it, and my partner's way better than I am. And as an associate... And I did this with Mopper. I'm like, "Well, if I ran the practice, I sure as hell wouldn't do that; I can do this better!"

And you know, Chris wasn't wasn't openly like that. But you know, you could sense it. And so when the day came for Chris to buy in, "I'm like, here's the keys to the car. Try not to run off the cliff, and I will do everything to support you." And he's done a great job, and it's taken a ton of stress off my life, because he's dealing with all that other stuff. And I just don't love that other stuff. I love drilling teeth and bonding teeth.

Gregg 15:00  
It's... The other stuff is tough, and it brings no enjoyment to me. And what she brought in... I brought in some systems into Frank's practice, because he didn't have any systems in place, and the systems that I brought in... When Jill came in, she brought in all sorts of other systems, but she ran a really successful fee for service GP practice. And all of a sudden, she even brought it up another notch to create clarity, to create more efficiencies. And so, I mean, she went, "Can I make these changes?" I'm like, tell you what. You can pretty much do whatever you want. Just kind of tell me what you're doing, so I'm in the know...

Dennis 15:40  
So I'm not the last to know!

Gregg 15:42  
But I'm going to guess that what you're going to do is going to try to make us better and make the staff you know... It's to make it easier on everybody. So yeah, I don't, I will be a sounding board. And I will provide direction when it's necessary. But she does the heavy lifting.

Dennis 15:58  
Yeah, that's awesome. Congratulations. That's a big stress relief, I'm sure.

Gregg 16:01  
Yeah, for sure.
I love having that second person in the practice. I love being able to bounce questions off of them. I like being on walking into private office and slam my head against a wall and say, "I've got one of those days!" And they get it at a different level than any of the team members can possibly appreciate it. 
Dr. Dennis Hartlieb
Dennis 16:03  
So, how much time... I want to segue over to Spear Education. And so you, you're the director of curriculum, right?

Gregg 16:13  
I am the Director of Curriculum and Campus Education. Yes. 

Dennis 16:16  
So, does that mean you give the campus tours? Like we come in and we want to like...?

Gregg 16:20  
I can! They're going to be fun! If I give them, they'll be fun. 

Dennis 16:23  
Alright, well, let's get rolling. Let's do a campus tour. 

Gregg 16:26  
There you go. 

Dennis 16:27  
Alright, so what does... What do those hats look like? What's the director of curricula? So you are Jeff Rouse's boss! You're my friend Jim McKee's boss! Right? So, if I tell you that, you know, Notre Dame is, you know, an issue for me, can we do something about that with McKee? Because him and his Notre Dame stuff, it's just no good.

Gregg 16:48  
If you can control McKee, then you've got to give me the keys to that one. Because I don't know. Same with Rouse.

Dennis 16:54  
A&M and Notre Dame. And here in Michigan, we finally have a winning season. I don't even know how you can suffer these people! It's going to be awful. I hope you guys don't talk college football when they're around you!

Gregg 17:04  
I try not to because we're not so good right now. So I bow out of that conversation!

Dennis 17:09  
I'd avoid that topic at all costs.

Gregg 17:11  
So that role for me is... So one of the things that we need is... We're a very diverse educational company, meaning that it's not... When you build an educational company around one man, one person, the challenge is, you're limited in what you're able to do and the knowledge you're able to share. And if something happened to that individual, then the whole thing is done. And so what Frank did very early is he, you know, he brought me in, and he brought Bob in. And so we we brought in individuals that were extremely high caliber, right?

I've always said, if you want to be great, you surround yourself with great people. And I think that that's what we've done, right? With McKee, and Jeff Rouse, and Ricardo Mitrani. And so we have a phenomenal faculty. I mean, I couldn't say enough good things about all of these people.

But because of the diversity of what we do, we also have to have a hand on controlling our education. So we're all saying the same things, and we're all focusing on the same things. So you're not going to get a mixed message going from one class to the next. And that's a pretty fine dance, for sure.

Dennis 18:28  
Especially like airway TMJ. And you know, how all that falls in, outside of all the prosth and everything else that you guys teach!

Gregg 18:36  
Right, and then bringing in the digital piece. So my role is to help control the educational content, and who's doing what, and how are they doing it? Can I help make them better? Right? Can I give you some guidance as to how to make that content better, how to deliver it better, everything to become better at your job. But then it's also looking, you know, five years down the road... I think we always have to be looking far enough down the road that you don't become complacent in what you're doing now.

