Home 2024 Sleep Dentistry Issue From Building a DSO to Building an Empire in Sleep – Dr. Brandon Hedgecock Shares His Path to Success

From Building a DSO to Building an Empire in Sleep – Dr. Brandon Hedgecock Shares His Path to Success

by Steve Parker

How the International Academy of Sleep Changed Everything

As the Editor of The Profitable Dentist Magazine, I get the opportunity to interview Key Opinion Leaders and experts in exciting new areas emerging in dentistry, and no topic is gaining more attention than dental sleep treatment. 

Dr. Brandon Hedgecock is a dentist who owns Sleep Better Ausin in Austin, Texas. He discovered sleep treatment ten years ago and has never looked back. He agreed to do this interview to share some of his experiences and observations with dentists considering adding sleep treatment into their dental practice. 

Steve: I’ve known Avi a long time and watched how ISOA has exploded over the past several years. Can you share a little bit about how you came to know IAOS and the impact it’s had on your dental career?

Dr. Hedgecock: I’d already started doing dental sleep cases, but discovering IAOS has certainly accelerated my career.

I think partnering with IAOS helped me see there were bigger treatment possibilities beyond traditional dentistry and far more potential than I’d realized. You know, I started out doing sleep and thought—just like every dentist does: “I’m gonna add this to my dental practice, and we’re gonna see a handful of patients and that’s gonna be it.”

As I began learning more and doing cases, I started to realize I had a passion for the treatment and that I wanted to do more, but I didn’t really know how to take the next step, or even what the next step was. That changed when I stumbled onto the IAOS model and met Avi. It changed the way I looked at my practice and helped me see that it really was possible to build a business entirely around sleep. 

And so it pushed me in that direction. And then, of course, the resources and the coaching guided me along the way, opening my mind up to the bigger picture and more possibilities.

Steve: What’s the biggest blind spot that dentists need to look out for if they are deciding to get involved with sleep treatment?

Dr. Hedgecock: The biggest blind spot is really themselves. I say this often.

It’s their mindset. Their willingness to work on it and understand that a successful sleep venture needs its own set of eyes, its own set of people. 

I see so many dentists trying to get into sleep and expecting it to just happen more easily than it really happens. It takes work.

It takes work building relationships and those relationships take effort. 

And so, it means being willing to take some time out of the practice for those dentists who are still in the dental office, still practicing dentistry, to actually grow with sleep. 

Steve: What has the process of integrating sleep into your dental practice dentistry looked like?

Dr. Hedgecock: For a lot of dentists who’ve taken a few courses, done a case on that first patient, it might have been kind of disheartening, because you’re excited going into it, and then the have a patient that’s not successful or can’t wear the appliance, or the case just doesn’t go well. It was the opposite for me. 

My first handful of patients did so well. The appliance was life changing for them and it improved their relationships and improved their health and just enhanced their outlook on life. 

When they came back to the office after getting treated, they were new people. And you know, seeing that impact was huge for me. And that’s really what I think hooked me on sleep treatment. But my excitement grew even more a few months later when I started actually getting the reimbursements, the medical reimbursements, and starting to see how it could impact my practice financially. 

Maybe it was years later, when I started to see the cost per acquisition, the revenue per patient, the revenue per hour, productivity per hour, and being able to compare those analytics to the dental office that the idea of focusing on sleep really solidified for me. I realized it was not only great for my patients and awesome that we were impacting lives, but the ability to make a business out of it and how it impacted me and my team had me convinced.

Steve: Now, with the benefit of hindsight, what would you do differently?  

Dr. Hedgecock: Yeah, if I could go back and paint the perfect picture and create my career over, I definitely would have looked into sleep sooner and started doing cases sooner. It’s possible I never would have even had a dental office. It’s possible that I might have just gone into sleep. 

As we were building dental practices, we had one practice, then two practices, then three, and all of a sudden I noticed sleep was taken off. I was like, wait a minute, why are we putting so much effort into another dental office when this business model has so much more potential?. 

But also you go back too far in my career, and maybe not as many medical insurances were paying for sleep treatment, so maybe the timing was good when I did it. It’s definitely easier and more financially rewarding for dentists getting into sleep today.

Steve: How aware do you think the public is about sleep apnea treatment options that are not CPAP?

Dr. Hedgecock: I think the general public is still unaware, but I’m seeing that change almost every day. They’re becoming very aware that snoring and poor sleep are symptoms of a deeper health problem, but they’re just not really aware of the rapidly developing solutions that are available to them beyond CPAP.

I believe, as dental sleep treatment continues to advance, appliances will become one of the best solutions. It is far more conservative, sees much higher compliance, and is very effective in treating sleep apnea. I just think as awareness increases over time, dental appliances will be even bigger.

Even insurance companies, especially medical, are now starting to say, “Oh wait before we pay for sleep apnea surgery, let’s try an oral appliance,” and they’re finding that solution to be more effective.

So things like that are going to continue to push more awareness for oral appliance therapy.

Steve: I know, because of your success, you’ve become a voice for IAOS at their Blueprint events. If I’m a dentist, why should I come meet Brandon Hedgecock and IAOS?

Dr. Hedgecock: The Blueprint events are amazing! I absolutely love sharing my story and helping other dentists see what’s possible in their practice, and the Blueprint events are the perfect place to just get immersed in the world of sleep treatment. 

At the Blueprint, you not only get to learn about the IAOS model we use, but I’ll be glad to share how we’ve been able to successfully implement it in two different geographic areas, and how we’re expanding into more.

The event is full of dentists just like your readers, who might be struggling, and don’t even realize how sleep treatment can impact their patients, and them personally. If they’re even slightly interested, they should hear from colleagues how doing sleep treatment, and the financial security that comes with it, has improved their family life, mental health and general wellbeing. It’s a very freeing feeling.

I’ve become very involved in the Blueprint events because I see too many of my fellow dentists struggling with anxiety, depression and burnout from running a dental practice, when I know there’s a better way. I think they’d rather hear and see from someone who’s actually done it. I get a lot out of helping.

Steve: Complete this sentence: the future of dental sleep is…

Dr. Hedgecock: The future of dental sleep is impactful and exciting. I know the progress that we’ve made in our business. but I also know that we are barely scratching the surface of what we are capable of, you know. 

Last year, we did a record $4.2 million in revenue for Sleep Better Austin, and my whole team is like, “Yeah, that was awesome!” But it was almost like we didn’t fully celebrate that because we know that so much more is possible.

Picture of Dr. Brandon Hedgecock

Dr. Brandon Hedgecock

Dr. Brandon Hedgecock is the founder of Sleep Better Austin, a multi-location sleep-only practice in Austin, TX. Despite being a Diplomate of multiple organizations, investing thousands of dollars into marketing, and developing relationships with dozens of sleep doctors, Brandon was unable to make sleep a viable part of his practice. Just 2 years after joining IAOS, Brandon crossed the 50 appliances per month threshold and never looked back. Today, Sleep Better Austin has 4 locations and is rapidly growing. As a coach, Brandon helps dentists focus on the methodical growth of their sleep practices.

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

Join Our Community

Get the tools, resources and connections to grow your practice

We will never sell your address or contact information.

Adblock Detected

Please support us by disabling your AdBlocker extension from your browsers for our website.