Nashua Dentist, Dr. Slava featured in Patterson Today
Quality Care in the Neighborhood
With the building of Greenwood Dental Associates, Dr. Slava Abdelrehim realized her dream of bringing dental care to her community in Nashua, N.H.
In 2000, Dr. Slava Abdelrehim, DDS, was just out of residency, eager to learn everything about dentistry. As an associate at Ted Morgan’s private practice in Gorham, Maine, however, she received more than just a clinical education; Morgan introduced her to the value of a partnership with Patterson Dental and the first-class equipment, technology and service that accompanied it.
When she left that practice in 2002, Abdelrehim joined the second largest office in southern New Hampshire. For more than 11 years, she worked in a high-volume learning environment, eventually growing her patient pool to more than 20 patients per day.
During her tenure at the large office, Dr. Abdelrehim never forgot the private practice where she got her start. And as a resident of southern Nashua, the urge to serve her community and neighborhood only grew stronger with each passing year.
One day, as she was leaving her home, she noticed the land across the road was being cleared for development. Abdelrehim spoke with the landlord and learned that an urgent care and family practice were being built, and that they were looking for a dentist as well.
“I said, ‘Wow, I guess this is a sign.’ It ignited in me the idea of wanting to be the community dentist, where my neighbors and the local elementary schoolchildren don’t have to travel five exits north to have their dental needs met,” she says.
Abdelrehim was excited to finally pursue her dream of owning her own practice. “I did some research and decided to let my partner know that it was time for me to be on my own.”
Nashua NH, a new community
Dr. Abdelrehim was born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and moved to the United States in 1989. She earned a chemistry degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she also met her husband, Ihab. After graduation, the two began a series of moves around the country, first to California where her husband was going to school and then to New York University College of Dentistry, where Abdelrehim earned her DDS degree.
After one year of residency, Abdelrehim and her husband moved to Scarborough, Maine, where she joined Dr. Morgan as an associate, performing conscious sedation on high-fear cases. “Everything they did at the practice was with Patterson and that was my first exposure to dental team support and reps,” she says. “It was a great experience. Always in the back of my mind was the idea of partnering with Patterson if I open a practice.”
In 2002, Abdelrehim landed her second associateship, this time in southern New Hampshire, and in 2004, became one of two partners at the practice. While she was in her partnership, she was thinking about private ownership, polishing her dream in her mind.
“I’m 45 years old and I started thinking about how much longer I would be in dentistry,” she says. “I reflected on my past career and recognized I never got the chance to own my own practice, which is every dentist’s dream right after dental school. For me, I took the first opportunity that came my way as a new graduate. I was focused on learning dentistry.”
“I called Patterson when it was time to initiate the plans and was introduced to Scott Lasser,” Abdelrehim says of the Patterson equipment specialist. “He’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met, and a good friend too. Scott walked me through the whole process. He was so supportive, he was such a great listener.”
Quality Dentistry not Quantity
Armed with her years of experience and a vision for her own practice, Abdelrehim worked with Lasser to put her ideas on paper. The resulting floor plan was an intimate, 1,800-square-foot space that emphasized a network of rooms equipped to deliver quality care rather than serve a large quantity of patients.
There is no clutter in the office, a reflection of Abdelrehim’s concern over cross-contamination and belief that patients should not be kept waiting for their appointments (there is no coffee or television in the reception area, for example). Patient check-in was designed to be paperless on an open iPad and Eaglesoft practice management ensures the paper-free features continue from front to back. CAESY patient education presentations are delivered electronically chairside with the option of printing documents as needed.
To maintain sterility in the operatories, Abdelrehim selected the A-dec 511 Continental delivery system with electric handpieces, which keeps all cords above ground and away from the patient. LED lights overhead don’t overheat and therefore don’t need to be touched and adjusted as frequently. And once instruments leave the operatory, they’re sterilized in an A-dec ICC no-touch sterilization center.
“The office is an open concept, with bright, calming colors. It doesn’t smell like a dental office and doesn’t look like one,” she says. “It’s the exact feel I wanted to give this community, a combination of northern America/French Quebec style, also very modern but with New England colors. I travel and brought a little from my favorite places and put it together.”
Abdelrehim also carefully selected her team, with the vision that each member would contribute to the practice legacy she hoped to establish. “There was a lot of thoughtfulness and effort in the planning for the past five years, including selecting my team,” she says.
On November 1, 2013, Abdelrehim officially opened her doors along with two team members. “Our goal was attention to detail, efficiency, accuracy and a sterilized environment. And the community of south Nashua was very supportive. They cheered us through our first year as a business in our neighborhood. We were touched by the referrals and the newcomers,” she says.
After a year in business, Greenwood Dental Care now has more than 600 active patients and is averaging 50 new patients each month as referrals from colleagues and friends.
Putting down roots as a Dentist in Nashua, N.H.
The transition from a partnership in group practice to sole owner was an easy one for Abdelrehim because she had a clear vision for her practice. People would ask if she was nervous but she never wavered in her commitment. “I said, I am nervous but not scared enough to not go through with it,” she says.
Patterson also played a critical role in the process, she says. “Scott was there for every single buildout, move, every single addition and step. He was always saying, ‘I’m so proud of you!’ That was really great. He’s been a huge anchor through the whole process.”
When it came to the dental practice design, Abdelrehim trusted Lasser and the Patterson team to help her take her vision and create an office layout that emphasized function and flow. Lasser believes that the doctor’s trust in the team gave her the ability to focus on the big picture, from hiring staff to preparing to serve patients.
As she enters her second year in business, the next step for Abdelrehim and her team is to keep pace with the business growth. They are working to complete the outfitting of their fourth and fifth operatories, and adding to their team.
Abdelrehim credits many people with helping to make her business a success, from her husband to her dedicated team, to Patterson Dental and her dental coach, Eric Vickery.
Ultimately, says Abdelrehim, it’s been the community’s support that has led to Greenwood Dental’s success so far. “I’ve met some of the most incredible people here and love the fact that every hour on the hour I can get a whole different challenge. I want to keep people happy, coming in and sending their kids and family.”