The Survival Guide for Orthodontists


Are you an Orthodontist wondering how to grow your practice in this  fast-paced, competitive marketplace that seems to be changing every day? The Survival Guide for Orthodontists podcast is dedicated to making you the authority in orthodontics to prospective new patients in your community. Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, co-founders of People & Practice, know the business of orthodontics. They bring you insights, tips and guest interviews focused on helping you thrive in a massively disrupted industry. Put more patients in chairs by competing on expertise and trust, not the lowest fees.

How to Listen

The podcast audio files are uploaded on monthly. You can listen here or subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcast and Soundcloud to receive automatic notices when each new episode is available.


Episode 30 – Proposed New Tax Laws and How They Will Affect Orthodontists Income – Speaking with Brad Kucharo, CPA

In this 30 minute podcast we speak about selling your practice with financial expert Brad Kucharo from John McGill & Company. Brad has been a frequent guest of the show and is always ready to share his smart financial advice. In this episode, Brad talks about financial considerations for orthodontists in a number of different scenarios, especially what to expect with the proposed tax laws.

Episode 29 – Dr. Terry Sellke on Competing in a Disrupted Marketplace

In this podcast we speak with Dr. Terry Sellke, a board-certified orthodontist who has been practicing for 38 years. Dr. Sellke is an old friend of ours and he has been incorporating new technology and system enhancements into his practice for decades in order to achieve exceptional results while decreasing total treatment time. He retired from University of Illinois in 2006 as a Clinical Professor, Master Clinical, Co-clinical Director, and Master’s Thesis Advisor where he had been since 1970. He now teaches his The Bottom Line Practice Management Program and Clinical Orthodontics to orthodontists and their staff worldwide. In February 2022, Dr. Sellke is running a multi day seminar where he will teach his course exclusively to orthodontists in Aruba. You can find out more about the program here:

Episode 28 – Legal Advice For Orthodontists From AAO General Counsel Trey Lawrence

In this podcast we speak with Trey Lawrence, Vice President and General Counsel at the American Association of Orthodontists. Prior to joining the AAO, Trey practiced with a large law firm in St. Louis for about 15 years, concentrating in the areas of litigation and regulatory matters. We speak with Trey about the legal issues that might crop up while running your practice – some of them critically important to protecting yourself.

Episode 27 – We Talk to Kevin Dillard, Founder of Clear Blue Smiles

In this 30 minute podcast we speak with Kevin Dillard, who is the founder of Clear Blue Smiles, a direct-to-consumer aligner company that has solved a problem many orthodontists and consumers are concerned about: professional orthodontic oversight. Clear Blue Smiles utilizes an orthodontist in every case using Direct Monitoring to remotely monitor treatment. The most important point that Kevin stresses is that orthodontics is a complex biological process, and if treatment is not started and overseen by a professional you don’t know if it’s going to be safe or if it’s going to have a good outcome. In addition to serving as CEO and co-founder of Clear Blue Smiles, Kevin is a thought leader and legal expert in the industry. He served 18 years as an executive at the AAO as legal counsel.

Episode 26 – We Learn About Grin, a New Remote Monitoring Product

In this 30 minute podcast we speak with Dr. Adam Schulhof about Grin, the remote orthodontic monitoring company he created. Grin is a comprehensive digital platform that provides orthodontic solutions to remotely monitor all types of teeth straightening needs by connecting patients to real orthodontists in their community. This allows orthodontists to remotely monitor their patients for routine visits. Adam guides Grin’s orthodontic global vision, oversees appliance design, and spearheads industry partnerships.

Episode 25 – Selling Your Practice: Talking With Brad Kucharo, CPA

In this 30 minute podcast we speak about selling your practice with financial expert Brad Kucharo from John McGill & Company who is returning to the show as our guest. Brad talks about some of the things he looks for when an orthodontist approaches him asking if it’s time to sell. He not only assesses their financial situation but asks if they are psychologically and socially ready to retire after decades in practice.

Episode 24 – Talking With Sue Hanen About Hidden Practice Metrics to Improve Performance

In this 30 minute podcast we speak with Sue Hanen, an orthodontic consultant and life coach with more than 20 years experience. With extensive knowledge of the business of orthodontics, her focus is to create the certainty, clarity, and connection your team desires with sustainable operating systems.

Episode 23 – Talking With Chris Bentson About What’s Next For Solo Orthodontic Practices

In this 30 minute podcast we speak with Chris Bentson, a partner at Bentson Copple & Associates, a company that performs practice valuations, providing recruiting services, and negotiating transactions with both buyers and sellers. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Bentson Copple reSource, a quarterly newsletter focused on the business aspects of running a successful orthodontic practice. Chris has consulted with a thousand orthodontic practices during his 30-year career. We speak with Chris about the changes brought about in the industry since the pandemic first shut down practices across the country last year.