And then all of a sudden, somebody surpasses you. So it's getting the wheels in place to design, new content, different content, so that we continue to do this. And so that's... It takes a big amount of time. But it's so much fun. Because I don't, you know, I don't do it alone. I bring in... I bring in my faculty. I bring in Jeff.

You know, Jeff and I just put together, spending about a year designing a new type of content that's not being done. It's like, this is fun to be that far outside of the norm, and to think differently. So it takes a lot of time, but it's so enjoyable.

Dennis 19:48  
I feel like you've taken on your dad's role as principal.

Gregg 19:52  
Kind of! I actually haven't thought of it that way. But that's an interesting take on it. Yeah!

Dennis 19:57  
Kind of, right? You're making sure everyone is in alignment with the vision of the Education Center.

Gregg 20:02  
I'm going to have to have that conversation because my parents are coming up for Thanksgiving. That's an interesting topic. I thank you for shedding the light on that. That's fantastic.

Dennis 20:11  
I am sincere in that. I mean, I can't imagine, Gregg, how much time commitment there is to try and put all those programs together. Because you've got to see the programs, you've got to have been speaking with the faculty. And then you got to look at the whole global picture of it. And then making sure, like you said, that everyone speaking the same language... that students go from one class and say, Well, this is not... You know, you're getting, you know, not even different information, but conflicting information. That's got to be a super big challenge, I would think.

Gregg 20:41  
It's not as big as you think. And the reason is because we have great people with us. 

Dennis 20:46  
Oh, yeah. Okay, fair enough.
And so we we brought in individuals that were extremely high caliber. I've always said, if you want to be great, you surround yourself with great people. And I think that that's what we've done."
Dr. Gregg Kinzer

The Ways that Continuing Education Can Enrich Your Professional Life

Gregg 20:47  
And everybody brings something fantastic to the table. And I'm not going to micromanage them because these are amazing minds. But we just need to all be in sync, and we need to have the next thing.

I mean, you know, bringing in Jeff, to have the vision that airway is vastly important, it's here to stay, it's only going to become more valuable to know more, and Jeff being at that forefront... It's like, okay, the benefit of me practicing together with him was I got to see things completely differently than I ever thought of them before. Yeah, and all of a sudden, it's like, this is where we need to go with our education.

And, you know, Jeff and I just did, for our Spear Summit, we just did a presentation where... You know, you've heard frank talk about FGTP, Facially Generated Treatment Planning, right? And most treatment planning protocols revolve around that; use the face to determine where to put the teeth. That's where your starting point for treatment planning is.

And Jeff and I finally sat down because we've seen enough things together that we said, you know, it's not the teeth so much is it is the maxilla. The maxilla needs to be designed first, just like as we describe... It's the wax rim of a denture. You don't set the teeth. You get AP and transverse. Well, that's the airway piece.

And so our presentation was it's time for a paradigm shift. And that's before we can set the teeth, let's bring the airway in, see if there's an issue, and see what we can do to the maxilla if it's a problem. So again, it's thinking differently and taking what's been laid before us, which has been fantastic. But making it better; taking it to a new level.

Dennis 22:36  
And then I think adding the stuff that McKee talks about with joint health, right? That, I mean, that's where it all sort of comes full circle, right? Because you're talking about maxilla with the airway. But then you're talking about joint health with the growth of the mandible.

Gregg 22:49  
Yeah. And And again, Frank will tell you this. It's like you can only be an expert in so many things. So I think the benefit of Spear Education is we have... we're not experts in everything. I'm not an expert in everything. So find the people that are, and bring them in to your team. And all of a sudden, everybody gets better.

Dennis 23:08  
Yeah, I do remember listening to David Garber and Salama, and they were talking... I just happened to be like eavesdropping. And Garber was talking to Frank, I think, or maybe Salama. Someone was talking to Frank, and he said, "The problem you guys have is you guys are practicing in different locations in Seattle, whereas Garber and Salama, they were all in the same office." And so they could be like, "You chickenshit! Come on, you can do that! Come on, you can do that!"

And they really push each other, but truly having these like minds that can get together and look at how things can get better. That's what it's all about. And that's, and that's sort of how Seattle... I mean, Seattle is just sort of, you know, with Vince and Dave Matthews and all that stuff. That was sort of like the beginning of it. Right?

Gregg 23:56  
Yeah, I think... I mean, I have tremendous admiration and respect for what Frank has done. But I'll tell you what, Vince Kokich to me was the the ultimate educator. And I think that he had a huge influence on Frank's style and methodology on how to do that. Such a big loss, you know, when Vince passed away.

