DentalDentist Q&A

20 Questions: Gregory K. Inman, DMD

Gregory K. Inman, DMD, is currently in private practice in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Inman earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville in 1990. He went on to attend University of Louisville School of Dentistry, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) in 1994, a certificate in advanced education in general dentistry in 1995, and served a residency in orthodontics in 1997. He is currently licensed in both dentistry and orthodontics in Kentucky.
Dr. Inman served an associateship with his father, Dr. Gary O. Inman, in 1997 – 1998 before forming a partnership with him in 1999 at Inman Orthodontics; they now have practices in Elizabethtown, Campbellsville and Glasgow, Kentucky. Dr. Inman is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Southern Association of Orthodontists, Kentucky Association of Orthodontists, University of Louisville Orthodontic Alumni, American Dental Association, Kentucky Dental Association, Pennyrile Dental Association, Hardin County Dental Association, Hardin County A.M. Rotary, and University of Louisville Alumni Association. He currently serves as board member of University of Louisville Alumni BOD and University of Louisville Orthodontic Alumni, and secretary-treasurer of Southern Association of Orthodontists.
When did you first decide to become a dentist? Why?
My father is an orthodontist, so I have been around dentistry [and orthodontics] since I was three. I was able to see that he was in control of his own schedule and didn’t have that many disruptive emergencies. I liked the thought of the autonomy. I shadowed some surgeons and other physicians during college to be sure of my decision. Looking at medicine now, this was a great choice.
How did you choose the dental school you attended?
I chose the University of Louisville because it was in-state and familiar to me. My father attended the University of Louisville School of Dentistry until I was nine, so I spent a lot of time there with him. It is 40-minute drive from my hometown of Elizabethtown, and I also knew a number of the professors.
What surprised you the most about dental school?
Some of the “politics” were a shock. If someone is going to specialize, they can run into some negative issues from those in general dentistry. Some don’t understand why you aren’t wanting to become a general dentist. Plus, a small number of the teachers and students have trouble with those that want to specialize. In addition, it was also a very difficult work load overall for the first two years.
Why did you decide to specialize in orthodontics?
I decided to specialize in orthodontics because I like the biophysics and geometry mixed with esthetics. Also, it’s a challenge to get patients to accept, understand, and tolerate all of the treatment that they need in their case. Experience and specific wording can educate and help convince patients to do the treatment that they need. Also, staying current with the best techniques for patients decreases the problems that can occur.
If you had it to do all over again, would you still become an orthodontist? (Why or why not? What would you have done instead?)
I honestly can’t think of anything else that I would rather be doing. I’m sure there is something, but I have never come across it. I never have to drag myself into work.
Has being an orthodontist met your expectations? Why?
Yes, being an orthodontist has met my expectations. It has been a great 15 years so far and I think the best is still to come.
What do you like most about being an orthodontist?
Orthodontics is very much about delayed gratification. It takes at least 12 months for simple cases to be completed, but it is awesome to help someone gain more pride and confidence in themselves. Two-thirds of our cases are on school-age patients and it is often a thrill to watch the transformation they are going through.
What do you like least about being an orthodontist?
It is difficult to explain, but dealing with some of the public can be very annoying. Some people have a lot of stress, preconceived hang-ups, and personality traits that make them challenging. Much about our culture seems to make some people less trusting. But ninety-five percent of our patients and families are great and very enjoyable to work with.
What was it like finding a job in your chosen career field? What were your options and why did you decide what you did?
I knew I was coming home to join my father’s practice all along. We had decided to work together for a year and a half, then proceed with a partnership or I would look elsewhere. I didn’t try to radically change things when I first arrived, which helped with my father and the staff that had been there for many years. Slowly I assumed responsibilities and made changes. Still, there were times when I’m sure that I frustrated them and likewise they did me, but nothing was so bad that it become a problem.
Describe a typical day at work.
After the morning routine, I drop the kids off at school and head to work. Being the first one in, I have to turn on whatever lights, compressors, or equipment that is needed. Then I pass by my upstairs desk to check if anything landed there after I left the day or week before. Next I go to the private office area to discuss and write up treatment plans of cases starting soon (especially if it’s a Monday or Tuesday). Each morning we have a huddle with our staff to discuss the schedule, office issues, or announcements that they all need to know about. Then I meet with our treatment coordinator to discuss that day’s case presentations. From 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. I see patients (on Mondays and Thursdays). On Tuesday and Wednesday, I drive to the satellite offices. I take a 45- to 60-minute lunch, sometimes with referring dentist or other business partners. Then again from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. I see patients with a lot of quick afternoon appointments for kids after school. I end the day by finishing up any open issues of the day. Then I leave to go to one of my children’s practices or events.
On average: How many hours a week do you work? How many hours do you sleep per night? How many weeks of vacation do you take?
I work approximately 40 hours a week in four days, Monday to Thursday. Sometimes I might work an hour on Friday mornings with paperwork and other office issues. I generally get seven hours of sleep a night. I try to take four to six full weeks off per year plus a few other individual days. It depends on the need and my kids’ schedules.