Episode 22 – Talking With Amir Abolfathi About How Technology Gives Orthos Control Over Production, Process, & Costs

In this 30 minute podcast we speak with Amir Abolfathi, the CEO and Cofounder of uLab Systems, developer of the next generation uSmile system that gives orthodontists control over treatment planning and processes while reducing their lab costs. Amir describes uLab Systems as a company that develops a suite of products for orthodontic tools: aligners, brackets and other hybrid systems. Computational power has increased exponentially, allowing orthos to now use a laptop computer to design treatments on systems like uSmile and then either send specs to the company’s manufacturing center or produce in-house with a 3D printer.

Episode 21 – Talking With Dr. Keith Dressler About Changes in How Our Target Audience Communicates

In this podcast episode, we invite Dr. Keith Dressler, CEO of Rhinogram, a cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant telehealth communications system, to talk about how the communication style of our target audience has changed.  We dig into how orthodontists need to adapt to speak with patients in the future with Dr.  Dressler. By evolving communication to partly virtual means orthodontists can increase profitability. Covid has made us all take a hard look at how we reconfigure our practices physically and our processes, providing a forced test case on going virtual.

Episode 20 – Talking With Brad Kucharo About Financial Advice For Orthodontists

Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein invited Brad Kucharo, a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner from John McGill & Company, to the podcast to give us some financial tips and advice for orthodontics. This is especially timely as businesses plan their end of the year tax strategies, the recent change in the presidential administration, and the ongoing effects of the pandemic, specifically for practices that took Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans in 2020.

Episode 19 – Talking with Joe Hogan From Align Technology

Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein invited Align’s President & CEO Joseph Hogan back to the podcast to talk about the future of orthodontics. Joe is adept finding opportunities for advanced technology to increase market share in the medical industry. He brought his expertise from the Healthcare division at GE to Align Technology. In this 30-minute podcast we speak to Joe about the digital transformation in orthodontics.

Episode 18 – Best of The Survival Guide for Orthodontists Podcast

In the past year and a half we have had over 10,000 downloads of our podcast. This month we are doing a “best of” episode where we feature a few highlights form our previous podcast episodes including great guests like Dr. Jonathan Nicozisis, of the Aligner Fellowship Institute; Landy Chase, president and CEO Ortho Yes; Mark van Weelde, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Dental Marketing; Chris Bentson, a partner in Bentson Copple & Associates; and many more.

Episode 17 – Talking With Stephen Kaufman, Attorney

During this 30-minute podcast episode we speak with Stephen Kaufman, head of the Wright, Constable & Skeen LLP healthcare law group. Steve discusses how orthodontists should approach new employment opportunities and negotiating contracts with employers. We also touch on the new legalities surrounding COVID-19 and take a question from a listener.

Episode 16 – Talking with Greg Pellegrom, CEO of SmileSnap

During this 30-minute podcast episode we speak with Greg Pellegrom, CEO of SmileSnap, a company that develops software for virtual dental consultations that integrates with your current workflow. We talk about how technology that promoted online, remote appointments provided a lifeline for offices and patients during the COVID-19 pandemic but also extends beyond this use to the future of orthodontic practices.

Episode 15 – Talking With Dr. Alfred Griffin III

During this podcast we speak with Dr. Alfred Griffin III, Founder and CEO of LightForce Orthodontics, a 3D printing, orthodontic insight and digital treatment company. Personalized healthcare is a trending topic in the medical industry and orthodontics is no exception. In this episode we touch on how to use LightForce to increase efficiency in treatment and customized care. LightForce is a technique more than a product and we discuss what makes it different.

Episode 14 – Talking With Amy Demas

We speak with Amy Demas, president of Communicate Excellence, about the importance of practice communication for your front office. In the new normal, best practices for communication are vital as your staff will be overburdened with new and current patients asking questions about scheduling appointments, navigating your practice’s changes to accommodate social distancing and safety, and transitioning from all virtual appointments.

Episode 13 – Talking With Joan Garbo

We speak with Jooan Garbo, a premier change agent for orthodontic practices. Over the past 30 years Joan has led over 2,000 seminars in effective communication and relationship skills, team-building, and customer service. She empowers dental teams in the areas of communication and leadership with her insightful and humorous presentations. Her high energy level and enthusiasm inspire people to action, giving them a renewed sense of purpose and the resources for motivation.

Episode 12 – Survival Strategies for Orthodontists During Coronavirus Crisis

Our podcast is a special one to address the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis and how it is affecting the orthodontic industry. Our industry relies on in-patient treatment to be effective – there is no getting around that. But we can help mitigate the impact it has on our patients as we practice safe social distancing and even temporarily close our offices. Part of that strategy includes telehealth technologies to help you continue to serve your current patients and even attract new ones.

In this podcast we talk about our strategies to help orthodontists get through this crisis and we speak with Dental Monitoring CEO & Founder Philippe Salah.

