Ahh. To be a young dentist back in the day. So glamorous. The patients. The procedures. The painting. The painting?
On a Sunday afternoon many years ago, Dr. Dennis Tregoning was spending the day at his dental practice but it wasn’t to see patients. “At the time, my office was located next door to another dentist. I came in on Sunday to paint my office because I didn’t want the other dentist to know that I had to paint my own office!” said Dr. Tregoning.
It turns out the neighboring dentist had a secret of his own. “As I was walking out of the office that day with paint in hand, I saw the other dentist walking out at the same time as me. And he was coming out carrying a carpet cleaner! We both looked at each other and smiled.”
When you have your own practice, there are many things you need to take care of that have nothing to do with dentistry. You have to hire people, manage your people, manage your building, and manage your accounting and financing. And maybe even paint the walls and clean the carpet.
Dr. Tregoning graduated from dental school in 1973. “I decided pretty early in life that being a dentist was something I wanted to do,” said Dr. Tregoning. “I was originally accepted at UCLA, but it was far away and very expensive, so I went off to Marquette University with the plan of becoming a dentist. And I did just that.”
After graduation, Dr. Tregoning owned a private practice in Janesville, Wisconsin. It was a picturesque small community, but there was always a fear that the town could be on the verge of decline. “General Motors was in Janesville for 90 years and there was this consistent rumor they would leave,” said Dr. Tregoning. “This concern was always in the back of my mind because I knew if they left, it would tank the local economy, bring housing values down, and lead to great job loss.” It turns out his fears were not unfounded. General Motors ended up leaving Janesville.
With concerns about the future top of mind, he sold his practice to a new graduate in 1984. “This was unusual at the time,” said Dr. Tregoning. “Back then you started a practice and stayed wherever you were for life, and here I was leaving.”