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Husband-and-wife dentists Brett McRay and Heather Robbins have long shared a philosophy. Now they share a practice, too.
When McRay, DDS, and Robbins, DDS, decided to launch their first practice together, they didn’t take the decision lightly. Nor did they make it overnight. In fact, they spent years honing their skills as associates in other practices before they decided to practice on their own.
“We knew that our ethics, our integrity, our chairside manner and our skillsets were well aligned to practice together,” McRay said. “The chemistry, from a technical and professional standpoint, existed. We knew that if we embarked on this together, being entrepreneurs at heart, we could make it work. That’s what we did.”
That’s what they did eventually. They didn’t rush it, though. They carefully weighed their options, diving deeply into research about the pros and cons of buying existing practices versus launching one of their own.
The way McRay and Robbins see it – and it’s fair to say that singularly, because when it comes to their practice, they truly share a vision – the care they took in making each and every decision was instrumental to the practice’s ultimate success. That includes their key partnerships with the people that helped them along the way. Among them, their broker, architect, office designer and Patterson Dental Houston Branch team: Territory Representative Monetta Reyes and Equipment Specialist Skip Fortune.



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A budding partnership
Rewind a few years, to a pair of first-year dental students at the University of Texas School of Dentistry in Houston. McRay and Robbins gravitated toward each other, becoming study partners right away. They quickly realized that they shared a philosophy about dentistry, among other things. “We have since joked that if they had an award for the longest-running couple in dental school, we would have won it,” McRay said. “We could tell right away that first year, we were a good fit. On top of that, our goals and our treatment philosophies were well aligned.”
Even with everything they shared, after graduating from dental school, they were still on separate professional paths. Robbins – whose mother is a longtime hygienist and whose godmother is a well-respected cosmetic dentist in the Houston area – had been around dentistry for as long as she could remember, and working as a dental assistant since the age of 15. “I was brought up around dentistry and I knew exactly what I wanted in terms of a business,” Robbins said. “I knew what I was looking for and I was ready to start practicing.”
While Robbins landed an associateship with a top cosmetic practice, McRay was focused on continuing to gather knowledge and experience. He stayed in school for another year as a general dentistry resident, and wanted to expand his knowledge of specialty procedures that he could employ as a general practitioner later. “I wanted to have some extra tools in the toolkit, so to speak. I wanted to learn more advanced training in sedation, special needs, O.R. hospital dentistry – truly comprehensive dentistry,” McRay said. “Afterward, I ventured out and became an associate, too, for another practice. At that point, we both had a plan for the future, and we were assuming we would stay on separate paths.”
Of course, then, life happened. Robbins’ anticipated purchase of the practice in which she was an associate started to look less promising. McRay, too, saw his plans changing.
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