Dental Fuel Episode 6: Financial Mistake with Dr. Emma Guzman-Vizcarrondo

On Dental Fuel episode 6, Dr. Emma Guzman speaks FACTS, sharing a financial mistake she has made and a reminder to know your worth!

Very insightful and a lesson that we can all learn from!

Dr. Emma Guzman is a General and Cosmetic Dentist, practicing in New York City.

She completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and was a general practice resident at Bronx Care in the Bronx, New York.

Dr. Guzman currently practices in Brooklyn and her main focus is changing her clients’ lives by improving their smiles and ultimately their health.

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo is a member of the American Dental Association, National Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, and Delta Sigma Delta Dental Fraternity.

She is a member of the Second District Dental Society New Dentist Committee. She is dedicated to mentoring, volunteerism, and service. Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and her parents immigrated from Livingston, Guatemala.

She has five siblings and several nieces and nephews. She enjoys dancing, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

🎙️ Listen to Dental Fuel Episode 6 on Apple Podcasts

Dental Fuel Episode 6: Financial Mistake Transcript

In Dental Fuel episode 6, Dr. Guzman speaks about a financial mistake.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Emma, pivoting over to a business or financial mistake, what is a business or financial mistake that you have made in your career? So far?

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

I would say that a big, big, big, big financial mistake is not knowing my worth.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Oh, that’s a good one.

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Not knowing my worth as a young dentist, a new dentist, a woman of color, right and essentially in the beginning of my career.

Now, aside from like, the scary practices that you go in, and you’re like, I definitely can’t work here, right? But just taking what they offered, right?

Like, now, okay, this is the standard, the standard when we graduated, you know, at least in New York City, okay, $500 a day. If you were offering me $500 a day, okay. I didn’t negotiate anything else I didn’t.

I didn’t ask to be W-2 because that’s another thing too, right?

All these little things like they’re telling you in senior year of dental school and residency, that you really don’t understand because you’re not in it, when they’re just like, don’t let them make you do 1099 It’s supposed to be W2 and you’re just like, I don’t even know what you’re talking about, right?

And then when you go and then like okay, here’s your 1099, oh, like later so I feel like I’ve heard about this before, but I don’t remember why I’m not supposed to do this.

Oh, $500 a day, okay, and 1099 right? And, and that’s kind of how it was a lot of the places in the city and, you know, I like I’ve been practicing for six years. It wasn’t until I was at Tend where I was W2.

So it was like I’ve always been 1099. Where essentially am I really 1090? Am I carrying my equipment to that office? No. But it was essentially accepting whatever you were offering me, right?

Having conversations in the beginning when they’re saying, okay, we’re going to do $500 a day and then you know, in three months, we’ll visit that he paid off reduction. Cool, right, then it’s nine months later, and we’ve never had that conversation and then Im also not bringing it up, right?

So things like that where you are losing out on money, right?

I’m looking at my production and I’m like, I produce way more than $500 a day. But who am I to say anything to my boss? I just graduated from school.

So for me, and it’s just like and I never thought about it until I read the questions and I was just like, what would be an as not being a business owner,  I’m like what would be a financial mistake?

And I’m like, not knowing my worth.

Because there’s been too many conversations where I’ve had with my colleagues, you know, graduated the same year as me.

Like, what percentage are you getting paid? Oh, 30, is that not normal? Is that not what I’m supposed to be getting?

You know, the same year as me, asking for exactly what they want, you know, telling their bosses exactly what they want, getting insurance, having all these things but I’m just here like, thank you for my paycheck, right?

Like I’m not working for it.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Yeah, I resonate so much with that. So Im at an FQHC and I had a commitment that I had to do with public health and I needed a job, I mean, I applied everywhere I was having a really hard time getting a job and so pretty much the first one that bit, and thank God it’s been a great place to be, but the first one that they were like here, this is what we’re offering you you in or out?

I was like I’m in.

Instead of taking a step back and being like, hey, let’s negotiate a little bit. Is there any wiggle room I bring this to the table, XYZ?

I think that now if I were to go somewhere else, the conversation would be different, I would hope. But I completely resonate with what you’re what you’re sharing with us today.

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Yeah. Yeah, it’s still hard now, right? Like I’m playing back like, okay, like, this is how much I’m going to ask for. And then you get there and you’re just like, oh, what are you offering?

Like, I don’t know what it is. And it’s just like I’m not used to doing that right? It just wasn’t a thing like people never spoke about money in my household right?

Like it’s like kind of weird, why are we talking about money? I don’t know how much people made.

So it wasn’t until I was older that I had my other colleagues that are just like, oh yeah, how much you’re getting paid?

And I’m like, we’re, we’re talking about money?  

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Yeah, that’s still kind of weird for me, but yes!

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Right, we’re allowed to do that!

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

It should be talked about!

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

And it wasn’t until my current position that I told my girlfriend that I was applying and she’s like, ask for this much.

And I was like that’s so much. I was like it’s so much right?

So, and then me playing myself, like I asked for a little bit less than what she said because I felt like what she said was too much.

And they’re just like, okay!

And I was like wait, no, actually this! And they’re like no. I was like that was so easy. I should have asked for more right?

Because now when you’re trying to negotiate they’re like you already said your number and you said your number.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Yeah, you showed your cards. You showed your cards, and they were too low.

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Right! And even at one of my other jobs that I initially applied to and this was maybe I was about a year out. He was just like, okay, what would you like to get paid?

And I was just staring at him. I don’t know.

Well, what do you usually get paid your an associate?

Like I don’t even know how to respond to that. And that was because I didn’t want to say a number that would sound disrespectful to my potential boss or sound like “whose this new doctor coming in thinking she could ask me for whatever she wants?”.

But that’s totally in my head because people do it every day, right?

So I would say that’s a huge financial mistake because I know I lost out on money those first two, three years I was practicing.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Oh, absolutely. I completely agree with that.

So for our listeners:

  • Know Your Worth
  • Ask

You know the worst they can say is no, you likely won’t offend them.

But it will probably lead to a dialogue and a conversation and perhaps get some feedback on better ways to ask in the future.

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo


Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Join us on our next episode where Dr. Guzman talks about mistakes and challenges when leading a team.    


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.