The Alimond Show

Dr. Christine Stang - Orthodontist & Owner of Stang Family Orthodontics

March 20, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Dr. Christine Stang - Orthodontist & Owner of Stang Family Orthodontics
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a transformational odyssey as we sit down with a seasoned orthodontist from Reston who unveils the riveting narrative of evolving from a dental school graduate at VCU to a successful private practice owner. Our esteemed guest shares the tactical choice behind acquiring an established dental clinic, infusing it with a unique flair, and steering a rebranding voyage that prioritizes exceptional patient care. Glimpse into the delicate artistry of balancing the roles of a business owner, educator, and parent, while also eyeing future pursuits like educational contributions and possibly advocating for Spark Aligners. Whether you're a dental practitioner dreaming of your own clinic or simply intrigued by business sagas that harmonize professional ambition with personal life, this episode promises rich insights and heartfelt storytelling.

Delve into the kaleidoscope of parenting, marketing mastery, and the underestimated value of orthodontic treatment in children's health. Our conversation highlights the symbiotic relationship between nurturing a flexible work environment and fostering family connections, including cheering on our kids as they discover their sports passions. Marketing strategies range from traditional in-person engagements to leveraging the power of social media, all to cultivate trust and nurture community bonds. As we conclude, we underscore the life-changing impact of orthodontic work, from enhancing speech to overall quality of life, ensuring our talk leaves you with a profound respect for the field of orthodontics and its artisans dedicated to the craft.

Speaker 1:

What made you move from Steven City out to Root Falls so?

Speaker 2:

I mean overall, I've been in private practice at North Adonis for almost 12 years. But I have left Steven City to go to college, went to JMU, did my dental training everything actually at VCU. So I did all my education, higher education, state in Virginia, and then after residency I practiced for a couple years at multiple offices. So I was an associate for about two years and that was honestly like another two years of school. It was an incredible experience to be able to see so many different offices operate, how their teams operate, how they treat their patients.

Speaker 2:

And then you know, after a couple years, my husband and I we got the opportunity. I purchased a practice in Reston and I had met my husband at JMU. So we kind of always wanted to come back. And I just remember have so many fond memories of Reston. Growing up in Steven City I felt like a pseudo Northern Virginia local, Went to the town center all the time growing up for fun winter events. But the opportunity came up and I bought a practice from a retiring orthodontist about 10 years ago almost 10 years ago Now I've been in private practice so we've been loving it. So, yeah, that's what brought me brought me back to Reston.

Speaker 1:

I love that. So what made you decide to buy a practice versus start your own from scratch? Like what is that?

Speaker 2:

That's yeah there is a lot of thought that really goes into okay, like I'm making a decision that will set up the foundation for lifelong career. You know which path to you want to take. And for me, I really actually had spoken to my colleagues. You know quite a bit my co-residents that I graduated with. We all really stayed in touch and got to hear from them all of their various experiences on what we all did after graduating. And I really found that the ones that had been able to purchase an existing practice, so they at least had some foundation of patience, of a community support around them, and that was kind of really meant a lot to me, instead of kind of starting from scratch and being, you know, the total brand new business, brand new entity, to kind of step in and take over a needed role to fill in a community just kind of resonated with me. More Got it.

Speaker 1:

So this is more of like that was your comfort zone and a higher rate of success, exactly.

Speaker 2:

I mean, or it was just to me, it was just really a good feeling to be able to have that position of taking over for someone who was retiring, who had served the rest in community for you know 40 years or so. Wow, and I was able. I mean it was a small practice, I was able to purchase the practice but kind of take it over as well and rebrand it to myself and my team and my personality. But did have that base there and you know local dentists that had already been familiar with the practice in the area and the doctor, and so it was. It was to me a good transition.

Speaker 1:

I was going to say was that hard? Because you're coming in, you look edgy with your cute jacket and you're like young and fresh and if you took over for somebody who was 40 years, I'm going to guess that they were on the older side where they did kind of exit. How was that transition?

Speaker 2:

You know, we just kind of hit the ground running. My husband and I were super excited to take it on and we really just had the chance. We were able to put our own personality on it, put my own personality on it, and just as long as you keep in mind that the patient care is the ultimate priority, you know everything else starts to kind of shift and be put into place. But yeah, it was kind of fun to be able to put my stamp on it. For sure I love it, I love it.

Speaker 1:

Thank you, thank you. What's your future plans Like? Are you going to just? Are you going to keep this practice? Are you looking to expand in the future? So?

Speaker 2:

I totally love my practice. So, yeah, staying family orthodontics and rest in and I currently don't have plans to expand into, you know, various locations. I'm the only doctor there and for now that that is what is working for me, that is what I love and gives me my everyday passion, and I do adore my team and my patients. So, growing in different ways you know what I would I'm kind of trying to shift a little bit of priority to education, so myself taking on a role into teaching and educating my peers, but also, you know, the general public.

