One of the secrets to Dr. Alex Bachoura’s success is having PuraGraft, a distributor that forsees supply chain issues and offers alternatives when necessary.
Renee Knight writes about Dr. Alex Bachoura and his dental journey
Dr. Alex Bachoura is part of a successful oral and maxillofacial surgery group located in the greater Houston area. Here’s a look at his love for implant dentistry and how his group of five practices has overcome the supply chain constraints that have impacted just about every industry over the past few years.
Dr. Alex Bachoura’s practice by the numbers:
5 offices in the greater Houston area
7 full-time surgeons
8,000 patients a year
As a young high school student, Dr. Bachoura initially wanted to pursue a career as an aerospace engineer. Both his parents were engineers, so it just seemed natural to follow a similar path. He had an engineering mindset and an interest in the field, but the now oral surgeon discovered he had a passion for dentistry at an unexpected place — the local jewelry store where he worked as a diamond setter.
His boss at the time, who didn’t have a background in dentistry, noticed Dr. Bachoura had a special talent. The high schooler not only loved working with his hands, but also clearly had an exceptional talent along with an impressive attention to detail. The jeweler suggested he look into dentistry as a career option rather than pursuing aerospace engineering. So Dr. Bachoura did — and decided his boss was right — it became clear he was meant to take a different career path.
Dr. Bachoura found he loved the mechanical aspect of dentistry and knew he had the skills required to be successful. “Believe it or not, there’s a lot of mechanics in the things we do. Like when we fix a jaw, it involves placing plates and screws. You have to understand the mechanical aspects. It’s the same with placing dental implants,” Dr. Bachoura said. “For me, dentistry became a natural transition that allowed me to combine two things I really enjoy — mechanics and science. And there’s also the artistic element. You have to be good with your hands and know how to work with the materials. So, it all just came together.”
The road to oral surgery
Once he finished high school, Dr. Bachoura headed to the University of Southern California (USC) to earn his bachelor’s degree. He then went on to the USC School of Dentistry to obtain his DDS. That’s where Dr. Bachoura was first introduced to oral and maxillofacial surgery.
The school’s curriculum had a monthlong segment on oral surgery, and Dr. Bachoura was impressed with what he saw. He remembers watching the oral surgery team at USC repairing a jaw fracture using titanium plates and screws and knowing that was what he wanted to do. He picked it up quickly and decided his next step was to get the training he needed to practice oral surgery.
“I love the combination of the medical science and the mechanical/engineering aspect of what we do,” he said. “This is especially true when it comes to dental implants.”
After receiving his DDS in 2003, Dr. Bachoura moved on to the University of Texas Houston Medical School, graduating in 2007. He also completed an internship in General Surgery in Medicine and completed a 4-year oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at the same institution as part of his training. He finished his residency in 2009 and has been a practicing oral surgeon ever since.
A look at his practice today
Dr. Bachoura is part of a five-office oral surgery group that has seven full-time surgeons and 60 employees. The practice serves more than 8,000 patients a year, both young and old, throughout the greater Houston area. The practices are full scope, with Dr. Bachoura and his colleagues performing wisdom teeth extractions, bone grafting procedures, facial trauma reconstructions, facial/dental tumor removal, and dental implant placement. His primary areas of interest include pathology, dentoalveolar surgery, dental implants, and maxillofacial trauma.
“I truly believe putting people out of pain and getting them back to productivity and normal, healthy lives are important,” Dr. Bachoura said. “I see patients from 2 years old all the way to 90-plus; at some point, every single human being will need some kind of oral surgical procedure. I feel like we are experts in the field of oral dental surgery.”
A focus on implants
Implant dentistry makes up 30% to 40% of the group’s business, Dr. Bachoura said, and is one of the procedures he enjoys performing most. He, of course, appreciates the mechanical aspect of surgically placing implants, as well as the challenges the cases present.
“For the most part, everything goes right, but when things go wrong, it can be pretty destructive. You really need to understand not just the surgical implant dentistry part, but how to salvage things when there’s an infection or another problem,” he said. “A lot of being an oral surgeon is having the capacity to deal with complex issues and bigger problems. I really enjoy the challenge of that.”
Over the years, Dr. Bachoura has seen a bit of a shift in implant dentistry, and one that’s for the better. General dentists who once restored only implants are now gaining the training and confidence they need to start placing them, which has resulted in a boost for his practices.
“It means there’s a lot more awareness in the dental community of the benefit of implants,” he said. “They’re keeping more straightforward cases but sending the more complex cases they don’t have the skill set or knowledge to handle to oral surgeons, which has helped our business over the past few years.”
Overcoming supply chain issues
Like just about every business, dental practices have had to contend with supply chain constraints over the past few years, causing extra stress on doctors and their teams. That hasn’t been an issue for Dr. Bachoura and his colleagues, as the distributor they work with, PuraGraft, has done its part to ensure they have the products they need when they need them. PuraGraft carries a full line of grafting materials, pharmaceuticals, and all supplies necessary to perform oral surgery.
I love the fact that we have a personal relationship with them and can always pick up the phone and talk with a familiar person. If you need something, they go out of their way to make sure you get it. That’s why we’ve had a long-lasting relationship.”
Over the 8 years Dr. Bachoura and his team have worked with PuraGraft, they’ve gotten to know the team pretty well, especially their rep Drew Bailey, who Dr. Bachoura describes as personable and someone who really cares about his clients’ success. If he knows a product the offices use regularly will be on back order, he gives them a heads-up, so they can prepare. Unlike other practitioners he’s talked with, Dr. Bachoura and his colleagues are never left scrambling to find drugs or other products they need for surgery.
Get the details:
To learn more about the PuraGraft products, including grafting materials, pharmaceuticals, and oral surgery supplies, visit puragraft.com.
“They can foresee issues with supply chain interruptions, so we can stock up,” Dr. Bachoura said. “They’ll also give us alternatives; if they can’t get a particular drug we’ve been using, they’ll suggest another that does the same thing.”
Bailey and the team at PuraGraft not only have helped Dr. Bachoura navigate through supply chain interruptions, serving as a “crucial partner,” but also have offered exceptional customer service. And it helps that the company is local to Houston.
“When we order something, we get it the next day,” Dr. Bachoura said. “I love the fact that we have a personal relationship with them and can always pick up the phone and talk with a familiar person. If you need something, they go out of their way to make sure you get it. That’s why we’ve had a long-lasting relationship.”
Pricing is also competitive, Dr. Bachoura said. Any time they find drugs from another source that are a little cheaper, PuraGraft almost always price matches.
Dr. Bachoura also appreciates the breadth of products the company offers; he said that the practice gets most everything they use on their patients from PuraGraft, including local anesthetics, IV drugs and antibiotics, bone-grafting materials, and biologic membranes. This makes purchasing inventory more convenient, especially when you know the company will do what it takes to ensure that you have access to the products you need.
Certain IV antibiotics and biologic-grafting materials are among the products that have been difficult to find lately, Dr. Bachoura said, but the team at PuraGraft have worked their magic to deliver them.
“They’re very reliable,” he said. “We have never had any issues. And reliability is crucial in a world full of supply constraints.”
Life outside of dentistry
When Dr. Bachoura isn’t in the operatory performing complex surgeries, he likes to stay active. He spends a lot of time skiing, hiking, and running, and has even completed the Houston marathon several times. One of his favorite ways to spend his free time is restoring old vehicles, which is no surprise considering his interest in all things mechanical. He also recently started racing cars, a hobby that has helped him become an even better clinician.
“I love mechanical things,” he said. “I feel like racing cars gives me the opportunity to sharpen my skills and stay focused during operations.”
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