Empathy and Leadership: A Dentist’s Journey to Success with Dr. Allison House


Podcast Summary

Dr. Allison House, a dentist with a passion for making a positive impact in dentistry, is the focus of the “Innovation in Dentistry” podcast episode. Throughout her journey, she has faced and overcome various challenges, displaying resilience and a commitment to personal and professional growth. 

One significant mindset shift that Dr. House had to make was overcoming the feeling of isolation that many dentists experience. She realized that the difficulties she faced were not unique to her but were shared by dentists globally. This realization helped her develop empathy and understanding for her colleagues and patients alike. She recognized that patients’ frustrations and anger often stem from factors unrelated to her personally, and this awareness has allowed her to approach such situations with more compassion. 

Dr. House’s leadership style is characterized by a strong emphasis on connection and collaboration with her team. She acknowledges the exceptional individuals she has had the privilege to work with and understands that her practice’s success is not solely due to her efforts. Initially, she admits to being a poor leader, lacking business knowledge and effective communication skills. However, she underwent personal growth and transformation, becoming a better leader and inspiring her team to excel. By taking responsibility for her actions and improving her communication, she fostered a positive work environment where everyone felt supported and valued. 

Looking to the future, Dr. House envisions dentistry undergoing significant changes over the next decade. She believes that a marketing campaign emphasizing the importance of oral health is crucial to raise awareness and help patients understand the complexity and value of dental care. Dr. House also addresses the issue of dentistry being undervalued financially, leading to challenges in compensating dental professionals adequately. She advocates for a shift in patient perception to appreciate the expertise and effort dentists put into their work. 

One area where Dr. House sees room for growth in her own practice is the introduction of an associate dentist. While recognizing the benefits of mentoring and supporting a young dentist, she acknowledges the time and energy investment required. Dr. House currently has numerous projects and commitments, such as writing a book, hosting a podcast, and speaking engagements. Taking on the responsibility of mentoring would require careful consideration and planning. 

Dr. House’s dedication to sharing knowledge and supporting her dental community extends beyond her own practice. She actively participates in dental associations, such as the Arizona Dental Association, and encourages others to get involved locally as well. She emphasizes the value of building connections, learning from experienced professionals, and reaching out for support when needed. 

Throughout the podcast, Dr. House’s passion for dentistry, her commitment to continuous learning, and her desire to make a positive impact are evident. She is a source of inspiration for young dentists, offering guidance on finding their voice, overcoming limiting beliefs, and persevering in the face of challenges. Dr. House’s authentic and empathetic approach to dentistry, coupled with her dedication to mentoring and leadership, positions her as an innovator in the field. Her podcast, “The Authentic Dentist Podcast,” serves as a platform to share experiences, discuss challenges, and inspire others in the dental community. 

In summary, Dr. Allison House’s podcast episode highlights her remarkable journey as a dentist and leader in dentistry. Her story reflects resilience, growth, and a deep commitment to making a positive impact. Through her experiences and insights, she encourages dentists to connect, support one another, and embrace change to shape the future of dentistry. 

Connect with Dr. House

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StonyHillDental/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/allison-house-a6b2b616/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/housedental_/?hl=en


Podcast Transcript


Transcript_Allison House 

Thu, May 25, 2023 5:35AM • 38:25 


dentists, feel, years, dentistry, dental school, call, patients, voice, dental association, practice, arizona, asked, learned, podcast, change, wrote, council, impact, house, dental practice 


Allison House, Shawn Zajas 


Shawn Zajas  00:00 

Okay, so today is super exciting because I have the honor of interviewing my dear friend, Dr. Allison house. I am in dentistry right now still because of this woman. I was like five years ago, where I was switching companies. And I needed like a reason to still care about what was happening in dentistry. And I was getting so disillusioned. And then I met you. And at that time, you were the president of the Arizona Dental Association. And you just gave me like, such an inspiration to be like, wow, like dentists are awesome. They rock. So this is awesome that I get to interview you for innovation in dentistry. So thank you for joining me, Dr. House. Well, 


Allison House  00:49 

thank you. I’m so honored that you asked me. This is gonna be fun. Yeah. 


Shawn Zajas  00:52 

So right off the bat, like I am so curious, like, I know so much about your story. But I don’t know if everybody does. My main thing here. It’s not about clinical innovation. It’s not about technological innovation. It’s about what is it that gets a dental professional to feel empowered to pioneer positive change, and maybe step outside the op and say, hey, you know, dentistry is great, like dentistry is enough. It’s more than enough if you’re just a dentist, but for you like it wasn’t you. You’ve done a lot of things legislatively, including, like I just mentioned, being the President of the Arizona Dental Association. And even now you’re on the council in practice at the ADEA. 