But you're right, I think interdisciplinary dentistry was really highlighted in Seattle by those individuals. You know, Frank and Dave and Vince really started thinking and talking as a team instead of as individuals working on the same patient.

Dennis 24:38  
Yep. Multidisciplinary, which is what I learned, and then to interdisciplinary. And if anyone has looked at Rick Rollee's book on interdisciplinary dental facial therapy, they should check that out because it's not even dated. I mean, it was published maybe, I don't know, a dozen years ago. I don't even know how long but...  

Gregg 24:54  
It's still relevant, though. Right? 

Dennis 24:56  
It's still relevant. Still a great book. I mean, we are so geeking out. This is like just a... I've got you in my Sharecast, a dental geek fest! Gregg, I want to... I want to finish up and I... What do people who aren't familiar with the Spear Education, what do they need to know? And I can't imagine there are people who don't know about it. But for those who don't know, what do they need to know about Spear Education?

Gregg 25:21  
Well, I think one of the misnomers that's out there that I'll just dispel right off the bat is a lot of people and I hear this, you know, through circles as well... All you do it at Spear Education is you learn how to do full mouth, right? That's it. It's like, "No, that's not it at all!"

It's... The reason why Spear Education exists is that we wanted to help dentists. That was our goal. That's our mission statement. And then the question becomes, well, what does that mean? What does that look like? How do you want to help dentists? So what we did is we asked dentists: what do you need help with? Right?

That's really kind of the how it came to be. And we heard very similar things from all dentists, the first of which was, I'm burnt out, I don't enjoy what I do anymore. I'm on the hamster wheel, a single tooth dentist bouncing from operatory to operatory. And it's like, I hate it, you know, Monday mornings, like crap, I've got to go into the office.

So we want to help dentists have more fun. And dentists want to make more money. So we want to help you become more profitable. And dentists also want to push themselves to be able to do things and offer things that they don't do and offer now, so seeing patients, and getting out of the single tooth dentistry to do more complex and comprehensive care.

So if you want to attain full mouth reconstruction, great, but if you want to just change your skill set, we're there for you as well. And the biggest idea would be, you know, we have courses that touch every piece of dentistry from treatment planning to occlusion to worn dentition, implants, composite joints, airway. I mean, it is a true curriculum.

But as a dentist, sometimes I just need a piece of information. I want to learn more on implants. Alright, so there's just... You could do that. And you could just do composite, or you could just... But the overall design of it is like a grad prosth program... a grad prosth program that you can take at your leisure, and do as much as you want. As opposed to sacrificing three years of your life and your time and everything that you've done to just focus in your program.

So, it's a wonderful educational opportunity to improve your skill set, to get you out of that single tooth realm. But then it's even more than that, because we have Spear study clubs, so you can learn the concepts and the thought processes at your own location, at home, right? Virtually or in person in your study club.

We have all of the online materials. So you may never step foot on our campus to do any of the workshops, but that's okay. Because everything we do has an online learning track.

We have things to help educate your patients, we have things to help your staff, we... I mean, everything that dentists, that you and I struggle with, we have worked hard to create solutions to make it better for you. Even practice management, software and consultants, that in real time, help you become a better business owner and business runner.

So I am so amazed at the people that we have kind of the conceptual people thinking outside of dentistry, like how can we help dentists other than clinical education? How can we help their staff? It's amazing. I'm so fortunate to be a part of it.

What Spear Education Has to Offer

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Listen in to hear how Spear Education serves the many different continuing education needs of dentists with both remote and in-person flexible learning plans.

How COVID Has Helped Us Rethink Our Practices

Dennis 28:59  
How hard is it to balance though between private practice and doing the Spear stuff?

Gregg 29:05  
Yeah, it's not easy. It's not easy, and it's... it pulls away from everything else, right? It pulls away from your time. And family time. It's ... yeah, it's tough because if I'm not here, I'm in Arizona. If I'm not working the practice, I'm in Arizona. And my schedule, I can look at it, and I know what it's going to be for the next year and a half, two years.

So yeah, it's interesting, Dennis. And maybe you had the same come to Jesus thought in your mind... During COVID, where everything shut down, the world comes to a stop. You have the ability now to reassess your life.
Dennis 29:47  
For sure. 

Gregg 29:48  
And you really maybe don't even know how hard you're pushing until you're no longer pushing.

Dennis 29:55  
You're the frog in the pot! You're the frog in the pot of boiling water; you don't know how hot the water is getting!

