Dr. John Cretzmeyer has been practicing dentistry for more than four decades. The experienced dentist has not only become one of the top members of his profession, but he has built a practice on a unique philosophy. Cretzmeyer has created a practice for the ‘dental phobic’. He wants to provide those that are afraid of visiting the dentist a safe haven where they will be greatly taken care of.
A graduate of St. John’s University and the dental program at the University of Minnesota, Cretzmeyer spends much of his out of office hours pursuing the sports that he loves. An avid marathon runner and tennis player, Dr. Cretzmeyer can be found pounding the pavement or doing a sporting event when not running his business.
Dr. Cretzmeyer recently sat down with Total Prestige Magazine to talk about his career, dental practice, and life outside of dentistry.
Dr. Cretzmeyer, you have worked hard to make your practice perfect for ‘dental phobic’ individuals. Why have you targeted these patients to help them get over their fears?
I was a dental phobic myself. I did not want my patients to experience the level of discomfort I had to endure — no novocaine as a child. I also felt patients deserved better communication in a non-judgmental dialogue. I had heard too many stories of patients being scolded and lectured as if they were children.
Your website states you ‘cater to cowards’. What led you to this creative and innovative way to market your practice?
It is a basic catch phrase that dental phobics can identify with.
Dr. Cretzmeyer, you have been practicing dentistry for more than 40 years. What motivated you to pursue dentistry ?
I was pre-med in undergraduate school. After looking at the future of medicine and the government encroachment into healthcare, I opted to go down the dental school path in hopes of postponing the inevitable same encroachment into dental care.
Four decades is a long time, how has the profession changed over the years?
The advances in materials and technology have opened up remarkable outcomes in esthetics and function. The ability for patients to maintain their dentition for a lifetime is very rewarding. The downside is the ever increasing interference in patient care by the insurance industry with a blind eye by the government.
With so many advances in dentistry, do you find patients are coming to you in better or worse oral condition today?
In general, patients have fewer decay type issues, but an increased prevalence of gum disease. There is a greater demand for esthetic treatments and for non-removable tooth replacements.
After 40 years of practicing dentistry, how do you keep your passion for the job going?
I take great pride in the quality of the treatment I am able to provide with the support of a very dedicated, knowledgeable, and compassionate team of doctors, hygienists, dental assistants, and business, assistants. The fast pace of technology improvements and conversion to the digital world is very exciting to me.
As owner of Dentistry for the Entire Family, how do you balance the workload of seeing patients and running the practice?
I thrive on being busy and productive. This is not a 40 hour a week job. One has to maintain focus to address business tasks in the “lulls” of clinical demands. As I get my clinical schedule done in a four day week, this allows Fridays and parts of weekends to “run the business”.
You are an avid runner along with your wife Barb. The two of you have completed more than 100 marathons. Is running your secret for a healthy marriage and business?
I have been fortunate to have a wife that enjoys all the physical activities that I do like running, skiing, tennis, sailing, kayaking, biking, weight training; and can participate at a high level. A high note was when we were the top USA finishers in the New York Marathon in the 50 and over division.
One thing you are known for is your Christmas light displays. How did you start with your displays and is it something you can’t stop doing even if you wanted to?
The Christmas lights started very small, but as we changed landscape and structures there were more things to decorate. After 30 years, I made the decision to “stop”. The public response was overwhelming. I received so many emails, letters, and gifts “begging” me to continue that I carried on for another three years. Last year, I cut back by 100,000 lights. We only plugged in what was left up and still worked. We only decorated things that were able to be reached without climbing or ladders. I anticipate that the squirrels have diminished the working lights some more. It will be a gradual fade away.
What advice would you give young dentists just starting their professional careers?
Manage your debt by putting the big house and new cars on hold. It is very difficult to start a practice from scratch these days due to the size of the student loans the newbies are burdened with. Find a practice to associate with. Find a good mentor. You know very little when you graduate.
What is a day in your life like?
Early riser. Hopefully a session with the personal trainer or tennis pro prior to work. Early to work to review the day’s patients. A productive and stimulating clinical schedule interspersed with some fun interaction with staff and patients. Some physical activity after work. A glass of wine poolside or on the dock with my wife.
What makes you smile?
A good joke. A self deprecating moment. A good photo memory.
What scares you?
Any compromise in my health or my wife’s.
What is your secret talent?
I make a world-class margarita with a secret recipe that won the “blind taste test” in Minturn, Colorado. I also make world-class “carnivore” chili.
Dr. Cretzmeyer, do you have any hobbies?
All sports, avid reader of fiction, travel with adventures;
What are you never without?
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“Go hard or go home!”
“If you are waiting on me you are backing up.”
Instinct versus expertise. Which is more important and why?
You need a blend of both. Your “gut” will guide you to the right path to utilize your expertise to accomplish the task.
If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?
All people would have access to food, water, medical care, and education. But all people would have to work for it, not sit back and be taken care of by those that took up the challenges, thrived, and endured.
For more on Dr. Cretzmeyer and his Dentistry for the Entire Family practice, please visit https://dentistryfortheentirefamily.com.