Allison House  01:39 

Actually, I finished my term, or your term at the Council for dental practice at the ADEA. It was amazing. And yeah, I could go on and on about that experience. 


Shawn Zajas  01:49 

So I want to know, what is it about? Like, when did you know that? That there was more for you, aside from just like, being a clinical dentist. 


Allison House  02:03 

So when I graduated from dental school, I should back up, I had two children, and dental school, which means that my dental school experience was stressful. And that’s like putting it mildly. It was really stressful at my own doing my own fault. So when I graduated, I did not feel totally prepared to be a dentist. But you know, you had that moment where like, I’m a dentist, I’m out there, I got a job. We moved here to Arizona. And the first two years, I worked in seven practices that were all owned by someone other than a dentist. And I couldn’t figure out why this was so terrible. I mean, it just, it just felt terrible. I was asked to do things that felt unprofessional. And yet you sort of had this thing in the back your mind were like, well, maybe this is the real world. Maybe dental school was an ivory tower. And this is the reality. But it didn’t feel good. And I got fired from 22 of them, which I never been fired from a job my whole life. I got every job that ever asked for i That was That was awful. So I started my own practice after all of this nightmare. And I wrote a letter to the Board of Trustees at the Arizona Dental Association, and I’m 2627 years old at this time. So I don’t really know how this works. But I write them a letter and I just tell them, I’m worried about the state of dentistry. I think that this is all bad. I’m not sure. And I listed all the things that had happened to me, put it in an envelope, mailed it, no email, mailed it. And I know maybe three months later, somebody reached out to me and said, we’re really concerned too. And we had no idea this was going on. So that was the first time but it took three months for a response. It did take three months for a response. But I mean, there’s a lot of bureaucracy. Yep. And at that time, there were probably more because I don’t know how many letters they got. Email wasn’t quite a thing. It was it’s a long time ago, I had paper charts. It was a long time ago. But that was the first time I felt like, oh, there is a voice and I have a perspective that’s unique. And and I didn’t realize how unique it was. Because I was a young female dentist, I had two small children. My world was just different than the people that were running the Arizona Dental Association. So I got invited to be part of the new dentists committee and and then we wrote some legislation about people who own a practice that are not dentists. Because that was the biggest issue is my license was on the line. And yet I had no control over what was happening in that practice. So this is like so two years in you write the letter, you get invited to be on the committee. 


Shawn Zajas  04:39 

And when you’re starting to all of a sudden be part of legislating is that like has another year gone by are we talking about this is like year two, year three? 


Allison House  04:47 

So what the letter at year two, I started my practice shortly after my own practice, and that was its own set of challenges. So they asked me I think 2004 To be part of the new dentists committee because I had that voice and I got to and that was really fun. I wrote a CEE called The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, that kind of detailed all the bad things that happened to me. And asked for advice. I got a panel of three. It’s funny, I call them senior dentists. Now, they were probably their 40s. Three senior dentists and I just asked them questions, and they were amazing, because they told me, Allison, you’re being too hard on yourself, or they gave me great advice. And so that that continues today, that good, bad and the ugly, they do that a couple times a year, 


Shawn Zajas  05:32 

but you just got thrust into, like, stepping up and leading, like, it wasn’t part of your plan, when you’re what Birmingham, Alabama is that when you were in dental school, 


Allison House  05:42 

that was not part of my plan, really, I just wanted to survive. I should back up though, my parents are big leaders. My mom was part of the Physical Therapy Association. And she and a group of other people wrote the exam for physical therapists across the country to be licensed, she was part of the Federation. So my parents were involved in organized physical therapy. So it wasn’t it was probably in me, I just didn’t know it. 


Shawn Zajas  06:07 

So I mean, if we fast forward, it’s like you. I mean, you and I started our own podcasts. What was that? 2019? Oh, so like four years ago, it’s been four years. That’s crazy. With the authentic dentist. And again, we named it that because that’s who you are, you stand for everything that’s authentic about, like, the way I feel like dentists should be like, you’re just you’re honest, you care about your patients. There’s no pretense. And that’s what I kept running into with dentists was like, this super thick layer of like an ego, and I couldn’t find out what was real, you know, because everyone was just doing great. Everyone was crushing it. 