Gregg 30:00  
So when everything shut down, we were like, holy crap, we've got to change this. This is like... We're working too hard! It's too much stress! It's too much time! And so, we said we're going to change this when we go back in. I mean, we were... The Europeans do it right. Right? They take a whole month holiday. Here we had a month off, two months off. We should we should do this every year. Just take a month off! And then fast forward to today. And where are we? We're right back in that boiling water. 

Dennis 30:32  

Gregg 30:33  
But now I know it's hot!

Dennis 30:36  
Right. Yeah. No, I think that's a great point! Right? I mean, you have a chance to look back. And even though maybe you haven't made the changes that you need to make, you do know you need to start making those changes, right?

Gregg 30:47  
Yeah. So we're working on... You know, I can control the practice. I can't control the educational piece. So I can control the practice, but do it in such a way where I still get content, I still help my patients, but maybe I can do it, and have some more time for other things. 

Dennis 31:04  
Like your family. 

Gregg 31:06  
Yeah. Life Balance is tough.

Dennis 31:07  
Yeah. And with six kids, what's the age range on the kids?

Gregg 31:13  
23 to 15. 

Dennis 31:16  
Oh, wow. 

Gregg 31:17  
But I'll tell you this. So the the oldest two are twins, twin girls, one of which just started dental school this year at ULP. 

Dennis 31:26  
Oh, congratulations, wow!

Gregg 31:27  
And the other one is actually working in our practice right now. She's taking a gap year. And she's applying to dental school. So she's going around interviewing. So out of the six, right off the top, we're having to that will be in the dental world, which is super cool to me.

Dennis 31:44  
That's super awesome. That's really great. It's such a great profession. We're so blessed. I had no idea. I mean, I liked my dentist. And that's why I wanted to be a dentist. And I had no idea how rewarding and how much we could really help people. I just didn't have any idea. It's really such an awesome profession.

Gregg 32:01  
So it's neat to see the kids also resonate with that and see what we see in it and the things that we enjoy in it and want to kind of follow in that.

Dennis 32:09  
Yeah, and that you guys were... that you influenced them in a positive way. And you didn't scare them away from dentistry, but you've influenced them to come join you in the that we have. That's pretty cool. 

Gregg 32:18  
That makes it fun! 

Dennis 32:19  
Way to go! Yeah, congratulations. Look, Gregg, I can't thank you enough. It's, again, I've... Gregg and I have sort of like nodded at each other, and maybe a little wave and stuff. But I'm too awkward to come up and say hi to him personally. So this has really been great just sort of hanging out. I wish I could have had a glass of wine while we're doing this. But it was just too early in the day for me to do that, even though it is Friday! But I was thinking about it.

Gregg 32:44  
We just reschedule it, and we just moved the hours back and then we're sipping a glass of wine, and then the conversations will go in a variety of different ways!

Dennis 32:52  
That is sort of what happens when Rouse and McKee and I get together.

Gregg 32:57  
Those are the good conversations!

Dennis 32:59  
Oh, those are fun conversations.

In fact, you know, one last story is that I think I was talking to maybe Jeff about this... Yeah, I was talking to Rouse about this during our time together on our Sharecast... Back in the day I used to... the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry is held every year in Chicago; it's been going on for nearly 100 years. And used to be held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. And at the Drake Hotel in the basement, there used to be this bar there, Le Coq D'Or, the Golden Rooster, and me and my friends would go there, and we would just like wait on Friday night and Saturday night for Frank and John and whoever to come in to... You know, all these dignitaries in dentistry, and we would just sit there... Sitting, you know, drinking our beer, and looking at it all these famous dentists coming in and stuff. I was such a little dental nerd back then... I still am a dental nerd, but!

Gregg 33:51  
It's amazing to be around those people that you read their books, and you saw their lectures, and then there they are in person!

Dennis 33:59  

Gregg 34:00  
I still... it's amazing to me to go to the American Academy of Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry. Both academies are just stacked with these people that are just the pillars of dentistry. It's... you do! You geek out a little bit, get a little star struck!

Dennis 34:16  
Yeah. Do you know Ken Wallace Chesky at Marquette? He's a prosthodontist. That's...

Gregg 34:21  
I know the name but I don't know.... 

Dennis 34:24  
A prosthodontist about your age also. And oh, Mike Wazowski went to... was a UW grad prosth grad! 

Gregg 34:31  
That's how I know that name, then. 

