Dr. Ben Turnwald had become discouraged by the negativity and lack of help he was getting from some of the dental organizations to which he belonged. In search of a more positive experience and an opportunity to grow, Turnwald became a member of a local Spear Study Club. It was through this club that he has not only been able to take on more complex cases, but also have a fun learning experience every meeting.
About Dr. Ben Turnwald
Turnwald is currently practicing dentistry at Olde Schaumburg Dental in Schaumburg, Ill. He attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. He next earned his Doctorate in Dental Surgery at the University of Detroit Mercy. While completing his education, Turnwald spent a year providing dental care to medically compromised patients at the Detroit Medical Center. In 2009, he graduated with distinction in removable prosthodontics. He is currently a member of Spear's Faculty Club.
Stagnation Through Negativity
Like many dentists, Turnwald works with just one other dentist in his practice. While he says that in itself has been a great chance to learn, he knew that in order to continue to increase the level of dentistry he wanted to practice, he’d need to join other general practitioners and specialists in professional organizations. Unfortunately, he quickly realized some of these groups were not focused on progress.
“I’ve actually stopped participating in most dental organizations,” Turnwald said. “Their conversations tend to go to the negative.”
Because of that negativity, Turnwald found there was a lack of enthusiasm for dentistry in these groups. That meant no one was sharing cases or willing to help each other.
“It was definitely disappointing,” he said. “But luckily I was given the chance to join a Spear Study Club.”
How Spear Is Different
Now part of a Spear Study Club for the last four years, Turnwald said he immediately noticed differences between Spear’s style of study clubs and others.
“With Spear dentists it’s always positive and more fun,” he said. “To be in a group with other doctors, including specialists, and share their expertise is so helpful.
“Sometimes we look at an actual case from one of our practices as well as doing the Spear module” he continued. “It’s huge, knowing you can bring in a case – one you don’t know what to do with – and get help.”
It’s also interesting and informative to hear the different opinions and varying schools of thought, Turnwald added. Similar to his experience at the annual Faculty Club Summit, he values collaborating with a like-minded group of dentists who value continual improvement through education.
“Spear’s philosophy is to make dentistry more fun, and then either more profitable or give you more time off,” he said. “And it’s worked for me. I’m having more fun and I’m doing bigger cases, ones that previously I never would have felt comfortable taking on. I’m more confident.”
Turnwald explained that he feels his eyes have been opened by his membership in a Spear Study Club, which is one of the benefits of being a Spear Faculty Club member. In fact, learning has happened quickly.
“My co-members practice at such a high level. I always learn something and find myself implementing those things,” he continued. “At first I was overwhelmed – I couldn’t begin to imagine I would ever see the things they did. But now I get it.
“(Spear Study Club) has completely transformed the way I practice – from the moment the patient walks in the door, to my clinical expertise and case presentation.”
Complex Cases, Simply Fun
Thanks to Spear Study Club, Turnwald said there’s been a shift in the way he thinks about dentistry and the way he practices it. For example, prior to joining the club, he did not have the opportunity to do large comprehensive cases. Now he is starting to take these cases on regularly.
“I’m trying to take on those big cases regularly," Turnwald said. "Of course, often that’s dependent on whether the patient can afford it, but it starts with making them aware of their options. And when you’re confident, they recognize that. So they’re more likely to agree to treatment.”
Being part of the club has been good for his staff, too. They regularly use Spear Online to master the same procedures he’s been studying with his club so that the entire team is on the same page.
While all of the learning and practice growth has been wonderful, Turnwald said, that’s not what surprised him most about Spear Study Club.
“I didn’t realize how fun it would be,” he said. “We have a great time and I always walk away with something.”
Since Spear Study Club membership is included in his Faculty Club membership, this is just one more way that he can take advantage of the Spear Ecosystem.