Thought Leaders: D’Ascoli Orthodontics – keeping up with an evolving profession
Things have changed a lot since Dr. Vincent D’Ascoli started his orthodontic practice nearly 40 years ago, but over the years he has made it a point to keep up with the times and stay innovative. The COVID-19 crisis caused even more disruption to his normal routine and his practice, but once again he rolled with the punches and adapted.
“Coming out of my orthodontic residency in 1981, I was filled with excitement about the positive changes I could make for my patients” he said. “Now, nearly 40 years later, I still get up in the morning and look forward to the joy on a patient’s face as the braces come off and we all marvel at the transformation.”
Orthodontics is a constantly changing field – Invisalign, one of the most popular methods used today, didn’t even hit the market until 1998, and new ways of imaging are constantly being perfected. Today, Dr. D’Ascoli uses the iTero scanner, which creates a 3D reproduction of a patient’s jaw and teeth, enabling him to determine the best course of action for each patient.
Dr. D’Ascoli used creative thinking when he started the OrthoBus Mobile Clinic in 1988. Until the COVID-19 crisis closed area schools, this four-chair rolling orthodontic office visited all the elementary and middle schools in Carson City, Carson Valley and Dayton and was also available for patients at Dayton High School. Short orthodontic adjustments were done on the OrthoBus so patients missed minimal class time and parents didn’t have to take time off work for an office visit.
Virtual consultations with medical professionals have been possible for several years, but most dental practices didn’t take advantage of this option until they were forced to by the COVID-19 crisis. However, Dr. D’Ascoli pioneered this practice well before then, meeting virtually with patients in remote areas, as well as discussing treatment options with patients from the comfort of their homes.
COVID-19 Presents New Challenges
After decades in his profession helping create more than 15,000 smiles, Dr. D’Ascoli may have thought he’d seen it all. Then came March 2020. When Gov. Sisolak ordered all nonessential businesses closed to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, D’Ascoli Orthodontics had to suddenly close all six of its offices (Reno, Carson, Garnerville, Incline Village, Fernley, and South Lake Tahoe), stopping Dr. D’Ascoli’s income and putting his 11 employees out of work.
“I was faced with some hard choices,” he said. “I stopped taking a paycheck to make sure I could pay my team. I wasn’t sure how long the lockdown would last or what would happen to my business. Should I take money out of my pension? Should I personally fund the practice, and how long could I afford to do that?”
When he heard about the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Dr. D’Ascoli approached the national bank where he had his business accounts, but they never returned his calls about applying for a PPP loan. Then, he got a call from Sherilyn Laughlin, his personal relationship manager at The Private Bank by Nevada State Bank, where he had been a client for many years. “My private banker, Sherilyn, reached out to me about the PPP loan opportunity for my California business before the bank with my business accounts did,” he said. “In fact, I tried to contact the other bank via both phone and email, but I never heard back.”
The initial PPP loan application process was complicated and sometimes frustrating, but Laughlin and Dr. D’Ascoli persisted. “Sherilyn was always available,” Dr. D’Ascoli remembers. “She was calling me at 8 p.m. to help resolve issues and answering questions over text message on the weekend.”
Once his loan was approved, the stress of making payroll was removed, and Dr. D’Ascoli was able to keep all his employees. During the lockdown, he continued with online consultations, and when restrictions were partially lifted, he was able to continue with
Invisalign work, new consultations and evaluations.
“The recent crisis showed me the importance of having a relationship with a local banker who knows you and is familiar with your financial situation,” said Dr. D’Ascoli. “If I call Sherilyn with a question, she’ll call me back with an answer in 15 minutes, and if I need a loan to buy an expensive piece of equipment, it gets funded quickly and I’m able to make the purchase. I tell other dental professionals, ‘If you’re not working with a local bank where you have a long-standing relationship, you’re really missing out, because you’re nothing but a number at the larger banks.’”
Dr. D’Ascoli is continuing to serve the needs of his patients in Lake Tahoe and Northern Nevada, keeping up with changes in his profession and embracing new technologies to make the patient experience more comfortable and more effective, and to create even more beautiful smiles.
This content is sponsored by Nevada State Bank, which has 18 branches in Northern Nevada. In the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program, NSB secured approval for 5,137 loans to small businesses in Nevada, impacting more than 56,000 jobs. For more articles about Nevada businesses helped by PPP loans, visit http://www.nsbank.com/cares.
Construction could begin next year and require about 500 to 600 workers, with a permanent workforce starting at 150 to 200 people with potential to expand.