All in the Family
Brothers, fathers and sons, husbands and wives—when it comes to setting up and running a dental practice, family can often be the best way to go.
(page 2 of 4)
Father & Son
Rick and Dick Risinger
Senior practitioner Dick, 71, has a lot to do with giving Risinger Orthodontics its “hip” factor. For one thing, he’s provided iPads in the waiting room so nervous patients can chill out over a few rounds of “Angry Birds.” Actually, “he’d like to buy a lot of things for the practice,” says Rick, 45, his more conservative son and partner of 17 years. “That’s the biggest disagreement between us. We’re both really excited about the new technology of 3-D imaging, but it’s too much for us to do right now. Still, Dad would have bought the equipment in a second.”
Dick, who earned his DDS from Ohio State University (he was a dentist for the U.S. Navy in the ’60s before getting his MS in Orthodontics at Boston University), is accustomed to deferring to his son, known to all as “Dr. Rick.” He says, “When we teamed up, I knew there would be differences of opinion, so I let his be the dominant one. You’ve got to be consistent. We have great staff, and we want them to treat patients like family. So we all need to be on the same wavelength as much as possible.”
He’s been practicing in Glastonbury now for 43 years, and Rick—who holds a DDS from the University of North Carolina and a MS in Orthodontics from the University of Nebraska—remains in awe of his diagnostic skills. “I think my father’s done more continuing ed than any other orthodontist in the state,” he says. Adds Dick, “I love going to conferences—and I never slip out to the golf course. I stay and watch the slides, so I know what other doctors are doing.”
Husband & Wife
Danna & Jacob Saidon
If her life had turned out differently, Danna Saidon, 44, might have been an architect. “I grew up liking the arts and medicine,” she says, “and I think dentistry falls in between the two.” She notes that endodontics—root canal work—involves the same careful attention to detail and design that arts and medicine require.
She and her husband of 21 years, Jacob, 49—both from Israel—came to the U.S. to go to school together; they got their undergrad degrees at New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson University and did their dental training at UConn. They’ve set up practice in an attractive office decorated in earth tones, with lots of natural light, soothing music, blankets and pillows.
Patients have been known to fall asleep in their chairs; even getting novocaine is stress-free. “People come in with bad stories about previous root canal work, and their biggest fear is pain from the administration of anesthesia,” says Jacob. “We do a slow infiltration, and they tell us it’s the first time they haven’t felt it.”
Working together for the last eight years has proven mutually beneficial. “We have the same goals,” Danna says. “Jacob is very smart, intuitive, and he has good hands.” Planning vacations is the only conflict. “Our practice is built on accommodating emergencies,” he says. “So we can’t disappear for a long time together.”