Dental Fuel Episode 7: Team Mistake with Dr. Emma Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Growing your team can be challenging as a new dentist. On Dental Fuel Episode 7, Dr. Emma Guzman shares her experience in making a mistake when working in a team and how it shaped her growth!

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 7 on Apple Podcasts

Dental Fuel Episode 7: Team Mistake Transcript

In Dental Fuel episode 7, Dr. Guzman speaks about a team mistake.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

So, Emma, I know that you’re at Tend now and you said you’re a senior associate Is that correct? 

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo


Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Very cool. And you are managing a large chain is what it sounds like.

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo


Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Building a team is huge and really crucial to the success of everyone’s daily work.

What mistakes have you encountered when building up this team and what pearls would you give to our listeners to help overcome different struggles or mistakes or you know, anything that you’ve encountered that you’ve had difficulty with with your team?

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Okay, I would say do not let things linger. When there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, address it immediately.

And I would say that has been my biggest difficulty. Whereas I just like, I want to make sure I get all the facts and I’m researching and I’m talking to multiple people.

And then by the time I go to address the situation, it’s either irrelevant because like it happened three weeks ago, and then now like, it sounds ridiculous to bring it up now because people don’t even remember what I’m talking about.

Ot It has become so much bigger than what it was right because especially when you have a big team, you work with a lot of people what ends up happening is the telephone, right?

Dr. Guzman said this and by the time it goes to the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth person it comes back starting with “Dr. Guzman is trying to get me fired”.

Wait, what? I just asked, why didn’t you come in today? So I would say 100% my biggest pearl is don’t let things linger.

Because I don’t like conflict. I don’t like conflict. I tend to avoid it. And that is one of the biggest things that you have to deal with when you’re managing a team.

There are so many people there’s so many personalities. There are so many ways that people could perceive things. There’s a lot of emotions involved.

Dentistry is high-stress. Dentistry is very high-stress. And it’s not a comfortable environment to work in if people are not getting right.

So it’s super important to nip things in the bud and very quickly, very quickly handle the situation. And knowing your team knowing the personalities of the people in your team, knowing when is the right time because maybe you have to give people five minutes or even an hour before you address it.

But do not make the mistake that I made before and you know, you’re just three weeks later and people are like what are you talking about? Like I’m not upset about that. And I’m like but I know you were upset three weeks ago and they’re just like, okay, I’m not even thinking about it anymore.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

I hate confrontation. It is very difficult. It’s difficult for me to manage. I avoid it. It just gives me the “ick” you know. That’s a nice way to say it.

Yeah, but it’s so important, especially in a leadership role as a lead dentist or you know, even if you’re an associate dentist to learn to help manage a team and to have those tough conversations.

I think that it helps you build yourself up more as a dentist, but also as a leader in front of your team.

Emma, have you felt as a new dentist that people have been receptive to your leadership?

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Hmm, I would say yes, because of my demanding personality. And now at times, you know, I could be bold, I say how it is, I project my voice, I command the room right and I say because of that, you know, they respect it.

Because I have seen you know, with other associates who you know, may be a little bit quieter or you know, are not as bold in the way they speak that they’re like, oh, yeah, the other doctor.

And I’m like, no, that’s Dr. So and So let’s show some respect.

You know, at times, addressing the doctors by their first names, absolutely, yeah.

You know, so I think that I demand and command that respect, so it’s never really been an issue in terms of people receiving that. And I think because of that also when it comes to the confrontation aspect, I try to manage how I’m perceived because I’m like, I also don’t want to be too aggressive, right?

I want to make sure that it’s being received well so that they can learn and grow from it.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

For dentists who struggle with that. What advice would you provide to them? How can they make their presence be no?

Dr. Guzman-Vizcarrondo

Yeah, one I would say it starts in the chair, right? It starts with what we do, right?

If you have confidence in your work, you’re doing great dentistry. Your team is going to see that and respect that, right?

You have to lead by example, you can’t tell the team to be there 15 minutes early when you show up 15 minutes late, right?

You know, there are certain things if there’s, you know, practices that you’re setting in the office, you have to lead by example, because the one thing that you don’t want to be is a hypocrite right?

You don’t want to say, oh, you have to do this, you have to do that, but you’re not doing it yourself. So that’s the first thing, right? You have to lead by example.

You know, let your dentistry prove who you are as a lead dentist, right? Prove who you are as a member of that team, right?

Give your team members like you have to allow them to buy in, right? Give them you know, a steak, give them a steak in the office, right?

Like, oh, you know, you want to learn how to do this? Let’s get let’s get a rep in to teach you, right? You’re interested in that? How can we help? You like technology? Let’s, let’s see how you can help manage the office page, right?

You have to have the team buy-in right to what you’re doing and what you stand for. And then you’ll be able to command the room, right? And after the fact, where they say like, all right, Dr. Guzman is speaking, you know, so everyone, we’re gonna listen, we’d like to pay attention, right?

But it starts with your dentistry and you have to lead by example, and your team has to buy in.

Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas

Join us on our next episode with Dr. Guzman shares some advice for listeners.


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.