Allison House  06:47 

And I think we’re taught that in dental school, and they call it professionalism. You put on the white coat, and that’s your professional. But then, like, there’s two people, there was one at home, and then there was one professionally, and that just doesn’t work emotionally. At some point, you’ve got to, you’ve got to be the same person everywhere you go. And I discovered that I just, I just needed to be me everywhere in the operatory at home. And that means moving my professionalism up at home, and moving my professionalism into a more relatable person. And of course, I’m still behave myself in professional manner at the office. But I still think people need to know I’m human, and then I understand them. 


Shawn Zajas  07:24 

But I’m just like, so back, you know, you podcast or a published author, you lecture you speak, you know about ethics, nationwide, and then you just finished your time with the ADA. Like, there’s so many things that you’ve been involved in, just outside, again, of being an amazing clinical dentist, like, what, what are some of the struggles along the way that you encountered? Like, did you have that impostor syndrome, or that self doubt, of course, 


Allison House  07:57 

I got fired twice. And that was devastating. One of the times I got fired, because I did say, I stood up for myself, and for the patients that I wouldn’t do something that I thought was unethical, and I got fired for it. And my husband was not amused, because, you know, we had a mortgage and two kids and student debt. It was bad. It was really bad. So yeah, there’s been lots of struggles. But I think my learning my takeaway from all of the struggles have been, yes, but I have a voice. And it isn’t just me, that took me a while to figure out that these struggles that I’m dealing with, they’re not just me, lots of people have not everybody. But all of us have struggles. And that’s just part of life. And I wanted to have a voice. And that opportunity to change the law here in Arizona, so that non dentist owners would be responsible for what happened in the office. I thought that was good. I mean, so I wanted to continue to my voice. 


Shawn Zajas  08:56 

Now, that’s come up, like three times now already. And I think, knowing that I’ve known you for as long as I have. Because even before we were podcasting, you know, I, you’d let me pick your brain about different business ideas. And I so appreciate your perspective. But you keep saying, I had a voice, I got to use my voice. Like, I wonder if even in the next decade, you’re going to be able to do something where you lead in such a way that you help others find their voice. Like, like, I feel like if there was a book in you, which there are many and you already have one out there, like I could see that platform where you’re empowering people to find their voice because you found your voice pretty early. And I’m sure in navigating what’s been the challenges in navigating, I guess what your voice has been. 


Allison House  09:47 

I mean, there’s always people that don’t like it. There’s always the haters. And I don’t like criticism, just like all dentists. I don’t like criticism. I was criticized enough in dental school. But that’s something you just kind of have to take that now. Everybody’s gonna agree with you. And also that you’re not always right. You know, I think something needs to change. But when I bring it up, like at the Council for dental practice, the group is like, Yeah, but here’s what happens if we change that, like, oh, I mean, I didn’t see that that would be a problem. So, yeah, it’s been a learning curve for me to use that voice in the way I want to. But absolutely, I think my goal in life is that I want everyone to be able to speak out, and I want dentistry to be great. And that means we have to collectively work together. 


Shawn Zajas  10:32 

So I see you as someone that leads as someone that pioneers, is that an identity that you have where you’ve always seen yourself that way. I guess I have, 


Allison House  10:43 

yes, I have a strange background, where my father was an Olympic weightlifting coach, in addition to be a physical therapist, and so I started lifting weights when I was six years old. And this is a time when girls didn’t lift weights, there was a concern that you might get too muscular, which you can’t do, because I don’t have enough testosterone to get muscular. But I mean, I lifted in the American open when I was 21 years old, of Olympic weightlifting. My undergrad is in math. I yeah, I’ve done a lot of things that women typically didn’t do back then. So that kind of makes me a pioneer. I don’t know I had two kids in dental school. Nobody’s ever done that before. So some of it’s my undoing some of its I just got pushed that way. 


Shawn Zajas  11:28 

So do you feel like you didn’t necessarily fit in with like the conventional dentists being that you had this unique perspective, because of your background, 


Allison House  11:37 

I didn’t realize it until much later, I just assumed that everyone was like me. And actually being a woman dentist, I didn’t even notice that that was a big deal. Until I had started practicing. I mean, I knew that there weren’t a lot of women in my class, but my class was amazing. They were so supportive of these two kids I had, I had, there were 60 people in my class, I would say every person in my class held that baby for me. They did, and most of them had never held a baby before. And these are all men in their early 20s that are holding a baby so I can go whack something up, or I can do an injection. I mean, my that was an amazing support system. So I didn’t realize that. Like the whole world wasn’t like that. 


