Financial Mistake of Chasing Tax Breaks with Dr. Bell

Host: Dr. Tanya Sue Maestas
Guest: Dr. Jennifer Bell
Edited By: Candy Velez CRDH

Today, we speak with Dr. Jennifer Bell, who candidly discusses a financial mistake she made in her career and how it relates to taxes.

Join us as we explore the often-overlooked aspects of dental finances and their implications on a dentist’s practice and personal life.

The Pressure of Depreciating Assets

Dr. Bell begins by highlighting the pressures dentists face to acquire depreciating assets for their practices. She refers to this as “chasing the unicorn,” the belief that acquiring more assets will help reduce tax liability.

In the early years of practice, there is often a desire to acquire various items to enhance the dental practice and reduce taxes. However, Dr. Bell points out that this mindset can lead to unforeseen financial challenges down the line.

“There’s a lot of pressure for this depreciating assets and sort of chasing this unicorn, if you will, that as you acquire things and purchase things, it helps reduce your tax liability.” 

Dr. Jennifer Bell

The Reality of Mortgage Payments

As the years go by and the practice grows, dentists may find themselves burdened with mortgage payments on the assets they acquired in previous years.

Dr. Bell emphasizes that these mortgage payments do not provide any tax breaks and are deducted from the practice’s profitability. This means that dentists are paying the total tax burden on the mortgage payments, reducing the amount of money they take home.

Dr. Bell shares her own experience, recounting the lean times she and her business partner faced when they realized the impact of their mortgage payments on their profitability.

They had acquired various assets for their practice, such as a CBCT and a Cerec, all valuable pieces of technology, but came with significant mortgage payments. These payments had to be serviced from the practice’s profits, resulting in lower salaries.

“But there definitely were times where our mortgage payments were 20 grand a month working through all of these different assets that we had acquired. And all that is doing is coming off the profitability of the owner, doc.”

Dr. Jennifer Bell

The Attraction to Shiny Things

Dr. Bell acknowledges that dentists are often attracted to shiny new technologies and equipment that can enhance their practices. She explains that this desire stems from a need to stay fresh and engaged in their profession.

However, she emphasizes the importance of understanding the financial responsibility of acquiring these assets.

“We are attracted to those things because I think we have a desire to stay new and fresh in our profession. And quite frankly, class two fillings get pretty boring.” 

Dr. Jennifer Bell

She advises dentists to give ample time for onboarding and training their teams when introducing new technologies. It’s crucial to ensure that these investments are utilized to their greatest potential so that they contribute to the practice’s profitability.

Dr. Bell admits that while she wouldn’t classify her experience as a mistake, she regrets not fully understanding the long-term financial implications of her acquisitions.

The Financial Responsibility of Dentists

Dr. Bell’s insights shed light on the financial responsibility dentists face in managing their dental practices. It’s not just about acquiring assets to reduce tax liability; it’s about understanding the impact of mortgage payments on profitability and personal income.

Dentists must carefully consider their investments’ ROI and ensure they clearly understand their expense line items. Dentists can avoid the pitfalls of excessive debt and reduced salaries by being mindful of their financial obligations.

It’s essential to balance investing in the latest technologies and equipment and maintaining a healthy financial outlook for the practice and its owners.


Dr. Jennifer Bell’s insights into the financial mistakes she encountered in her dental career shed light on the often-overlooked aspects of dental finances.

Her experience serves as a valuable lesson for dentists, highlighting the need for better financial guidance and understanding in the profession. By being mindful of the long-term financial implications of their decisions, dentists can strike a balance between acquiring assets and maintaining a healthy financial outlook.

Looking ahead, dentists must prioritize financial education and seek guidance from professionals who specialize in dental finances. By doing so, they can navigate the complexities of managing a dental practice and avoid the financial pitfalls that hinder their success.

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Dr. Jennifer Bell

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Thought Leadership Summary 

Dental Fuel aims to bring these unspoken topics to the forefront of dental conversation, encouraging dentists to have a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects of their profession.

By addressing these topics head-on, we can empower dentists to make informed decisions and achieve financial success in their practices.

Until next time, keep learning, keep exploring, and fuel your dental dreams with knowledge!

Dr. Jennifer Bell, DDS, FAGD, FICD

Dr. Jennifer Bell, DDS, FAGD, FICD

Dr. Jennifer Bell is a native of Lexington, North Carolina. She earned her undergraduate and dental graduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, she completed the Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Fayetteville, NC. In 2010, Dr. Bell along with her business partner started a general dentistry practice in Holly Springs, NC. They opened their second practice in Angier, NC in 2017. Their practices treat all ages and complexity of cases. Her main interests include rehabilitation cases, complex prosthodontic cases, laser dentistry, and sleep disorders. Dr. Bell has earned a fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) where she has served the North Carolina state chapter as president, committee chair, national delegate, and most recently as executive director. In addition to her work with the AGD, Dr. Bell is an active member in the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society, American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and a fellow in the International College of Dentists. In March 2018, she completed and graduated from the Kois Continuum in Seattle, WA. Outside of dentistry, Dr. Bell is active with Kiwanis International and other local philanthropic organizations in her community. Dr. Jennifer Bell is an innovative and fresh voice in the world of dentistry. She brings a unique perspective on digital innovation, practice management, team building, and leadership development through an engaging and interactive style. Dr. Bell is a frequent contributor to leading dental publications, speaks on a variety of relevant and timely topics, and co-hosts a popular, weekly dental industry podcast. Dr. Bell and her husband Brian reside in Holly Springs, NC with their three children.