Speaker 2:

There's a lot of advertising for orthodontics, you know, direct to consumer type, where you can potentially skip over the specialist. So that's going to be a shift in my priority for sure is, you know, to be more involved in the teaching and doing TikTok videos. We are, we are definitely doing some more TikTok videos, instagram, you know, social media type, overall education, and I've actually become a speaker for a clear liner company, for Spark Aligners, so doing like local speaking engagements in the DMV area, and then we'll be speaking actually on California next year. So that's kind of a super fun, exciting shift that I think my and my whole team is pumped for. It too. They're excited to be on board. That's exciting.

Speaker 1:

So tell me about what do you? What do you do outside of growing this amazing practice?

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh. So I have an awesome family. I have two kids, two boys, and you know, being a mom and being a business owner, it's all just kind of you got to figure out how to, how to work it all in and and time, manage but have a ton of fun with my family. Of course they're a big priority and you know, I would say I really do just pour my, my heart and soul into the practice as well. And to my patients, I mean they, they're everything to us for sure, that's great.

Speaker 1:

Do the voice play sports or anything?

Speaker 2:

Yes, we're trying lots of different things this year too. So I have a five year old and a seven year old. That's the right age, yes, where you're trying it all. So we have tennis going, soccer, baseball, flag football, lacrosse, so that's a lot, of, a lot of a lot of activities. We're like let's just try it all and see what sticks. And you know, it's fun for my husband and I to be able to kind of watch him the sideline and, you know, see your own kids try and find their own path and their own way and what they enjoy.

Speaker 1:

I totally agree, and as your husband a business owner as well.

Speaker 2:

He is not. He is not, he is a scientist actually. Oh very cool, yeah. So he's a chemist, he's a PhD chemist and he actually works in a pharmaceutical company. So it's kind of interesting how the different, totally, totally different perspectives at home, for sure, but I was going to say and it's probably nice, you probably have.

Speaker 1:

I don't know, maybe this is untrue, so correct me if I'm wrong you probably have a lot of freedom and flexibility in your schedule at least where you can say this time I need off, this time I need to. That way you can kind of manage.

Speaker 2:

Yes. So I think you have to a little bit be flexible and I try and impart as much flexibility as I can as well for my own team members that you know things come up. We all have family priorities, different, different obligations, so that is definitely a great perspective of being your own business owner is being able to, you know, block certain times if you absolutely need it.

Speaker 1:

I totally agree, that's what I love is being able to have a team who understands when I'm like, hey, I'm going to be yes exactly, and I try to best be mutually understanding too. Exactly so in terms of like growing and working with your patients. How are you handling your marketing Like? I know you're doing educational stuff on social media. But what are some?

Speaker 2:

other things. Marketing is so diverse. You know, when I first took over the practice and obviously, like I said, kind of rebranded it as my own, I really spent like two years doing almost like the old school marketing and like going door to door to dental offices, other specialties that you know pediatric dentists that may be able to send patients my way mostly to try and establish that connection of trust so we could more easily share patients. So that was such a big priority for me Still is, just in different ways. And now we've taken those referrals and connections and built upon those and for sure gotten into more social media marketing. But also we do a lot in our community.

Speaker 2:

You know I support the local schools, you know as much as I can, whether it be sponsoring events or making contributions that they have a specific need. So that is probably one of the most fulfilling things, is really lifting up the community. There's other organizations my whole team we volunteer at women giving back is something that we have been a part of and helping them. And Cornerstones is actually a local rest in organization that I specifically have a partnership with and offer a free case of braces to one of the family members or the children in their program. So it's just so many different aspects to marketing and it's all about the patients and really building that trust through connections.

Speaker 1:

Isn't it great, as a business owner, that we can create that community and give back in ways that I know. When I was an employee I couldn't Exactly. Now we can like, oh yeah, we can get back in our community.

Speaker 2:

It is super fulfilling for myself and the team to be a part of this and really see, you know where we can kind of spread the love and you know that's kind of thing always feeds your soul for sure.

Speaker 1:

Who were you as a little girl, seven year old, sort of of you, oh my gosh, I went through many evolutions.

Speaker 2:

Sure, my family, will you know, echo that sentiment Went through many evolutions. I would say curious for sure, but strong-minded 100%. As a kid, and yeah, I mean, I was one of those kids like I wanted to be a dentist at 15. Yeah, I was like this is it? I love teeth spit doesn't gross me out, you know, let's do this, so it-.

Speaker 2:

The qualifier is just yeah, exactly, yeah. No, I do give a lot of talks, so like the kids for career days and this and that, and that's typically one thing I like to say, like, if teeth and spit don't gross you out, hey, like this team might be able to be a dentist. Yes, exactly so. Yeah, I mean just kind of curious and just kind of wanting to learn.

Speaker 1:

For sure, that's fine, though that you knew by the age of 15 that you were determined to be a dentist.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I know, it was kind of A little stubborn girl just went through it right, yes, and then I was able to actually get my full round of braces a little bit later. I was late high school and into early college. And that, like it really did, it gave me the confidence boost Like I didn't even know I needed and I was like whoa, like that, really it transformed my face and I was like, okay, well, dental school is in the works and you know, let me just do everything I can. I want to be that role in other people's lives, like to be a part of that transformation, to that kind of really set that tone for sure.