Shawn Zajas  12:16 

I’m just trying to understand what that time in your life actually look like. You’re probably newly married. Like, you know not, 


Allison House  12:24 

not really. Yeah, I got married very, very young, but relatively 


Shawn Zajas  12:28 

like it. You’re still in your first like, what five to seven years of marriage? Yes, yes. You have babies, which there’s no manual for it, then you’re doing from what I understand is incredibly challenging, like dental school. What I hear the stories, it’s like, it tries to get rid of people. 


Allison House  12:44 

I know if it tries, but it was very challenging. My husband was in law school and Atlanta, during Yeah, had a baby when he was in law school in Atlanta, and I was in dental school in Birmingham, which is probably why I had so much support for my class. Law school is nothing like dental school. I mean, he was just flabbergasted at how much easier law school is and dental school. It’s a challenging curriculum. 


Shawn Zajas  13:07 

So what came out of that season of your life? Whether it was identity wise, or mindset wise, that was like a gift that you got, like maybe that you weren’t expecting, 


Allison House  13:19 

actually wrote this letter to my son recently. He told somebody that he was a mistake that I’d had. And I was like, that’s not true at all. Wait, wait. And you’d never heard him say this before. I never heard him say that before. And I was devastated by this. So I wrote them this note, and I said, you weren’t a mistake, you are an incredible gift that I was given at a time when I didn’t know that I needed that gift. And the gift was that I had to overcome challenges that I had never dreamed. I had to ask for help. And I’m, I’m many of us are not the sort of people that ask for help. I push through, I figured out a way all by myself. And at that moment, I had no choice. I had to ask for help. And I asked for a lot of help. And people gave it freely. My my husband’s grandmother came and lived with me for six weeks, because Mark was still in Atlanta, while after JD was born, and there were six weeks before he could come over. So she lived with me for six weeks and helped me take care of this baby. My classmates came and picked me up because I had a C section I was allowed to drive. They brought me dinner. And again, these are young men in their early 20s. Somebody brought me dinner for 60 days. I mean, it was amazing. I asked for help. And I received it. And that’s when I learned that community was important. And that was a gift, huge gift. 


Shawn Zajas  14:39 

Well, I was gonna say, I feel like you’ve always you’ve taken that with you through every single season where you’ve known how to I don’t want to say like rely on but like use the support system that you have, and continue to build out a community. And I think where I’ve seen most dentists go wrong is where they get isolated. 


Allison House  14:59 

And it is so isolating, you know, patients, we work in this office where we’re that we’re the leader, the owner, and then everyone around us is not a dentist. Sometimes you work with another dentist, but you’re not like, sitting next to that dentist. It’s not like a neurosurgery where there’s another surgeon in that operatory with you, you’re alone. And so we do, we started just build these walls where it’s just all about you. And I needed a community. And I knew that it was possible. And I knew that if you asked, people want to help, and that was a gift. 


Shawn Zajas  15:30 

So you were the youngest to be the president of the Arizona Dental Association. I don’t know if that’s at the time, we’re still but I think it’s still okay. So that doesn’t happen by accident. You find the voice, you’re on a committee, and you start liking what the fact that you know, you can enact change. 


Allison House  15:50 

I can’t always keep my big mouth shut. So I got invited to be part of the delegation. For the Arizona Dental Association, we have a house of delegates. And we were sitting in we were supposed to approve a budget. And the budget that they handed us, maybe this is 2011 2010 was ridiculous. I mean, it had like a budget of it said staff. And that was one of the line items. And then it was like, Western Regional. That was a line item. It wasn’t the Western Regional thing. That is not a budget. So I stood up and said, um, I think we need some more detail before we can approve this budget. And they crucified me. I mean, the people up there were like, well, we’ll have to have a special meeting if you want more detail, and it’s gonna cost another $10,000. And so no, you can’t have this. Well, I mean, I have an undergrad math, I, I know that this is not okay. I know it’s not okay. And I just couldn’t let it go. So we passed the budget, because of all those reasons. But somebody called me about a week later and said, Hey, you want to be the treasurer? So I got nominated and became the treasurer. And like 2012, on the Arizona board, not the state, the central board of state level. And yeah, so I jumped over a bunch of things in order to fix that budget, which was a disaster. And I had a lot of help along the way, too. I had lots of people that knew about budgets, there were so many dentists that I called that helped me. But yeah, I got to make that change. 


