Music, Physics, A Sailboat and Dentistry

Profile: Dr. David Matthews

Practice: David R. Matthews Dental Group, LLC

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Music, Physics, A Sailboat and Dentistry

A music teacher with a penchant for physics, Dr. Dave Matthews changed careers after ten years of teaching music to become a dentist. A graduate of the University of Oregon in 1970, Dr. Matthews taught music in Dallas, Oregon until 1980 when a compelling desire to practice dentistry took him to Oregon Health and Science University’s Dental School. After graduating in 1984, he started his second professional career, this time as a dentist.

For the next 12 years, he practiced what he felt was excellent general dentistry. But he hit a production plateau that he couldn’t break free from. As part of this, Dr. Matthews had problems effectively managing his employees and his new patients had dropped precipitously to an average of four per month. He didn’t know why. As he was untrained in practice management, including how to best hire, train and deal with employees and market for new patients, he was at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

“We weren’t productive, we had no office procedures and I had no skill in confronting people positively,” said Dr. Matthews. At the time, he was producing about $200,000 per year.

His wife Carol was still a schoolteacher when he begged her to train as an office manager at his practice. She commented that, “At that time the staff said that he didn’t talk to them. That sure didn’t help matters!”

It was at that point when Dr. Matthews turned to hiring practice management consultants in an attempt to reverse what he considered to be a very negative downward slope.

And it reversed in a big, big way.

Last year, his practice produced over $1.3 million and averaged 44 new patients per month. So, over the past 9 years of receiving practice management consulting, Dr. Matthews increased his production 650 percent and his new patients by over 1000 percent!

Carol Matthews said, “He has become a much happier person and an extremely better manager of people and all the other business aspects of running a practice.”

Dr. Matthews said, “I’ve always been interested in helping people in some way. Practicing dentistry allows me to do that, not only with my patients, but also with my staff. I love helping my staff grow in competence, not only as employees, but also as people. The ones who ‘get it’ and apply it are great to see.”

“We continue to use the consultants who helped us achieve this growth, because it makes life easier, more enjoyable and I gain more skills to create a better practice,” Dr. Matthew explained.

His success in dentistry has afforded him a rich life. He and Carol met in high school and have been married for over 37 years with two grown children. “Sailing is a big hobby. I own a 42-foot sailboat and get out whenever I can,” he said.

He didn’t leave music entirely however. He still plays the saxophone and performed in a big band in Eugene, Oregon for 15 years.

Dr. Matthews said, “I’m a much happier person and am truly getting what I want out of life. What more could you ask?”

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