This January, we welcomed Dr. Chris Hoffpauir to the MB2 Dental Partnership Organization with his practice, Winning Smiles Family Dentistry in Alvin, Texas. 

Dr. Hoffpauir is a well-respected figure in the dental profession. He is involved in several dental organizations as well as the recipient of many awards, and currently serves as president of the American Dental Association, 9th District. Dr. Hoffpauir is also known for his Facebook group and website “The Business of Dentistry” (TBOD) and “The Dear Doc Podcast” where he interviews other dentists and dental professionals. From the TBOD website:

“The Business of Dentistry is a Facebook group started to facilitate discussions about the practical aspects of management and ownership of dental practices.”

When we interviewed Dr. Hoffpauir the week he first partnered with MB2 in January, he was relieved to have a support system to alleviate the headaches that accompany private practice. 

“If you’ve been an owner for any amount of time, you know the hardships that come with being an owner. You’re constantly thinking about your office, you’re constantly thinking about how to take care of your employees the right way, or who’s going to pay for the air conditioner that just went out,” said Dr. Hoffpauir in January.

“It’s really exciting for me to know that I have a partner in this now. Someone I can rely on, someone who’s got my back whenever the unexpected happens. Someone to make those undesirable things about dentistry to go away.”

But when Dr. Hoffpauir first decided he wanted to find administrative support for his practice, he was hesitant to speak with any larger groups.

“A lot of times on the message boards, on Facebook groups and Dental Town you hear about these horror stories with corporate dentistry,” said Dr. Hoffpauir, “That scared me off for a long time from talking to any of these DSOs. For a long time after I decided that I might want to have some sort of administrative help in my practice, I really was adverse to the idea of talking to a DSO at all–honestly until a few friends mentioned MB2 and their experiences with them.”

“My experience so far has been really amazing and it’s put to rest a lot of my worries about the whole idea of corporate dentistry. Let’s face it, you hear the words “corporate dentistry” you kind of get an icky feeling inside. It’s something that makes your skin crawl, for a lot of us, but it doesn’t have to. Because if it’s done in the right way, in the responsible way, it’s not only good for you. It’s good for your patients. MB2 is like no other DSO I’ve ever heard of. Their goal is just to make your job easier.”

Since Dr. Hoffpauir joined MB2, a lot has happened in the world. But in spite of all odds being against us in the dental profession, Dr. Hoffpauir was able to purchase his second practice in Alvin, Texas with the support of MB2. On June 30, Dr. Hoffpauir officially signed the paperwork to acquire his second practice, Alvin Dental Care. We were able to catch up with Dr. Hoffpauir to discuss his experience since joining MB2 six months ago.

What was your experience with MB2 in the partnership leading up to COVID?

Whenever I partnered with MB2 it was shortly before the coronavirus entered our lives. Before it came to the United States. Throughout the entire experience one of the things that really shocked me–because I didn’t really know what this partnership was going to be like, I didn’t know how it was going to work–what shocked me was the fact that I had no problems getting PPE like everyone else I was talking to. Heck, even the ADA was having issues getting N95s and KN95s. But all I had to say was, “Hey, I need this,” and in many instances, they would reach out and say, “Could you use some more masks? Hey do you have a protocol for this?” and they would offer that to me. But the part that I thought was the greatest, was it wasn’t intrusive. It wasn’t like, “Hey, this is how you’re going to run your show.” It was still my office and I was still doing all the things I was doing before, but I had someone I could lean on. I had someone I could reach out to if I had problems. I think that was probably the best part of this experience is knowing someone had my back.

mbdental solutions blog dr chris hoffpauir

How did you come to acquire your second location?

It’s crazy how much dentistry has changed recently. We’ve all gone through this coronavirus and, depending on where you live, you were all forced to close for a month, maybe two months. It hurt a lot of us and it stripped our savings. Because I partnered with MB2 before coronavirus, I actually came out of this in a very strong financial position. And I was able to leverage the fact that I was debt free, as well as my relationship with MB2 as a partner and I was able to purchase a practice in town from a doctor who basically said because of corona he was calling it quits. He didn’t want to practice in this kind of environment anymore. I’ll be honest, I never thought of myself as a multiple practice owner. It wasn’t on my radar, but the support that I get from MB2 whenever I need the help and I reach out to them has made ownership so much less of a hassle. It’s made it less of a hardship, and I’m really excited and I’m signing papers on my second practice today. 

What advice would you give to young dentists?

A large part of that is clinical and a large part of that is business. When I first got out, the popular advice to give was basically “Do good work and your business will grow.” That advice is wrong. Patients no longer are loyal to their dentists. Today, you need to understand how to run a business. You need to understand how to control your costs. You need to understand how to advertise when to advertise, what the return on investment is for advertising. You need to understand complex procedures. You need to go beyond what they teach you in dental school. And frankly, you need good partners. If you’re looking at starting a practice–awesome. Be aware that it’s going to be one of the hardest, most frustrating, and yet most rewarding things in your life. If you build it, and you grow something beautiful, hopefully, one day you will be lucky enough to find a partner who will want to enter into that business with you, and make your sometimes-nightmare more of a dream. 

What is something special about your practice?

I grew up in a small town in Louisiana called Milton, just south of Lafayette. It was all about home and community and friends and family. All of my family still lies there. So when I moved to Texas I tried to find a place that has that same soul. And I found it here in Alvin, Texas. Home town of Nola Ryan. It’s close enough to hold the amenities I want. If I want to drive 20 minutes I can have the best restaurants and hospitals in the entire world. But at the same time I can walk to my practice and get to live in this beautiful area with all these wonderful people. That hometown feel is important, and as a dentist I feel like it is part of our obligation that we uplift those who are around us and we support our community. I’ve always felt that charitable giving was an important part of what we do. So every year, I give away between $50,000-$100,000 worth of treatment for free. It’s just part of the blessing that we get to enjoy because of what we do. I was really worried because I partnered with MB2 and I sold part of my practice. You hear horror stories about these DSOs coming in and being the evil corporate overlords and telling you what you can and can’t do. So I was nervous having this conversation with Dr. V. I said, “Hey look, I like to give away big cases every year.” And his response was amazing and a bit shocking to me. I wasn’t prepared for it. I was prepared to have to argue my points and tell him why it was the right thing to do and what I got back was, “Hey that’s fantastic. How can we help? That’s going to be great for your community and it’s great advertising too.” I don’t think that there are a lot of companies out there that you can partner with that will truly seek to understand the soul of your practice, but MB2 is one of them. 

What has your experience been like with MB2 from a clinical aspect?

One of the questions a lot of doctors have whenever they are thinking about selling to a corporation is “Is the quality of my work going to suffer?” A lot of corporations insist that you use certain materials or that you use certain labs, and I won’t lie to you, those opportunities to save in cost are there. Because MB2 works out some really fantastic deals with vendors and with labs and they partner with them. But my one really, really shiny, happy moment was–and all of us are like this. We’ve all got that one Material that we love. I found out that the formulary, or Henry Schein, did not include my VOCO composite and I love VOCO. And I called…I actually had my assistant call up because I was chicken! And asked if I could please use my VOCO composite and what hoops I had to jump through to get it and all they said was, “Oh, you want that? That’s fine. All you have to do is just order it.”  It was amazing. And It was just another thing, another feather in the cap of MB2 in my book because it let me know that their commitment to allowing doctors to run their practice the way that they want to run it, extends to even using slightly more expensive composite if that’s what the doctor feels is right for his patients. So I just want to say, out of all the things that you guys do well, thank you MB2 for supporting my clinical choices.