Are you satisfied with your income?

I am very satisfied, but of course I would be glad if it increased.
If you took out educational loans, is/was paying them back a financial strain?
I did take out loans. My loans were not a strain to pay off. I was very conservative with the house and cars that I bought early on.
In your position now, knowing what you do – what would you say to yourself 10 years ago?
Look for continuing educations that would have helped with the human resources of our practice. One of my most difficult daily challenges is dealing with the 20 employees that we have on staff.
What information/advice do you wish you had known when you were beginning dental school?
If you want to get into a dental specialty, be at the top of your class to keep doors open. Be prepared to work very hard, especially for the first two years of dental school. Time management is everything. You will be taking so many classes that you have to study more than you ever have. Not that the classes are harder than undergrad, just a higher volume.

From your perspective, what is the biggest problem in health care today?

Decisions are being made be those that are not in the “real world.” Nancy Pelosi has never had to live like 99% of Americans. Medicine lost control a long time ago. Dentistry has kept some control. My physician friends are very frustrated with the outside influences on how they practice medicine. Insurance plans dictate treatment decisions, hospitals mandate procedure numbers, and patients are very litigious.
Where do you see orthodontics in 10 years?
Hopefully, continuing to deliver quality care for a fair fee that is a “huge win” for both the patient and the practitioner. Orthodontics, if still free from outside influences of third party, government, etc., can deliver great care for a fair price. That allows the practitioner to do good work, appropriately pay their employees, and make a satisfactory income.
Do you have family, and if so, do you have enough time to spend with them? How do you balance work and life?
Dentistry and orthodontics are great for allowing balance in a doctor’s life. You make your own schedule depending on how hard you want to work or how much you want to make. We have a limited amount of nighttime and weekend emergencies. Overall, it’s a very predictable schedule.
What types of outreach/volunteer work do you do, if any?
My wife and I do a lot of coaching various sports, plus volunteering in our community and our church. And I’m currently on the executive board of the Southern Association of Orthodontist, which helps keep our profession at the highest ethical and quality levels.
Do you have any final piece of advice for students interested in pursuing orthodontics as a career?
Orthodontics is the greatest profession in the world for someone looking to be in health care but retain control over their cases and career. It allows a practitioner to help their patients with limited outside influence.

About the Ads
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  • J
    JR
  • March 31, 2013
Orthodontics seems awesome. They provide a good service. You simply can't beat their lifestyle and they are well-compensated commensurate to their clinical skills and business acumen. Kudos to organized dentistry for taking care of their profession!
Signed,
First-year medicine resident
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  • P
    PHC
  • April 4, 2013
I'm starting my residency in Orthodontics this fall and reading this article really made me appreciate what a wonderful specialty I am going into. Thank you

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