This month’s Partner Spotlight features Dr. Shale Chochinov, principal dentist at Norwood Dental Centre in Winnipeg, MB. We discussed what drew him to dentistry, what keeps him energized in his practice, and his advice for new dentists hoping for similar success.
Tell us about your journey into dentistry and how you came into practice at Norwood Dental Centre?
I had a great childhood dentist who always made my visits fun and exciting. By age 7, I was locked in and focused on a career path to become a dentist. After dental school and the completion of my general practice residency, I was asked if I would be interested in providing dental services to remote communities in Nunavut. It seemed like a great opportunity to explore Northern Canada, while at the same time providing much needed dental care, so I agreed. It was a decision I would not regret. I spent the next four years immersed in the Inuit culture and made many dear friends along the way. In 1995, a classmate of mine asked if I would be interested in purchasing his uncle’s dental practice in Winnipeg. As I had just gotten married, it seemed like a perfect time to return to home and settle down. In February of 1996 I purchased Norwood Dental Centre.
What excites you most about practicing dentistry?
As a dentist, we wear many hats so it’s hard to pinpoint what excites me the most. If I was to narrow it down, the first thing that comes to mind is the ever-evolving technology. I graduated in the generation where G.V. Black amalgams were the standard of care in dentistry. With the advent of modern technology, such as digital scanners and lasers, just to name a few, I can provide my patients with a much better dental experience and treatment options while at the same time making my job much easier. My patients energize me. . When you have practiced for as long as I have, your patients become part of your extended family. You celebrate their life successes and empathize with their losses. It is just amazing to watch each new generation walk through your doors.
How has partnership with dentalcorp impacted the way you practice?
I became a proud dentalcorp partner in 2017 (thank you, Nate Tchaplia!). With the stress of a future practice transition in the rearview mirror, I can now put all my energy into being the best healthcare provider I can be. I now have access to an array of resources which were not available to me prior to partnering. Whether it be the latest technology, continuing education, supplies, or logistics – it is all just a click of the mouse or a phone call away. The best example happened just the other day. My associate had some questions with regards to a root canal she was about to do on a patient. As I was not 100% sure on the right answer, I suggested she contact Dr. Gary Glassman, dentalcorp’s Chief Dental Officer, by email. Shortly after sending the message, Dr. Glassman personally called her back to answer all her questions. You can’t beat that!
What do you think has been the secret to your practice's sustained success?
I think the secret to my practice’s sustained success is what makes any business successful. Having a great working environment and providing team members the autonomy to their jobs without micromanaging them. Embracing technology to allow us to work smarter and not necessarily harder. And by delivering a great dental experience, treating all our patients with care and compassion, regardless of their situation.
What advice do you have for emerging dentists hoping for similar success?
Building a successful practice is like playing with Lego, it gets built one piece at a time. Take the time and get to know your patients, listen and make them feel important. If you treat your patients well, success will be easy. To this day, the biggest compliment I can receive is to have an existing patient refer me to a friend or relative. Our clinic’s motto is “everything good begins with a smile” and we have the tools to turn that smile into our business card.