Dental Fuel Episode 3: Team Mistake with Dr. Tony Mennito

In Dental Fuel episode 3, Dr. Mennito shares about learning from the mistakes that a previous practice manager made that helped him learn how to best communicate with his team.

Dr. Tony Mennito. Dr. Anthony Mennito (Tony) is a private practice dentist as well as an adjunct faculty member at the MUSC College of Dental Medicine in Charleston, South Carolina.

His dental practice, Expertise Dental, focuses on using technology to comprehensively care for his patients while helping to enhance the aesthetics of their smiles.

He is an experienced user of digital systems made by Planmeca, Dentsply Sirona, 3Shape, and iTero and is heavily reliant on digital design and 3D printing for treatment planning complex cases.

He lectures nationally and internationally and currently has 21 published papers on the topics of digital dentistry and dental materials.

🎙️ Listen to Dental Fuel Episode 3 on Apple Podcasts

Dental Fuel Episode 3: Team Mistake Transcript

In this episode, Dr. Mennito talks about learning from the mistake a previous practice manager made that helped him learn to best communicate with his team.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Building a team is crucial for the success of our practices. What mistakes have you made that have allowed you to learn and grow from?

Dr. Tony Mennito

Well, it’s interesting the first dentist that I worked for, was actually a dental assistant right out of dental school because, long story, but when I moved to Charleston, I wasn’t able to take the board exam for South Carolina for like six months so I had to be a dental assistant basically, and I worked in a practice where the dentists just was not a good manager of people.

You know, there are ways that you can communicate with your staff that are positive and that are obviously going to be toxic, and this was a little bit of a toxic environment.

So I learned a lot from that experience. And now I’m in a practice where we have a phenomenal culture. I mean, I think that’s really important to have a culture where everybody’s on the same page within the practice.

And I’ve been in quite a few practices where I’ve been an associate and it varies in each practice, really, it’s quite different, but building that culture, and it’s Amanda who’s built that culture, she’s done that because, you know, she’s the boss and it’s her practice and she’s really fostered that. She’s done a phenomenal job, of getting people who have bought into that vision.

And it’s all about the dental patient experience, you know, doing the best dentistry you can making sure the patient has as positive an experience as they can, and finding the people who who are willing to come along that journey with you.

And if they’re not, then it’s okay. You may not be a fit for our practice, you know, just because you’re a great hygienist or a great assistant or front desk, you know, you may not be right. If you don’t have that same vision so I think having the right culture in a practice is really important.

And if you’re the practice owner, it’s up to you to define what that is. You can’t just expect your team to, you know, to come up with that on their own. You have to kind of set the vision for that practice and outline what it is and review it day in and day out.

We talk in our morning meetings about this quite a bit. What are we trying to accomplish today and just reminding ourselves what our purpose is every day? So I think that’s a really important thing.

Notice I didn’t give any mistakes that I made as far as this, and to be honest, I think the one mistake that I have when dealing with people is it’s hard for me, is I hate conflict. So it’s hard for me to if there’s something that needs to be addressed for me to be the one to do that right. Because I’m just not a fan of conflict.

So luckily, I’m not the boss, so a lot of times I don’t have to go and have to make that hard decision.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Hey, it’s nice to punt our problems sometimes.

Dr. Tony Mennito

It can be for sure, yeah.


Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS

Tanya Sue Maestas, DDS

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas graduated from The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston in 2018. During her dental school career, she served as the national American Student Dental Association President and became involved in organized dentistry. After graduating, she completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residency in 2019. Upon completion of her residency, she returned to the El Paso Borderland community where she serves as a Dental Director at La Clinica de Familia in Chaparral, New Mexico. She also serves as a faculty member at the Woody L Hunt School of Dental Medicine in El Paso, Texas. She remains involved in organized dentistry and holds various leadership roles in organizations including the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, Texas Academy of General Dentistry, Hispanic Dental Association, and others. She currently serves on the ADA Council on Communications and previously completed the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership Program. She was recognized as an ADA 10 under 10 winner, Incisal Edge 40 under 40, and previously nominated as one of Texas New Dentists of the Year. She currently hosts New Dentists on the Block where she helps showcase the New Dentist story and build connections with new dentists around her and Dental Fuel a podcast dedicated to sharing and learning from industry leaders’ mistakes. She has a commitment to providing dental care to the Borderland community and hopes to encourage the next generation of dentists to give back to the community.