Speaker 1:

It's gonna say why, and you just answered it, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Perfect. Yeah, it was a very much of a transformative experience and now on a day to day myself and my team to be able to witness that, whether it's a seven year old or a 77 year old, that's like been waiting to do something for themselves. It's very, very satisfying, for sure.

Speaker 1:

I used to work at a hospital as an EKG tech in college and I remember seeing like an 80 something year old woman with braces on. Oh yeah, and I remember when I saw it I was like good for her, exactly exactly.

Speaker 2:

I think there was an article in it was like some reputable journal, that was like adult orthodontic treatment the fountain of youth. It's like you instantly feel younger. Yeah, well, in fact she still had all of her teeth. I was like oh, that's you.

Speaker 2:

You're right, that is absolutely huge. So, yeah, I mean so many adults. They don't think it's for them. And then there's no surprise here, all of our options, too, is not just traditional braces. There's behind the teeth braces, clear liners. There's so many things that you can do to boost that smile, especially with your teeth. The shift in virtual work that really was an eye-opener for so many adults to see themselves on the screen Like I never noticed. My teeth really looked like that. So that was a really neat and interesting thing that came out of the pandemic was-.

Speaker 1:

You probably heard that when the adults come and they're like any braces Do, you ask them. What makes you believe you want braces oh?

Speaker 2:

yeah, that's always my first question, especially for adults in particular, because I wanna make sure that we're customizing their treatment plan. It's very different, I think, when an adult comes in for treatment versus an adolescent kid coming with their family. I really wanna hone in on what is their priority because, while as a specialist I see the big picture and I would love to treat every case to textbook, to a T, but that's not every adult's reality. They really might want just certain things changed, and so I really make it a very much of a point at the initial consultation to hone in right at the beginning is what is it that you see that you wanna change in your mouth? So that's kinda how we start the conversation.

Speaker 1:

I was gonna say what's your process? What does it look like when somebody's like I think I need braces, then what happens? Sure, your father dentist says that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it might be their dentist that sends them over, that sees something it could be to have to do with their bite or crowding, making it difficult to keep things clean, or they find us online based on reviews, things like that. So they come in. Our initial consultation is free, it's complimentary, and you kinda feel the love when you come in. You meet my administrative team, who's fantastic. You get a tour of my office and then we sit in a private consultation room and we get initial photographs of your teeth and then do a clinical exam and then we get into more of the conversation of it. What is their priority? Either a parent with a child or themselves as an adult? And then we go over their options appliances, braces, aligners behind the teeth. We do, even though I'm a specialist office, we have a lot of tools that we can use. So people really do like that that they have the options. I mean think every adult appreciates options Options, exactly exactly.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's great, yeah, so in terms of kind of looking out in the next five, 10 years, what are you hoping, the type of impact you're gonna make?

Speaker 2:

Sure, that's a really great question, or these are making. And then what are we gonna do? You know, we I always want to be the best part of our patients day. That is a huge priority for everyone on the team and, as I mentioned, the future impact is like the educational component. It's really everyone is consuming information in such different ways now and to be a voice of research-backed education would be so super satisfying and, I think, allow patients to make really good decisions for themselves. I mean, I've had many consultations come in that have been guided into a do it yourself straighten your teeth and they have lost teeth. They have had to now reinvest lots of money to correcting what couldn't be corrected without the guidance of a specialist. So that's what I think myself and our whole specialty is kind of all about is patient awareness and education, so being a part of that knowledge you know, I love it.

Speaker 1:

That's great. If you had one last question, if you had one message to the world oh gosh, the pressure's on, but would that message be?

Speaker 2:

It is just never too late to get that feeling of that smile, looking back at you and loving every detail of what you see back in the mirror. For sure it is never too late. And I always say you know the aesthetics, the side effect of the aesthetics, of orthodontic treatment is the side effect, but the ultimate goal is to get the bite to fit together and that's what will give you ultimately like the healthiest bite moving forward and that's where you get the smile from.

Speaker 1:

Which I learned, just as I know. Oh yeah, that good bite affects more than just being able to chew.

Speaker 2:

Well, yes, like each articulation is a big one for kids in particular. You know we see kids as young as seven to eight years old, and some of them it might be they're having a speech, discloency and the teacher's concerned, and then we find that, you know, maybe the shape of their upper jaw or the way their teeth are overlapping is not allowing for proper tongue position, air flow, things like that. So it's really neat how we can kind of tackle various discrepancies in a relatively simple way.

Speaker 1:

I was going to say I have all just from your.

Speaker 2:

Yes, exactly, and we make it as fun as possible. We do our best for sure that's awesome.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for being on the show. It was great learning from you. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 2:

What a treat, thank you, thank you.

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