In her Affordable Dentures and Implants practice, Dr. Sandy Change combines her love for art and science with her dental expertise.
Where art, science, and impact meet
Dr. Sandy Chang easily fell into a role within the healthcare industry. “I guess it was just something I grew up with,” she says.
Quite right. She was born into it, as her father, uncles, both sets of grandparents, and many of her extended family members were all doctors.
The medical field made sense, but identifying the specific course was something that Dr. Chang was thoughtful about.
Like most people in the midst of choosing a career path, she looked to what came naturally to her and what she enjoyed. Two subjects stood out — art and science — disciplines customarily envisioned at opposite ends of the spectrum with people easily gravitating toward one over the other. Not Dr. Chang. She was adamant on choosing both.
“In elementary and middle school, I was always good at science and always interested in it, and that extends itself and makes sense,” Dr. Chang says. Simultaneously, she could be found excelling in both visual and performing arts as a watercolorist, an oil painter, and a violinist.
Dr. Chang was accepted into the pre-med program at Virginia Commonwealth University. She explored her options there, while still keeping her love of the arts and science front and center.
Discussions with college friends led her to consider dentistry. Upon attending a local dental conference, however, her consideration was solidified after seeing incredible before-and-after photos of dental patients. The visual transformations struck her, and she knew then that she had found what she was looking for — a career in the surgical aspect of dentistry. The surgical sector calls for an artistic individual as much as a scientific one, where, as she puts it, she “could make an impact.” Delivering a meaningful impact on a daily basis, however, took time.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine welcomed Dr. Chang, where she earned her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. Upon graduation, she continued on to San Antonio for a 3-year Prosthodontics Certificate Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center. From there, she settled in Manhattan, New York, where she worked as an associate dentist in private practice for 8 years. It was during this time that she reflected on what was next.
“I wasn’t interested in academia so that left two options: open my own private practice or be an associate,” Dr. Chang recalls. Through research, Dr. Chang stumbled upon a third option: Affordable Dentures & Implants (AD&I).
AD&I practices have treated over 7 million patients to date and is supported by Affordable Care, the leading U.S. dental support organization in tooth replacement services. The company provides full business management services to its affiliated dentists, like Dr. Chang, as well as 100% clinical autonomy. The fact that AD&I dentists focus solely on dental surgery, not general dentistry, is also what sold her.
“Being a dentist for 14 years now, the majority of what I did was more general dentistry, cosmetic fillings, veneers, crowns, but what I love most is being able to be a part of that transformation,” Dr. Chang explains.
This is where the impact she was seeking had finally come — Not to mention, artistic expression as well.
“With dentures, I get to be the sculptor,” she continues, “I’m able to create a smile and design it with each patient.”
Dr. Chang is able to make an impact many times over thanks to a few factors. For one, her entire day consists of dentistry. And that’s it. There’s no business to tend to. No accounting, invoicing, or tax filings for her to worry about. Ever.
The entire business side of her practice is run by Affordable Care’s Support Center, leaving her to see more patients, and she prefers it that way.
“Being able to focus just on dentistry is how I can make sure I’m providing the best care for my patients, and that’s ultimately why I’m here.”
Her role as an AD&I-affiliated dentist provides both the time and opportunity for continuing education, prompting learnings that she can apply within her practice that further her impact. Upon becoming an AD&I-affiliated Practice Owner, Dr. Chang attended the Live Implant Training Course at the Brighter Way Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. This training with top dental implant specialists expanded her clinical competence while widening her network, as she and other attending dentists from AD&I connected and benefited from sharing valuable ideas and techniques.
Her large network of connections didn’t cease when the training did. With 300-plus AD&I affiliated dentists, there is always someone to reach out to.
“I can pick up my phone and call one of my AD&I colleagues — a benefit of being part of a network of educated dentists. We can always learn from one another.”
The streamlined process, which is the AD&I way, helps Dr. Chang complete multiple transformations each and every day. The on-site labs, which AD&I is known for, allow Dr. Chang and her team to connect with one another on each individual case in person, in real time. Dr. Chang’s practice can, therefore, take their patients from initial consultation to deliveries in a matter of hours as opposed to a month or more, which happens when roles, processes, and materials are outsourced. Dr. Chang and her practice make an impact quickly and often, upwards of 10, sometimes 20 transformations each day.
“I’m lucky that I’m in a field where it’s very direct in the positive impact we make. It’s instant gratification and tangible results, which aren’t common in jobs these days. Now you can say, ‘Hey, I made a difference in someone’s life, and I was able to meet that person.’”
When that person brings a mirror up to his/her face for the first time is the moment of impact. The power of that moment is something that Dr. Chang and her team feel right alongside the patient.
“It’s heartwarming to know that you’re part of this important journey. It’s amazing really because this is when you see patients for the first time. It’s not just their smiles that change; it’s more than that,” she says.
Patients arrive embarrassed, uncomfortable, and nervous, heads down, hands covering their mouths, with very little to say. Yet once Dr. Chang and team fulfill their roles and unveil the sculpture they have scientifically and artistically created, patients come alive. They are no longer hiding. Impact is made and felt by all.
This information was provided by Affordable Dentures & Implants.
Editor’s call to action
The art and science of dental implants is practiced every day at Affordable Dentures and Implants. Read more about the company here.