Shawn Zajas  17:27 

So at this point in time, I feel like you’re kind of on the fast track. Like there’s a reason why you ended up at the ATA on the council, because you kind of had the this ambition of how can I go from Arizona Dental Association type, leadership type change and impact to national ADA impact? Where did your know where did your dream shift or change? I mean, so you 


Allison House  17:56 

learn, you learn that there are things you can do on the local level in Phoenix, there are things you can do at the state level. And then there’s things that cannot be done except at the federal level. So I knew that I wanted to impact change in lots of different ways. And so that’s why I kind of went up the ranks. I was the president of Arizona in 2015. And I got things done, there were things I wanted to accomplish. And I did, but some things I wanted to accomplish. I couldn’t, because it was a federal issue. So I was on the delegation at the American Dental Association. And I was asked to be on this council for dental practice. That was incredible was four year term. And that’s when you’re starting to affect the entire country. And again, it was interesting, because I’d say, well, we need to do this maybe like the state issue. So frustrating. I was just at the state, daily. No, I’m here. So yeah, there’s all this bureaucracy. And it’s just the way it is. I mean, this is just politics. So there are things you can get done. And then there’s things you’re like, No, we need to do at the federal level, you come back to the state. No, we can’t do that here. So you’re stuck. So that’s when I talked to you and we started thinking, well, we’ll we’ll just affect change. And so we did that podcast, and I love our podcast, because I do think that’s part of how you affect change is that you have to get collaboration. Everyone in the dental community needs to say, hey, this needs to change. It’s not going to be just 17 of us up at the ATA making a change. 


Shawn Zajas  19:24 

I love that because that just empowers. That’s a message that empowers everybody, instead of simply the people that are delegated to lead, like Well, no, everyone has a role to play. Everyone has a voice and a contribution. And I don’t know I just it’s so neat to see the way that I feel like you’ve been true to yourself in in following the opportunities as they present themselves and then not shirking back, like, at what point were you? I don’t know. Tell me about a story where there was some self doubt and how you overcame that 


Allison House  20:00 

My goodness, there are so many. I think one of the first ones was my first malpractice issue. I think it was maybe 11 years ago. And I seated a crown, I see the two crowns on number eight and number nine, the front two teeth. And one of them broke, like three months later, like broke off at the gum line. And this patient was she was not a nice patient. And I was devastated for her because cosmetics are so important to her. And I felt terrible. She was ticked, oh, my goodness. So I mean, I called the surgeon, I had a prosthodontist, I paid them to fix the problem, she had to have an implant. And when they took the tooth out, they said, you know, as fractured all the way down, there was nothing that I could have done. If I had had a cone beam at the time, I would have known that. But you know, hindsight is always 2020. Anyway, but I’m walking through this, and she’s suing me for like $20,000, which is not what it costs to do the one implant. But yeah, I was devastated. And I mean, I felt, yeah, I just felt like I wasn’t gonna be able to survive this. And so I called the Arizona Dental Association, and I said, Is there somebody that’s gone through this, and apparently, there’s a whole council, that dentists supporting dentists, and this 91 year old man, who was running the Council at the time, met with me, and talked me off the ledge. And he said, This is what you do. told me you call a lawyer, you have something written down, handed to her and say, This is my best offer. And it’s vital. And it worked. She signed it, it was over. It was over like an hour. But that support was huge. And, and and yeah, I think I can breathe again. And it’s I mean, there was no malpractice, there’s no board complaints, that will happen at some point my life, it’s inevitable. But I have a little more strength to go through it, you know, you go through terrible things, and then you get more strength. 


Shawn Zajas  21:49 

So have you ever felt like the spotlights too bright? Like when it comes to, you know, maybe a first lecture that you did? Or the first time you found yourself on a bigger stage? Or? Like, I don’t know, I feel like there is such a, I can do this, like so much self confidence and in strength. But I don’t know, that’s just that’s, that’s just what I see. Like, is that, is that always how it’s been? 


Allison House  22:15 

I’m gonna say that when I get on the stage, I feel like, what I’m doing is important. It isn’t really about me as much. I mean, I want to do a good job. And I do I mean, I like the credentials, and the, that makes me feel good. But it’s not really about me, if I have the opportunity to tell somebody something that makes them feel better and not feel suicidal, and not know that they’re alone, then it’s okay. It’s okay. If you know, somebody says something about my hair, or that I’m fat today, or you know, whatever. Because I do feel like there’s a couple people in that audience that I impacted. And that’s what it’s about. So I’ve kind of gotten over some of that. I’m still girl, there’s still things that bother me and I feel uncomfortable with but this this, this is my job. This is this is what I’ve said here to do. And I do I want to help people. 


