TMD Issue 2 - Dr. Franklyn Aguebor "Practice Owner"
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
I have the pleasure of introducing my dental mentor and friend, Dr. Franklyn Aguebor (Dr. A)! I remember when I initially reached out to him while in college and told him that I was interested in Dentistry. From that day he has been extremely resourceful, helpful, and honestly an inspiration. If you're in the dental world, you've probably come across at least one of his comical dental videos on IG 😂. So not only is he a dentist, but he's also a creative. Let's get into it!
Dr. A completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia (GO DAWGS). Following that, he attended Augusta University – Dental College of Georgia, where he obtained his doctoral degree. Upon completion of his DMD degree, he ventured to the Big Apple (New York) for a General Practice Residency program at BronxCare Health System. Post residency, he worked as an associate dentist for several months, which inspired him to obtain his own dental practice sooner than later. He is now blessed to be the sole owner of a private practice, Smile Design Dental Studio, in Midtown Manhattan, NY.
1. Why did you choose the Dental College of Georgia?
They say the best dental school is the one you get into. This is true, of course, but other factors also play a role. Being a Georgia resident, I knew my tuition would be far less than if I chose to attend dental school out of state. Although I knew my degree would be a huge financial investment, I wanted to place myself in the best position possible to be successful once I finished school. The next, and probably one of the biggest benefits was location. I was close enough to home to see my family and get a month’s worth of homecooked meals. Although all this was important to me, what ultimately sealed the deal was the amount of clinical experience that the school provided. I’ve lived by the saying "practice makes permanent" and upon graduating from Augusta University – Dental College of Georgia, this proved to be true. I felt confident in my skills and competent in my knowledge by commencement day, ready to service the community and make a positive impact in my patients’ lives.
2. What was your experience as a GPR (General Practice Residency) resident?
Any experience in life, you have to take it for what it’s worth; learn from it and grow. That is exactly how I approached my residency program. Although I felt prepared to go into practice straight from dental school, I knew that a GPR program would only hone my skills further. Areas that I wanted to improve on, such as performing root canals and learning how to streamline the process of making dentures, were all made possible through residency. I soon realized that the more I practiced doing root canals, the more efficient I became at refining the craft. I found that in the world outside of dental school, the denture process is not as tedious and was able to embrace it. In addition, I enjoyed the cases I would receive while on-call, whether it was suturing head and neck lacerations, draining facial abscesses, or many more involved surgeries. Now that I am in practice at my own clinic, I enjoy all of these procedures, especially esthetic cases dealing with crown and bridge, veneers, and gum contouring. The value of a smile is priceless. The program itself was a majority, minority program. For the first time of my life I felt as though I was attending something comparable to an HBCU. We provided care to an underserved community which I was enthused about. Unfortunately, minorities receive the lowest rates of dental care and therefore suffer health related consequences. It was important for me to be in a program that served this population to provide education and care. The highlight of my residency program was being selected to attend a mission trip in Dominican Republic to serve a community in need. It changes your entire perspective when you see people in such need and the instant gratification they receive from any amount of work you do for them is everything.
3. What was it like starting a practice from the ground up? What advice would you give anyone considering starting practice?
I’ve been told that I made starting a practice from the ground up look easy; it wasn’t. The most challenging part was actually taking the risk to just do it. You can learn where to start and what to do by reading and seeking advice from others. It’s true when they say that knowledge is power. You obtain the knowledge but what are you going to do with it? So, I read up on how to start a business and contacted some mentors that could help in this journey. I took the risk of opening my own. The first 8 months, I was still working my 9 to 5 at other practices and would open my practice from 6pm to 10pm. I know it sounds crazy, but it worked for me. I wanted to make sure I had sufficient income to take care of the business, my employees, materials, equipment, and the many things that come with operating a practice. As we all are not perfect, I made mistakes along the way, but I learned from them. One important piece of advice for when you open a practice: It’s going to be hard to have your eyes on everything but you must be able to focus on the dentistry and the operations of your business simultaneously. Now I see myself as not just a dentist, but also a businessman.
I work hard because opportunity isn’t granted to those that do not put forth the time and effort.
4. Your social media presence is dope. Can you describe the process of coming up with the ideas you have and how you execute them?
Honestly, most of the time I wake up and have an idea. Immediately, I contact my videographer and see when we can bring the creative vision to life. The magic truly happens during the shooting of the content. In the room, all the creative minds bounce suggestions back and forth to enhance the original idea and we execute to create comedic content that paints dentistry in a light where it is fun and engaging. Through this profession, I also learned that I like to teach. Not only do I teach my patients and my staff my knowledge regarding dentistry, but I also utilize social media as a platform to educate the masses. I post dental quizzes regarding any procedures or cases I am working on, where I provide detailed explanations. Although my schedule is quite busy, over the time I’ve learned balance. I have amazing staff members that aid in making the task of operating a dental practice much easier. Dentistry is my passion, so whether I’m working or shooting videos, I am enjoying myself. I work hard because opportunity isn’t granted to those that do not put forth the time and effort. Nonetheless, my off days are my times to truly separate work from my personal life by traveling (which unfortunately is limited during these times), being around family, or exploring my surroundings.
5. How did COVID-19 effect your practice?
My practice is currently at its busiest point since COVID. We were closed for approximately two and a half months, but ever since we resumed operations, the practice has been busier than ever. We adhere by guidelines at this time and take all safety precautions in the office to protect our patients and ourselves. As a healthcare facility, health and safety are our top priority.
6. How do you feel your experiences as a minority have helped you with being a dentist and treating patients?
As a minority, I am beyond happy to have created a way for myself. I had the vision to be a dentist, to start my own practice, and I executed; for that, I am proud of myself for taking that first step, creating my foundation, and being motivated enough to take a risk despite anything that could hold me back. You are your own anchor if you choose not to make your way and push yourself to your full potential. When I treat minority patients, I can feel how proud they are as soon as we make eye contact when they walk into my office. I had many minority mentors that were by my side throughout dental school and after. I am thankful for that. I pay it forward because I believe you have to aspire to inspire. I pray that I am somewhat of a motivation to the youth or even those older so that they feel like they can shoot for the stars because the sky is the limit.
I pay it forward because I believe you have to aspire to inspire.
Do you have any questions for Dr. A?
IG: @iamdr_a & @smileddstudio
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