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dental careers and practice transitions dental careers and practice transitions

"All in the Family"

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There are few things more powerful than the influence of family. Many people develop deep-rooted, lifelong principles, opinions or interests that were shared and passed down from their family members. It could be fanaticism for the hometown sports team, an obsession with a certain genre of music, or a love of working on classic cars. For Dr. Stuart Levy, it was dentistry.

From the day he was born, Stuart Levy was surrounded by dentistry. For starters, his dad was a dentist in their hometown of Cincinnati, which is a big hint at things to come. He also had two uncles that were dentists and even an aunt that was a hygienist. Simply put, dentistry was a family affair.

But Stuart didn’t simply listen to his family discussing work at the dinner table; his experience was much more hands-on than that. As a child, the future Dr. Levy would often perform his own little procedures at home with the help of his father. “My dad was definitely my biggest influence growing up,” Dr. Levy said. “He would often bring home some of his simple lab work and show me how to do it. He taught me how to do wax-ups and cast gold teeth, just to name a few. It was a unique activity that most kids would never have the chance to enjoy, and I really got a kick out of it.” Talk about a jump start into a dentistry career.

Despite all this however, Dr. Levy was surprisingly not sure about pursuing a career in dentistry after he graduated high school. He had always figured he would become a dentist, but now, with the whole world in front of him, he found himself wanting to explore other options. One thing he knew for sure though – he loved the sciences. And though not yet committed to dentistry specifically, the health sciences called to him the loudest, and he enrolled in a pre-med program at the University of Indiana. During his studies, Dr. Levy considered several medical career choices that interested him. But in the end, his family ties to the dental field won out and he ultimately decided to become a dentist, just like his father.

Dr. Levy earned his dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 1986 and then completed a one-year Advanced General Dentistry (AGD) residency program. “It was the first program of its kind and I was in the first class ever offered,” Dr. Levy said. “I felt kind of proud of that, and I learned a lot that helped me greatly as I began my career.”

After completing the residency, Dr. Levy joined his father at his private practice in Cincinnati. They worked alongside one another for the better part of a decade until his father retired in 1997 and Dr. Levy took over. “It was a bit surreal to take over the practice my father had built,” Dr. Levy said. “I had spent my whole childhood learning about dentistry and visiting the practice, and now it was in my hands.” But before long, Dr. Levy and his staff had outgrown the space. In 1999, they set up shop in a bigger practice in a better area, and included a lot of modern technology that had been missing at the old practice. The impact was immediate and they have been humming along successfully ever since.

This new growth and success was wonderful for Dr. Levy and his staff, but it came with its own challenges. A larger number of patients in a higher traffic location had made the whole process of running the practice more difficult and time-consuming. Dr. Levy found himself dedicating a lot of time to paperwork on top of seeing patients, and often had to stay later than he would have liked. He was also approaching the renewal of his long-term lease on the practice. Dr. Levy was nowhere near ready for retirement, but he also didn’t want to renew the lease and be tied down should his plans ever change. Then in mid-2014, Dr. Levy received an email from Midwest Dental and decided to investigate.

Slowly but surely, things started to progress. “My discussions with Midwest Dental were helpful and informative, but never rushed, which I liked,” said Dr. Levy. “I never felt pressured to make a decision or concede anything that was important to me. I think Midwest Dental knew and appreciated what a big decision this was for me, and they were more than happy to let me take my time with it.” After about 18 months of conversations and fine-tuning, Dr. Levy was satisfied and happily partnered his practice with Midwest Dental.

Two years in, things are still going great for Dr. Levy. “Midwest Dental has proven to me time and again that they were the right choice,” said Dr. Levy. “I told them what was important to me and they listened. From the beginning, they’ve let me run the practice my way and placed no quotas, requirements or deadlines on us. My staff were given ongoing career opportunities and Midwest Dental even invested in some new, modern tech. Basically, I wanted the transition to be seamless and not turn my practice upside down. Midwest Dental delivered.”

Another perk Dr. Levy has enjoyed is peace of mind. “Owning a private practice is like a house of cards,” he said. “If something had gone wrong, the whole practice could have collapsed, and my livelihood with it. But Midwest Dental has the tools and resources to fix any such problems and keep us all taken care of. Not only that, but they gave me a very generous price for my practice. It felt good to cash in for that value instead of risking depreciation and losing out.”

So what’s next for Dr. Levy? “For now, I just want to keep practicing dentistry,” he said. “I have a lot of years left under my belt, and since Midwest Dental has allowed me to keep practicing as long as I want, I have all the time in the world to figure out where I want to go from here.”

One thing’s for sure, Dr. Levy has no doubt made his family proud.