Shawn Zajas  23:05 

I think that’s amazing. Because as I’ve researched, like the highest performers and in the industry, that’s exactly what keeps them going and allows them to perform at their best is that they, their why, like the impact that they’re making and who it’s for, like, transcends, or is just more powerful than their own fears and awareness of where they might not be enough. 


Allison House  23:31 

Because I’m not enough, it’s not that my message is important. And I think it helps people. Well, you 


Shawn Zajas  23:38 

are enough, you’re not perfect. 


Allison House  23:41 

I am not perfect. Oh, I really want to be. I’m just not. 


Shawn Zajas  23:44 

So in this journey, like where you’re at? I don’t know you there’s probably some sense of fulfillment in it. But during this journey of vos, what 1520 years, what mindset did you have to shed in order for you to be where you’re at? 


Allison House  24:02 

I think it’s the same thing, that all dentists that that isolation, that all these issues are just me. And some of them are, but most of them are just global. Everybody is dealing with this. difficult patients that hate us for no reason. Staff that’s turning over all of those things you feel like are about you. And some of it is a maturing for you. But it’s also it’s everyone, everyone who’s dealing with something. What is it? Everyone has a story you don’t know about? And you have to remember that when they walk in. When somebody’s angry and yelling at you a lot of times the story isn’t even about you. It’s something about them. So I try and remember that. 


Shawn Zajas  24:42 

And I feel like you even take that into how you lead your team, you know, with the habitude that you do. I don’t know I’m just so inspired by the way that you you do connect with your team. You do get that buy in. I mean the culture in your practice. It’s like everyone would like they have You’re back. They do. 


Allison House  25:01 

I have a phenomenal team, I would love to take all the credit for it. But I don’t get to. I mean, the people that are there are, they’re just phenomenal people. I was a terrible leader when I first started my practice. Because you know, now if I’d have had one business class my entire life, I couldn’t read a p&l. I didn’t know how to sell insurance. I mean, I was a terrible leader, I would fire people, I would hire people, I would tell them to do something. I’d set expectations and not mentioned it to them. I mean, I was a terrible leader. 


Shawn Zajas  25:32 

So you were probably like every other dentists that had no clue. We have no training on this. So 


Allison House  25:39 

it took me a little while to look in the mirror and go, Oh, this is my fault. This isn’t them. This is me. And when I became a better leader, then all of a sudden, they wanted to be good. And they became good, too. So that was a, that was a mirroring thing. And so whenever I discover there’s a problem, in my practice, I have to look in the mirror and go, Okay, what is it that I’m doing? In fact, this happened to me yesterday, I noticed that the lab cases were not going well, like, the lab would send me something that I didn’t want, or I’d have a case that didn’t go right, because something was wrong. And I would ask my assistant, and she’s like, No, he didn’t write that on the lab slip. Okay, why? Oh, because it was just in my brain. I didn’t mention it to her, it didn’t mention to the lab. So then I got back something that I didn’t want. That was my fault. And the terrible thing is that she could read my mind most of the time, but not always. So what I learned is, I just I made a system, where I can put take some of that out of my brain and expect everyone else to know and write it down. And it’ll have to be modified and adapted. But a lot of times, that’s the problem. When something’s happening, it’s because I’m not communicating what it is that I need. 


Shawn Zajas  26:50 

Well, that’s what’s what’s so fascinating about you, Dr. House is that on the personal level, with, you know, self transformation, it’s like, you continue to level up, and you’d like committed to just continuing to make yourself better, everyone around you better. But then you also have such a unique perspective, because you’ve been on again, the Council of ADA. So you have an idea of where dentistry, in a macro sense is going in some of its struggles. I’m curious to hear your perspective, just on that the whole idea of like, be the change, you want to see. In what ways do you think dentistry is changing over the next decade? 


