Three months out of dental school in 2000, Dale Stanec Jr., DDS, was the first graduate in his class to open a dental practice starting from scratch. “I got to create my own puzzle and do it the way it works for me,” he said. “My practice is very small and low-key.”
In his office suite overlooking the Cameron Park Country Club, Stanec sees one patient at a time. He does the cleaning and the dental services and takes time to talk with his patients about their dental care. “I love to teach,” said Stanec.
“My practice is patient-friendly and doctor-friendly. I value my patients’ time. I am either on time for appointments or early. My patients reciprocate and come early or on time,” he explained.
Stanec said he always knew he would be in business for himself.
“I was an entrepreneur at an early age.”
Growing up in San Jose, he had a lawn mowing business when he was in third grade. “I had eight lawns and made $40 a week. I had a shirt with my telephone number on it,” he said.
He also knew he would be using his science and math talents.
“My grandfather owned a masonry company in San Jose. He was gifted in math. I think I got that from him.”
In high school, Stanec and a buddy went to the Career Center for an aptitude test and career counseling. The counselor gave them literature on different careers they might like to pursue.
We both looked at dentistry and said, “I want to be a dentist. I thought, ‘I could own my own business, help people and work with my hands.’ We both followed through. He went to Penn State and I went to Northwestern in Chicago. Northwestern is called the Stanford of the Midwest.”
After high school, he worked for different dentists, either paid or as a volunteer. He did sterilizations and assisted in surgeries. Now he is referring patients back to dentists who mentored him along the way.
He met his wife, Elena, after high school when they were both working as temps at 3Com in Santa Clara.
“He was only there two weeks,” said Elena.
He went to West Valley Community College and on to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. They were married after college and the young couple moved to Chicago for his dental training.
While he was at Northwestern, Elena attended Northeastern Illinois, also in Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing.
Stanec said, “She is more than an office manager; she is co-owner. I would have to hire two people to replace her.”
The couple has two sons, Dale III, age 9, and Luis, age 7. Stanec walks with his sons to Blue Oak School before coming to the office, and the boys are comfortable spending time in the office.
Stanec likes to get out in the community. He coaches basketball, baseball and soccer.
“I think spending time with kids is more valuable than writing a check,” he said.
He also likes to speak to children in their schools, from pre-school to high school. “I make it fun. I use graphs and charts and answer questions.”
No hardliner when it comes to children and snacks, Stanec believes that if you deny snacks to children, they will overindulge when they do have an opportunity to eat them. He tells them it’s a matter of how much and how often.
His practice is designed for maximum flexibility to incorporate family time and time to teach his patients.
“I give them options and they can choose the one that works best for them. The beauty of dentistry now is that the health industry is about research and prevention.”
Stanec says his “homey style” of dentistry fits his personality. “I couldn’t do a “go-go-go” style. I tell dental students, ‘Go with your personality.’”
Dale Stanec Jr., DDS, is located at 3222 Royal Drive, Suite B, in Cameron Park. The telephone number is (530) 676-6500.