WAGD Mastertrack Member Testimony Puneet S. Aulakh, DDS, FAGD
In June 2007, I was two years out of dental school, when for reasons unbeknownst to me now, I decided to open a scratch-start office in Bellevue. I went to dental school in Detroit, had no local connection, and best of all, I had no prior business experience. But, this was dentistry, how hard can it be? The economy was going great, I asked US Bank for a $100,000 loan, they offered me $300,000. After my build-out and setting up my office, I was half a million in debt. I asked what they wanted for collateral, they said don’t worry about it, dentistry is a great field, and everyone does great. Good luck. About a year later I got married, a big Indian wedding with 500 guests. A month after that, Lehman Brothers collapsed. My timing was impeccable. I made sure that the 3-4 patients I had booked every day at least saw each other, so that I would look busy. In retrospect, I should’ve been bankrupt by the end of 2008. As I look back I have a pretty good idea why I survived with all of my naiveté and inexperience. I owe a bid debt to the Washington AGD and to the Mastertrack. More than the lectures, the hands on participation, and the camaraderie between the participants, it was the ability to lean on people in the Mastertrack for advice and guidance. You learn pretty quickly after dental school that not only do you not know a lot, but that there is SO much to learn. Mastertrack 14
WAGD Newsletter | June 2014
itself, and the people in Mastertrack are the main reason I am here today. They are the reason I am getting my MAGD in Detroit this summer, they are the reason I am involved with the WAGD and the AGD as board member, delegate, and the WAGD president-elect. In order to be a successful dentist you have to have a support structure, people you can ask when you have questions, need guidance, and need advice. Hey, what do you think is the best implant system, or should I buy the Wave 1, or what composite do you use and why. I remember I had a patient come to me with an implant he had placed somewhere in Vietnam. I had no idea what type of implant it was. I sent out an email to the group and I had 5 answers by the end of the day. Dentaltown is great, but its even better when you can ask your colleagues. I always people there are 3 things that made me a better dentist, the WAGD, Dr. Tucker, and Mastertrack. In Aug 2007, I got a flier for Mastertrack and called Valarie Bartoli. I asked her if this would be a good program for a new graduate, my words were, “I don’t want to be the newbie with a bunch of old guys.” She laughed and assured me that I would be just fine and that they have a great group of people in the class and it would be good to learn from all of them. She told me I wouldn’t regret it. Boy, was she right. The first person I met was Steve Thomas (our current WAGD
President). I asked him if he was Tim Hess (currently the head of Tucker Institute, lecturing nationwide on Implant failure and teaching Botox to dentists). There was Linda Edgar (current AGD national president), her husband, Bryan Edgar (please see attached 10 pages of CV). Gary Heyamoto (see 15 pages of CV), Scott Martin (best Endodontist ever), Binh Tran (currently teaching Ortho for the WAGD). And other great people such as Joe Sepe, Doug Smith, Esther Minh, Gary Pape, Wendy Crisafulli, Teresa Kang, Lisa Buttaro, Randy McLeary, Tammy Eckart, and Ted Bear. I had these great people as my colleagues and mentors. They helped guide me to be who I am today. If you are thinking about taking Mastertrack this fall and are not really sure if you can take the necessary time off, or are unsure about the lectures, or unsure if it is a worthwhile. I can tell you without a doubt you will not regret it. Feel free to call or email me anytime if you want to know more. I could keep writing, but I know the 2 of you that are still reading this are tired, and I apologize for rambling. I was in Mastertrack for 5 years and look forward to rejoining the group this fall. See you there.
Puneet S. Aulakh, DDS, FAGD WAGD President-Elect 2013-2015 WAGD CDE Webmaster WAGD CDE Orthodontic Program Coordinator
2014 Summer Newsletter for Washington Academy of General Dentistry