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Pathways to dentistry: Private practice owner

As a boy, Dr. Hadi Ghazzouli remembers raising family members’ eyebrows with his peculiar interest in washing his grandfather’s denture. “I found it fascinating,” he said, adding with a laugh that his parents “weren’t sure if they should be happy” about their tot’s unusual hobby. But the curiosity about dentistry never wore off, and these days Dr. Ghazzouli oversees two dental practices in Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hadi Ghazzouli

Dr. Hadi Ghazzouli

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Ghazzouli completed a general practice residency at a hospital that he said “reaffirmed” his interest in being a business owner in addition to a dentist.

“It gave me the opportunity to talk with different dentists around the area and gauge what I wanted to do,” he said of the residency.

Around that time, one of his dental instructors whom he had kept in touch with called. He needed help in one of his dental offices and wanted Dr. Ghazzouli to step in. After two years working at his former instructor’s dental office, Dr. Ghazzouli became a partner. A few years later, he bought a second office closer to the home he shares with Dr. Candice Ghazzouli, his wife who is also a dentist. “We felt like we saw an opportunity in a growing area, and we decided that we were ready to expand,” he said.

While both managing administrative tasks and seeing patients can be demanding, Dr. Ghazzouli said managing his own practices allows him to treat patients with his own patient-centered care philosophy. “The best thing is you’re your own boss,” he said.

For new dentists interested in practice ownership, Dr. Ghazzouli said networking is key.

Dr. Ghazzouli said he stays active in organized dentistry to be able to consult and share notes with other dentists. He also serves as a part-time instructor at the hospital at which he completed his residency, which he said helps keeps him abreast of the latest science and what’s happening in dentistry beyond his practices’ four walls.

With work and teaching and having a family, having a passion for dentistry is key. “I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing if I wasn’t passionate,” he said.

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