Allison House  27:29 

What I wanted, when I joined the Arizona Dental Association in 2002, I wanted us to have a marketing campaign. And I wanted to to a marketing campaign that made oral health important, and nobody wants to do that. But I still feel like that is the change that we need, that somehow patients need to understand and value what we do in a way that they don’t right now, they don’t understand that what we do is complicated. It’s much more like building a house than than just putting a nail in the wall. You know, it’s there’s a lot more to it. And I really wish that we could do some kind of marketing. Because I think that what we’re dealing with in dentistry right now is we feel very undervalued. Our hygienists have asked for huge raises, and they deserve it. I mean, they totally deserve it. Unfortunately, because of what insurance limits what we pay them. And we pay, we get paid less for cleaning, dental hygiene cleaning, that I pay for my hair. I mean, it’s it’s unreasonable. But that means that, like they can’t get a raise, because the numbers don’t work. So there’s this devaluing of us financially. And I think that there’s an entitlement situation with some patients, that’s hard for us. And I wish that would be what I would want. If I could change anything, it would be that patients understood what we do, and, and the value that we bring to them. 


Shawn Zajas  28:59 

I think that’s really well put. And instead of saying, we just need to educate them, I love that you’re like, Well, it’s a marketing campaign. Like, that’s how you. That’s how you, 


Allison House  29:09 

you’ve taught me about branding and marketing. I’ve learned a ton from you, too, in this four year relationship. My practice has really grown because those are things that I didn’t understand, I didn’t go to business school, I just thought I’ll do a really good job and everyone will like me, and they’ll give me good reviews, which they don’t they just send me cards and flowers. Just very nice. But there’s no reviews. You are the one who taught me Oh, you need like a social media presence. And you need to do all these things. So I learned a lot. And and again, I try and share that with other people. 


Shawn Zajas  29:38 

So in the spirit of honor, who in the industry would you honor as an innovator that you that you just like to again bring attention to their name or what they’re doing? 


Allison House  29:51 

I mean, duco is the first person that comes to mind. He’s in Texas, and he is currently the president of Texas, although he might have gone And out last week, he’s, yeah, he is really an innovator he thinks outside the box, and he was on the council for dental practice with me. And unfortunately, because of our ages, both of us are in our late 40s, early 50s, there’s no way that we can go on the board of trustees of the FDA. There’s a huge opportunity for change there. And we do need some young blood there. But I don’t have that kind of time in my schedule as a solo practitioner. I can’t do it. He can’t do it. Most young people can’t do it. But he he’s an 


Shawn Zajas  30:31 

up and comer. So for someone that wants to get involved, would you recommend them? Like are there paths to go straight at starting at the ATA? Or do you recommend starting locally? 


Allison House  30:43 

I think you can start anywhere you learn locally is probably easier. Because it’s nice to know people in your community, you get to know people around you. It’s been wonderful to have somebody call when something goes wrong. I’ll call Rob Rhoda, who’s another innovator and say, Hey, here’s a problem. Can you help me? Or Gary Jones, or I mean, I have a whole community of people in Phoenix that I can call and ask questions. Michael Thompson, oh, my gosh, the list just goes on and on. So locally is important. I would probably start locally, 


Shawn Zajas  31:13 

how did you get so connected to your local community? Like is that through all of a sudden, the letter and next thing, you know, you get introduced to this this community of people that are advocates that are actually, you know, very high on executing? And, you know, like, is that because all of a sudden, like you’re surrounded by so many amazing people? And I don’t I don’t feel like that’s just a common thing. I think some people still kind of stay in their lane. And maybe that fits for them, but not for you. 


Allison House  31:43 

I guess I’ve never stayed in my lane or colored within the lines, or I’m always doing something different. But yeah, I think I was on that new desk committee, I asked three senior dentists to come and talk. I just asked questions, and people kept answering or calling me or inviting me to do something. So yeah, I got to meet lots and lots of people. And I think sometimes we we do paint this brush, like, Oh, they’re just this huge, like Emily law. Tran, you and I both know her, she’s lovely. She’s a little tiny person, but she seems like this colossal thing that you couldn’t talk to. But everyone is a person, everyone has a story. And once you get to the humanity of people, we’re all very much like, 


Shawn Zajas  32:24 

what do you feel like, is like a limiting belief that affects a dentist probably in the first five or 10 years of practice? 


Allison House  32:34 

You’re not enough? I think we do a lot of that. And then I think we get beat down and a lot of ways. And then if you don’t think that you’re, you don’t have that impostor syndrome. And you think that you’re of all that? Yeah, then you get smacked really hard with a lawsuit or something. So bring it down. 


Shawn Zajas  32:54 

So in your growth journey, you are still like, right at your prime, you know, like, we’re not talking about for bodybuilding or weightlifting, no, there will be no more of that, really. But when it comes to influence when it comes to impact, like you’re going to be going probably for another, I don’t know, 1520 years. 