Dennis 34:33  
Yeah, maybe 10 years ago, he might have... So anyhow, so Kenny, we had a an event last week celebrating the Milwaukee dental forum 100th anniversary, 100 continues of the Dental Study Club. And Ken is sort of a historian of the study club, and he got up, and he had had a couple of cocktails, and he told these great stories of back in the 70s being a grad prosth student, and going into these hotel rooms where Salenza, and all these, you know, Ranford, and all these people were sitting there like yelling at each other about different philosophies, the positions, and drinking. And he just told these great stories, and went on and on.

And it was just... It was like sitting around the campfire, just having the best time! 

Dennis 35:17  
That's awesome!

Dennis 35:18  
It was quite a night; it was so much fun. All right, Dental Online Trainers, I hope you don't mind this geek out fest that we just had. Gregg, I truly can't thank you enough for spending the time with us, especially with as valuable as time as these days. Thank you. And for those who are interested in learning more about Spear Education, they can certainly just Google Spear, but is there a best way for them to reach out to Spear?

Gregg 35:41  
Yeah, just go onto the website. There's all sorts of information there. And then, you know, we everything we do is has a virtual component. And we do have in person hands on workshops in a variety of ways. So hopefully, we'll see you cross paths at one point in time.

Dennis 35:55  
Now, are you guys up for your seminars yet? Or still COVID resistant to the big courses yet?

Gregg 36:01  
The seminars are the only piece that we haven't brought back yet. We have them, but they're a virtual. And people love the virtual because you get to stay home. And you know, you don't lose time from your practice, and you sleep in your own bed, see your family. So that's the only piece we haven't brought back yet.

How the Pandemic Affects Our Work Life Perspective

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Dr. Kinzer shares how the down time during the pandemic impacted his perspective on his work / life balance and changes he hopes to make in the future.
Dennis 36:20  
All right. Well, look, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you enjoyed this this conversation with Gregg. I absolutely did! I do want to know why you have two G's in your name. But I guess that's just... It's so good, you had to have a second g!

Gregg 36:31  
I was impressed that you actually... I saw it on this little recording where you had it spelled. And I'm like, "Wow, he's one of the only people that actually spelled it correctly!" So I was going to come in like, yeah, kudos to you, because that normally never happens. 

Dennis 36:42  
Well, I have a friend Tod, who only has one D, and his mom named him with one D because if one D is good enough for God, it's good enough for Tod. And so I just figured...

Gregg 36:51  
That's... I don't have anything nearly that clever to say! My parents just... I don't know. They gave me an extra G.

Dennis 36:57  
It's so good, I had to use an extra G. 

Gregg 37:01  
I'm going to use that. 

Dennis 37:02  
There you go. You're welcome. All right. Well, listen, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us. It's been a... It's been just a great afternoon talking to Gregg and, as always yours for better dentistry, I'm Dr. Dennis Hartlieb. We'll see you next time. 

Gregg 37:15  
Thanks, Dennis. 

Dennis 37:18  
Hey, Dental Online Trainers. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Dr. Gregg Kinzer. That was really interesting, the stuff that they're doing over at Spear Institute and all the stuff that Gregg has going on.

Now, don't forget that DOT has so many other great learning opportunities from our Wine and Unwind. These are our 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. In fact, you can go back and you can listen to these as they've been recorded. So, go back if you haven't had a chance; we've got some great interviews that I think you'll find really interesting.

Now we also have our monthly coffee and donut Study Club mentoring sessions. This is where our members bring in questions and bring in treatment plans, or I may have a case to share with the participants that I've been working on in my office. But these are real case situations, real live patients that we're talking about, and how we can help solve some problems for you and your practice and share from each other. Now we also have our live virtual workshops where we cover everything from treating the worn dentition...

As an FYI, our next one is coming up at the end of March 22 for our worn dentition, and to our full bonded resin veneers, to prepping teeth for porcelain veneers... So many topics that we cover in these live virtual workshops that you just don't want to miss! Of course we have our blogs that get great valuable information. 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. 

Also in 2022, we're having Dr. Jim McKee, who's an expert in TMJ. We're going to be loading some of his horses onto the DOT website. So you're gonna be able to get some really great valuable information on treating your patients who have TMD or TMJ issues. And okay, if you enjoyed this Sharecast, please share this with your friends and colleagues. And if you want to check us out more check us out at And until next time, I'm Dr. Dennis Hartlieb. Yours for better dentistry.

Dennis Hartlieb, DDS, AAACD

DOT Founder

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