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732: Empowering the Owner-Associate Synergy – Dr. Sean Bahrami

For a practice to be successful, it needs great owner-associate synergy. But how do you find the right owner or associate? To guide both sides through this process, Kirk Behrendt brings in Dr. Sean Bahrami, founder of Dental Wellness Society, to share his strategies for becoming and finding the ideal candidate. To learn the secrets to a successful owner-associate relationship, listen to Episode 732 of The Best Practices Show!

Learn More About Dr. Bahrami:

More Helpful Links for a Better Practice & a Better Life:

Episode Resources:

Main Takeaways for Owners:

  • Have a clear vision for your practice.
  • Find associates that believe in your vision.
  • Choose associates who have drive and motivation.
  • Test associates early to decide if they are the right fit.
  • Empower associates through teamwork. Let go of your ego.
  • Involve your team and associates in the decision-making process.
  • Be open to new ideas. There will always be something you can learn.

Main Takeaways for Associates:

  • Identify your area of interest in dentistry.
  • Seek out mentorship. It is crucial in dentistry.
  • Find a practice you want to make your dental home.
  • Show up early, be an active member, and be a role model.
  • Respectfully introduce new ideas, systems, and procedures.
  • Do follow-up calls to show patients that you care about them.
  • Focus on elevating the practice that you join, not just the money.


0:00 Introduction. 

5:24 The owner-associate relationship, explained. 

7:57 Dr. Bahrami’s background. 

9:08 A tale of two dentists: Dr. Ben and Dr. Sean. 

13:53 The challenges of owning a practice. 

19:02 The challenges of DSOs. 

20:57 Things that make dentistry amazing. 

24:07 The four moments of associate onboarding. 

24:59 Moment 0 & 1: Build a clear vision and recruit accordingly. 

28:53 Moment 2: Test whether the associate is a good fit. 

38:09 Moment 3: Empower your associate. 

42:04 Moment 4: Partnership. 

43:40 The many challenges of recent grads and young dentists. 

47:20 The three moments of associate career development. 

48:11 Moment 1: “Getting your hands wet”. 

49:04 Moment 2: Find mentorship. 

50:58 Moment 3: Find your dental home.

52:56 How to become the ideal associate. 

53:53 Five techniques to become invaluable: Show up early. 

56:57 Five techniques to become invaluable: Be an active member and role model. 

57:21 Five techniques to become invaluable: Introduce new ideas and procedures. 

59:26 Five techniques to become invaluable: Do follow-up calls with patients. 

1:00:48 Five techniques to become invaluable: Think bigger picture. 

1:02:02 Summary, final thoughts, and how to get in touch with Dr. Bahrami. 

1:05:41 Q&A: Figure out how to make your dentistry unique. 

1:07:38 Q&A: The complexity of family in business. 

1:10:05 Q&A: How is associate compensation determined? 

1:11:26 Q&A: Vocalize your vision and goals. 

1:13:54 Q&A: You can't teach drive or motivation. 

1:17:11 Q&A: Your leadership is reflected in the success of your practice. 

1:17:46 Q&A: What is a realistic timeline to find the right associate? 

1:18:56 Q&A: How long should you be an associate prior to a partnership opportunity? 

1:19:41 Q&A: Adjust the value of your practice. 

1:20:52 Q&A: Should you split the team between dentists? 

1:22:16 Q&A: About Dental Wellness Society. 

Dr. Sean Bahrami Bio:

Dr. Sean Bahrami, a native of Germantown, Maryland, obtained his dental education at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. His academic and clinical achievements led to his acceptance into the Diamond Scholars program at the University of Maryland, where he received education on complex restorative dental procedures and full-mouth rehabilitation cases. Upon completing his dental degree, Dr. Bahrami embarked on his professional journey at Supertooth Dental Group, a practice founded by his uncle. Together, they successfully expanded the practice to four locations within a span of five years.

Dr. Bahrami's primary focus lies in cosmetic dentistry, where he integrates technical expertise with a deep commitment to enhancing a patient's smile. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Bahrami is the founder and president of the Dental Wellness Society, a nonprofit organization that focuses on inspiring and empowering dental professionals to achieve holistic well-being and career longevity through comprehensive health education, community support, and lifestyle advocacy. Dr. Bahrami maintains active membership in the American Dental Association, Omricon Kappa Upsilon, and the American Academy of Clear Aligners.