DE’s Advisory Board member profile: Mike Meru, DDS, MS

Meet Mike Meru, DDS, MS, an orthodontist, snowboard mountaineer, and member of the Dental Economics Editorial Advisory Board.

Dr. Meru in the La Sal Mountains
Dr. Meru in the La Sal Mountains

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Name:

Michael C. Meru, DDS, MS

Practices at:

Horsley Orthodontics

Location:

South Jordan, Utah

Dental school:

University of Southern California

(Dental, 2009; Ortho, 2012)

Areas of expertise:

Situational dental ethics, clear aligner systems, and digital orthodontics. Outside of dentistry, I speak on overcoming obstacles and use my career as a snowboard mountaineer as the platform.

Social media:

Instagram: @hukesnow

Tell us about a product or technology that has recently changed your world.

While 3-D intraoral scanning has been around for years, its combination with 3-D printing is having dramatic effects on our orthodontic practice’s efficiency and our commitment to aid patients in keeping perfect smiles. Scanning patients and electronically sending their records to labs (whether for functional appliances, retainers, or clear aligners) has cut days to weeks off of our production time compared to mailing impressions and models.

The combination solves an issue that has plagued me and nearly every other practitioner who treats orthodontic patients. In the past, if a patient broke a permanent retainer or lost a removable and his or her teeth shifted, we were in a bind. Deciding whether to leave the minor imperfections or re-treat was awful. Now, we scan each patient when treatment is complete and store that record, which gives us the ability indefinitely to access, print, and create a clear retainer to move the patient’s teeth back to their perfect state when issues arise.

What’s a piece of advice you wish you knew five years ago?

I was always told that if you don’t find the right practice to partner with or purchase after graduation, don’t rush starting your own, but associate for a few years to gain experience and then venture out. In my view, that’s bad advice. Having gone that route, I found it difficult financially to open a practice as I had become accustomed to—and had expenses in line with—a salary that was hard to achieve with a practice that had zero net income initially while associating two days a week.

After attending the DE Principles of Practice Management conference and speaking to others who chose to open soon after graduation, I learned of better ways. This is the advice I wish I’d had: while it may seem terrifying to start a practice immediately after graduation, it is your best option if you are unable to secure a partnership or buyout. I would have told myself to start the practice at two or three days a week while associating elsewhere to supplement my income while my private practice grew.

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