Allison House  33:10 

I’m 49. I’m thinking 15 years, probably, 


Shawn Zajas  33:14 

okay, so in the next 15 years, what is a mindset that you believe that you’re going to have to embrace, to get to where you want to go, that maybe you’re still either working on or, or NSA struggling with, but still in the tension of implementing or I don’t know, 


Allison House  33:32 

the reality is that most practices need to be group practices. It’s very our equipment is getting so expensive to work by yourself, means that you, you have trouble with with paying the bills. And so I really need to bring an associate in. And yet I’ve watched my husband bring four associates in, and it’s a lot of work a lot of time, you can’t just bring somebody in and just hand them a drill. It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to mentor them. And our young dentists need that they desperately need mentoring. But for me to actually do that one on one in my office every day. That sounds scary. So I haven’t done it yet. 


Shawn Zajas  34:07 

Know, is that on like a model side? Like where you’d like to know more of those specifics? Or is that on the actual practicality of actually the energy to mentor to be okay, with mistakes and learning? Like which side? Which part of that do you feel like is gonna be more of a challenge? 


Allison House  34:22 

Do you actually okay with the mistakes and learning because, I mean, we’ve all been there. That’s why it is. It’s the time and energy. I’ve have all these other projects, as you’ve seen with the book, the podcasts, the speaking and so to bring in something else is going to take my time and energy that I’m concerned about and I would hate to fail somebody. 


Shawn Zajas  34:40 

Is there anything you’re doing right now that you would like to bring attention to? Or something that you’re working on that you just like our listeners to know about? Although I don’t think we’ve officially said that we have our podcast is called the authentic dentist podcast. 


Allison House  34:56 

You know, I think of all the things that’s one of the things I’m most proud of Is that podcast? We’re very honest, we talk about lots of challenges that we have. And I think it helps people. And I’ve noticed that people who are not in dentistry learn a lot from a two, I’ll have people I have patients that are text me, oh, I really liked what you said the other day, like, oh my god, patients listening to this. But I do think it impacts people. And I’m hoping that it will live on. 


Shawn Zajas  35:23 

If someone wants to get a hold of you to find out how they can either get involved or simply because they’d like to get your perspective on something. What’s the best way for someone to reach you? 


Allison House  35:33 

I mean, I want to say email. But the problem is that I upped my filter. Because after all the shutdowns with technology, I’m nervous about somebody emailing me, so probably text me. 


Shawn Zajas  35:45 

What about just your Facebook page? Oh, yeah, 


Allison House  35:49 

you can get ahold of me my Facebook page, which is how listen house, or is it health Dental? There’s house Dental, too, but don’t check them out as much. Okay, my Alison house is the one I’m really active with. 


Shawn Zajas  36:00 

Alright, so this is this is a thing. I’m always fascinated by. You graduate dental school at how old 26? All right, so I’ll send him today is walking by Allison at 26. And you have one sentiment that you can express and share to her? What would that be? 


Allison House  36:25 

I mean, just don’t give up? Keep going, it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be okay. There was a lot of moments at 26 where I was like, this is not going to be okay. I don’t know what I’m gonna do next. 


Shawn Zajas  36:33 

Just persevere. That that is awesome. I love that it has to do with actually not giving up because dentistry just hard. It’s just hard. 


Allison House  36:47 

And I don’t know if there’s any other way to I don’t think there’s any other way to practice. I think what we do is hard. There’s a lot of pieces to it. And the humanity piece is really hard to deal with. And we’re not taught that one. It’s hard. And I think it’s the greatest. You know, it’s people don’t like this when I say it, but it’s a puzzle. I mean, come at me with a puzzle. And when I finished the puzzle and put it all together, I’m so excited. It’s just the most amazing feeling in the world that I did this. You love it. It functions. You look great. I’m so proud. 


Shawn Zajas  37:18 

Well, Allison, I’m super excited about the book that you’re working on right now. And I’m working on Yeah. And I’m excited about that book that I think is also in you, or that course, or whatever that is all about how you can help someone find their voice. Because I think that was really transformative. You realizing, wow, I have a voice. I have the ability to change to lead to make an impact. And I don’t think that’s for everybody. But a young dentist that has a similar DNA, I think would get really empowered because there’s so many lessons you’ve learned along the way of when to speak, how to speak, how to share your voice in a way that has more impact. And I think that would really, really greatly impact dentistry. Thank you, but I just wanna say thank you for letting me interview you today. It’s just been an honor. So thank you, you 

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