Episode 11 – Talking with Dr. Bill Layman

In this 30-minute episode we speak with Dr. Bill Layman about how to build an orthodontic practice that can capture the easy aligner cases and make them profitable through available in-house technology. Dr. Layman is a board certified orthodontist practicing in Clearwater, FL who advises practices on this very subject.

Direct to consumer aligner companies are spending $300MM annually on marketing directly to patients. As distasteful as that is to many orthodontists, they are creating a market – a desire among patients to get their teeth straightened. In this episode we discuss in detail about the printing technology to install in your practice and the cost factors involved to create a fully digital workflows that eliminates the need for impressions, reducing the reliance on outside aligner companies.

Episode 10 – Talking With Dr. David Sarver

We speak with Dr. David Sarver, an orthodontist with his own practice in Alabama, author of multiple books on the industry including a new release coming out February 2020, and a prolific speaker with over 400 engagements under his belt in the United States, Europe, Australia and the Middle and the Far East. He also played Division 1 basketball in college. Dr. Sarver talks to us about his unique take on building trust in a practice for both the young clinician and the established orthodontist.

Episode 9 – Talking with Landy Chase

We speak with Landy Chase, president and CEO Ortho Yes, an orthodontic business consultancy that specializes in training practices how to increase their start rates with effective and detailed procedures for all members of the office staff. He is also an author of five books on the subject, In this episode we speak with Landy about how your office can start more cases and improve overall conversion rates. The secret? It’s not improving the performance of your Treatment Coordinator but how the doctor communicates the value of treatment to prospective patients.

Episode 8 – Talking with Charlene White

We speak with Charlene White, owner of Progressive Concepts, an orthodontic practice management consultant with over 35 years of experience helping to improve practice performance. In this episode, Charlene gives us her advice on how she evaluates a practice and optimizes systems to improve efficiency and profitability.

Episode 7 – Talking with Mark van Weelde of DM

We speak with Mark van Weelde, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Dental Marketing (DM), a transformative medical technology company that allows patients and orthodontists to communicate remotely to closely monitor treatment. In this episode, we address the role DM can play in helping orthodontists compete with direct-to-consumer companies and how technology allows us to fill a gap in the marketplace providing the patient the convenience and speed they are looking for. We also address a concern of orthodontists that AI might detract from their role as a specialist.

Episode 6 – Talking With AAO Legal Team

In this episode we speak with Gianna Hartwig, State Affairs Coordinator, and Trey Lawrence, Associate General Counsel, from the American Association of Orthodontists legal team. During our discussion we tap into legal issues that are top of mind for many orthodontists and the AAO’s position on these matters as they battle the issues and provide support for orthodontists and the industry.

Episode 5 – Talking with Chris Bentson

We speak with Chris Bentson, a partner in Bentson Copple & Associates, a company that offers transition, valuation and training services for the orthodontic industry, and the editor-in-chief of Bentson Copple reSource, a quarterly newsletter focused on the business aspects of running a successful orthodontic practice. In this podcast we address with Chris how orthodontists can take the disruption in the industry and use it to their advantage by offering the same convenience patients are seeking at mail order alignment companies but with the added value of a one-on-one, full consultation by a qualified doctor. The secret is to embrace technology. We get into the nuts and bolts of what forces are affecting the industry and the tools available right now to help independent and small group practices beat the big box orthodontic companies.

Episode 4 – Talking with LeeAnn Peniche

We speak with LeeAnn Peniche about the techniques and efficiencies needed to run a modern orthodontic practice. Peniche is the founder and president of Peniche & Associates, a company that teaches orthodontists about the processes and marketing they need to excel in the business of orthodontics. In this episode we engage Peniche about her business philosophy and recommendations including topics like how to increase pure conversion numbers, assessing if a patient is open to virtual consultations, and the best way to implement limited treatment options into your practice.

Episode 3 – Talking with Dr Jonathan Nicozisis

In 2019, orthodontists are still graduating with an orthodontic degree having no knowledge on how to incorporate clear aligner technology in their treatment plan. Dr. Jonathan Nicozisis is a national speaker and educator who teaches about advanced techniques with Invisalign.

Episode 2 – Talking with Joe Hogan From Align Technology

Orthodontists have had a love/hate relationship with Align Technology for years. Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein invited Align’s President & CEO Joseph Hogan onto the show to have a frank discussion about where orthodontists specifically fit into Align’s business plan moving forward, past promises broken to orthodontists about marketing strategies for Invisalign, Smile Direct Club, and the future of orthodontics from a technology perspective.

Episode 1 – Introduction to The Survival Guide for Orthodontists

Are you an Orthodontist wondering how to grow your practice in this fast-paced, competitive marketplace that seems to be changing every day? Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, co-founders of People & Practice, bring you insights, tips and guest interviews focused on helping you thrive in a massively disrupted industry. Put more patients in chairs by competing on expertise and trust, not the lowest fees.