May 11, 1994. 

I still remember walking across the graduation stage in Amherst, NY like it was yesterday.  Excited, proud, maybe even a little scared. In hand, I had a great foundation, a residency to get to, and in all honesty…not much of a clue about how to get from where I was to where I dreamt to be. 

Twenty-two years later, founder of igniteDDS and CEO of three dental practices, I’ve learned many valuable lessons from several incredible mentors.  

One of the greatest has been this:

                            Blazing your own path is nice. Blazing it by standing on the shoulders of giants…is epic.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting thousands of young dentists with practices nationwide.  I’ve watched experts come and go but through it all, the following trends have endured. 

First, you have major debt. 

Second, seasoned dentists are practicing, on average, ten years longer than ever before.

Third, the corporate dental practice is on the rise and is predicted to increase from 16% market share to 35% in the next five years… And…most importantly…You are not alone!

The other great pleasure I’ve had is sharing with young dentists like you - tomorrow’s most brilliant trailblazers and influential leaders. I am honored to introduce to you, one, I am most proud I’ve come to know. 

Dr. Neha Garge, the author of The New Dentist’s Guide to Real World Dentistry, has generously offered her shoulders for you to stand on.  Read and re-read this roadmap to success.  Embrace the path that fits yours.  Copy the genius.  And when your passion is sufficiently fueled…share it with a friend.  As Ryunosuke Satoro once said, “Individually we are a drop.  Together we are an ocean.”


David R Rice DDS

Founder igniteDDS


Experience is a very effective teacher! In her book: The New Dentist’s Guide to Real World Dentistry, Dr. Neha Garge has provided an incredible resource to help dentists make a successful transition to life after dental School. Dr. Garge wrote the book that she wishes she had as she transitioned from a successful dental School experience to life in the real world. In doing so, Dr. Garge has provided a powerful guide that can help dentists succeed at every stage of their career.

One of the coolest elements of the book is the optimism and hope that Dr. Garge provides. Let’s face the reality that the dental profession is experiencing profound change. Rising practice overhead, lower reimbursement from insurance companies, dealing with HR regulations, increased competition from corporate dentistry and the challenges of running a business along side the demands of providing quality clinical care are but a few of the challenges that dentists face today. Like myself, despite the changes that the dental Profession is experiencing, Dr. Garge believes that this is an incredible time of opportunity for Dentists. Dr. Garge speaks from personal experience in her belief that dentists can indeed find personal, professional and financial satisfaction from our amazing profession.

One of the reasons that dentistry is such an incredible profession is that you have the opportunity to change people’s lives every day! It could be something clinically significant like providing a complete smile makeover. Or it could simply be being a compassionate listener to a patient who needs someone to listen. It could be helping a patient overcome a lifetime of fear and getting on the pathway to great oral health. The ability to change people’s lives every day is a story line that is evident throughout Dr. Garge’s book.

Dr. Garge’s book is logically divided into three sections; Part I: Preparing for the Jump from Student to Dentist, Part II: Real World Dentistry and Part II: Building Professional and Personal Success. Each section provides information and resources that might take a dentist years to assemble on their own. These resources combined with the perspective provided by Dr. Garge can serve as a very effective ‘road map’ for you to successfully navigate a path to your own success. It’s important to recognize that Dr. Garge also shares the trials and challenges she has faced in an effort to help readers learn from her experiences.

Dentistry is a noble and amazing profession. Dr. Garge has written a very useful guide and you have made an excellent decision to read this powerful book. I encourage you to use the information and resources in this book to full advantage. You deserve to find personal, professional and financial satisfaction and to have a THRIVING career. Here’s to your success!

Gary Takacs

Dental consultant, host of the Thriving Dentist Podcast