Love is in the Air and Sometimes in the Dental Office!
KaVo Kerr Connections
Love is in the Air and Sometimes in the Dental Office!
In February, love is in the air — and sometimes in the dental office! Life coach Zig Ziglar has said, “Keep the romance going all of your life by courting each other every day.” We have found several couples who do just that. Here are some dental practice love stories that you can sink your teeth into!
Drs. Laura and Romey Sabnani
Drs. Laura and Romey Sabnani discovered each other in dental school, and by the time they graduated in 2004, they had become an “item”! Besides being a great match romantically, they also were a match for a general practice residency at the University of Connecticut. They spent many years practicing “on the go.” When Dr. Romey started an orthodontic residency, Dr. Laura worked in a private practice in Massachusetts. After that, the duo was off to Rhode Island, Dr. Laura to pediatrics and Dr. Romey in a nearby orthodontic office. When their first child was born, they both established as associates at different offices in Long Island, New York to be nearer to family. Drs. Laura and Romey have now been married for 10 years and have three sons, ages, 7,6, and 3 years old.
Five years ago in Valentine’s month, they decided to marry their practices into one office on Long Island. Dr. Laura recalls, “After being out of dental school and working for other people, we decided that we both wanted to have our own practice. It naturally only made sense with our specialties to do that together. Having met in dental school and having completed a residency together, I knew working in the same space would not be a problem.” Dr. Laura notes that there are many benefits to working as a joint practice. “Most importantly you have someone you trust completely sharing the many responsibilities that come with owning your own practice. There is no worry about who is getting paid more or less and or how bonuses are issued. I know that he is as fully invested as I am in making the practice a success, and it helps to ease the burden of practice ownership.” Of course, there are some drawbacks, like “bringing business home” by talking about office matters after hours or vacations where the office has to shut down if other associates are not available to work.
Dr. Laura notes that although they work closely, a bustling office is not the best place for romance. “People are always amazed at how we keep sane as a married couple working together, but really except for being in the same physical space, I could go all day without seeing him. We are both busy doing our thing and seeing our own patients so that it really is not an issue. Our staff has become our second family, and no matter their age they are, we consider them our ‘kids.’ It’s actually really nice to be able to drive to and from work together on the days we work together because it one of our few times when we can talk without any interruptions!”
Dr. Romey said he could not think of anyone better to practice with than his “better half.” He adds, “I am blessed with an amazing wife, and I cannot picture a better scenario than also being able to work with her. She is the person I love and respect more than anyone else, and it is especially nice to have her by my side in the house and at work. And professionally, it is comforting to know that my patients are receiving the best treatment when I have my wife in the same office sharing mutual patients with me.”
When asked about any possible drawbacks, Dr. Romey seems to put the positive spin on it all—“I am never the boss. At home my wife is the boss, AND at the office my wife is the boss. But that’s ok —Happy wife, happy life!
Drs. Curt Sonchaiwanich and Jennifer Westcott
Drs. Curt Sonchaiwanich and Jennifer Westcott have practiced dentistry since 2010 and 2012, respectively, and they were married in 2012. During their early years, they did not have much together time, since “Dr. Jenny” attended a residency program in Seattle for the first year and then practiced at her father’s office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Dr. Curt practiced in Melbourne, Florida, Seattle, Washington, and then Port St. Lucie, Florida. They found their chance for practice romance when they recently purchased one of Dr. Jenny’s father’s offices in Palm Beach Gardens. They call it Hometown Dentistry, and the two note, “We have never been happier!” Practicing together had always been in their long-term plan. Dr. Curt says, “We have a 3-year-old boy, Jack, and a 1-year-old girl, Charlotte, at home. We are able to adjust our schedules at the office so one can be working and the other at home with kids. We have complete control of our professional lives and enough free time to spend with our kids. We are truly lucky to be able to have a schedule like that.”
Drs. Curt and Jenny bring individual skills to the group practice. “Staff management and general office management duties are all handled as a team. Dr. Curt fixes everything that breaks, and Dr. Jenny does just about everything else.” Dr. Curt has definitely found some perks—“ Jenny doesn't tell me to take out the garbage all the time like she does at home.” And, he finds romance anywhere Jenny is. He notes, “My wife thinks that scrubs aren’t sexy, but I disagree!”
With all the triumphs and challenges of office life, the team would never have it any other way. “Due to long hours working, most people spend more time with their co-workers than their own families. We are truly lucky that we don't have that problem!”
Dr. Daniel Klauer and Hayley Klauer, MLS, RDH
Dr. Daniel Klauer and his wife Hayley do not work at the same office, but their romance could be described as love at first chairside. In practice for 7 years, Dr. Klauer started as a general dentist and now limits his practice to treatment of craniofacial pain and dental sleep medicine. Dr. Daniel met his wife Hayley when he was in dental school, and they worked together for about 3 months on mutual patients. They have been married for 7 years. Hayley is a dental hygienist with a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies as well as a professor at Indiana University South Bend and a clinical instructor in the Dental Hygiene program. Daniel notes, “Her current full-time position and true passion is raising our four kids! We have a 5 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old, and 4 month old —so they keep her pretty busy right now.” But one day, Dr. Daniel expects that Hayley may encounter him in the dental chair. “She has been a practicing hygienist for 9 years, and she has never cleaned my teeth … maybe after she gets more experience, I'll let her!”
All of these couples share common bonds of devotion to their business, their families and their treatment teams. Each relationship is different, and each spouse brings a different synergy to the workplace. Keeping the peace with spouses in the office takes flexibility, compromise, and the same HR prowess needed for non-related employees. It is important to develop good communication skills to quickly define and resolve any office issues that may arise. Mutual respect for each other, common business expectations, and clearly designated responsibilities also are important ingredients for success. Couples should not allow personal arguments to rain on their practice the next business day, making for an awkward environment for the staff and patients. Also, to keep romance alive, co-owners should try to achieve a work/home balance; leave the business behind at the end of the day, and concentrate on family matters and non-office related activities. Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, also adds some symbolic wisdom. “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.” To spouses and non-spouse customers alike — Team KaVo is privileged to be there when you need us — in February and throughout the year, we wish you all the good feelings your hearts can hold.