Written By:

Dr. Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS

Board-certified Orthodontist, husband and father of 3, drummer, and ginger living in Germantown, Tennessee.

Dr. Fagala was recently featured in the Summer 2014 edition of the TP Orthodontics Inside News, a quarterly publication sent to doctors throughout the country. TP Ortho is a leading manufacturer in brackets, wires, tools and other orthodontic-related supplies.

In the article, Dr. F shared his thoughts and advice to orthodontic residents and new orthodontists, as well as the rewards and challenges of running a practice. Read below to learn more about his unique day-to-day activities and the journey that led to the creation of Saddle Creek Orthodontics.


A Journey in Starting a Practice

What’s worse than the second year of dental school? While it could be the start of a good joke, it is one of the references Dr. Fagala uses in his description of his journey to becoming an orthodontist. Apparently there’s “very little,” says Dr. Kyle Fagala, a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee. Not even starting your own practice less than two months (Yes, months!) after graduation. The stress, anxiety, nerves, and no doubt sleepless nights pale in comparison, he recalls, to that second year of dental school.

What got him through these two life-changing events and all the others in his journey to become a practicing orthodontist is his passion to have a positive impact on young lives and to help people build confidence with a great smile.

Dr. Fagala talked with TP Orthodontics while attending the AAO in New Orleans this past April and graciously spoke with us about the challenges and lessons learned following graduation and upon opening his own practice. He shared everything from his greatest fears, to bouncing back when long-established plans fell through. He also shared with us a few of the lessons he learned along the way including:
Lesson 1 — Don’t underestimate the variety of skills needed to have a successful orthodontic practice. “It’s not just about being a good clinician,” says Dr. Fagala, “It’s about juggling a multitude of skills including psychiatrist, salesperson, social media expert, accountant, businessman, …” and the list goes on. “To be successful in private practice,” he says, “it’s very important to effectively manage all the elements of running a business in addition to being a committed orthodontist.”

Lesson 2 — There’s no “right” answer in orthodontics. “While there are many good and scientifically supported ways to treat a patient to a board-quality finish,” Dr. Fagala says, “it’s important to stay open-minded. There are many new ideas and techniques that continue to be presented to orthodontists and it’s important to be receptive and willing to adapt with changes as you move through your career.”

Lesson 3 — Be humble. “Starting out, there are so many questions,” says Dr. Fagala. “If you are not humble enough to ask questions and seek help, your journey will be a lot more challenging than it needs to be.” He says that there are so many smart people in the orthodontic community and the vast majority of them are willing to share their knowledge and exchange ideas, if only asked.

Dr. Fagala says that the past year has been an incredible journey. Even when plans to join an existing orthodontic practice fell through, he didn’t let this stop his dream. In fact, he and his wife spent his entire third year of residency planning how they were going to open a new practice. In July 2013 (just 45 days after graduation) they opened Saddle Creek Orthodontics where he practices three days a week, (working the other two at Pediatric Dental Group in Southaven and Olive Branch, MS).

Memphis Braces | Saddle Creek Orthodontics

“Initially I worried that no one would show up,” says Dr. Fagala. “I also worried that I wouldn’t know what to do when a tough case came along. Fortunately patients did show up, and if there was a tough case that really had me stumped, I realized that resources and support were only an email or text message away.”

Now, as he manages the challenges associated with running a practice and a busy life, he not only is living his dream of having a positive impact in people’s lives, he is working towards fulfilling his mission for an ideal practice. Dr. Fagala says, “One where the entire orthodontic team shares one single goal of serving and positively impacting the lives of each of our patients.”

Best,

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