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Registration is now open to doctors and office managers

Advance your business skills to achieve personal success.

As an orthodontist, you are highly trained and skilled at moving teeth. But as we all know, formal business training is an opportunity for growth for many of us. In partnership with Wharton School of Business – the #1 business school in the United States – the AAO has developed Mastering the Business of Orthodontics to help you build your business and leadership skills.

The program covers 8 essential and up to date topic areas taught by Wharton’s world-class professors and AAO instructors and guest speakers who are all orthodontic industry experts. Throughout your studies, you’ll learn how to incorporate these business concepts into your practice and engage with your colleagues to develop a more profound understanding of the material and principles.

The program is virtual and flexible, delivered entirely online over eight modules, with new content released each Wednesday that you can complete at your convenience. Plus, AAO Business Coaches will support you throughout the course and will lead peer-to-peer discussions.

The Wharton-AAO MBO program is flexible to your schedule, allows for a 30-day grace period, and access to the material for a full year.

Want to Know More?

Hear from two doctors on their experiences taking the program.

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Register today!

A new cohort is now available for registration and will start on September 13th. Welcome emails are sent out on September 6th.

Secure your spot today.

Welcome to Mastering the Business of Orthodontics

The American Association of Orthodontists and the Wharton School are delighted to welcome you the Mastering the Business of Orthodontics program. This eight-module online program offers a powerful learning experience for orthodontists, like you, who are looking to significantly grow their existing practices.

Dr. Norman J. Nagel

Dr. Norman Nagel attended Valparaiso University and received his B.S. and D.D.S. degrees from Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve U.). He served four years of active duty in the U.S. Navy, interning at the Naval Hospital, San Diego, CA. and then served three years as a Navy dentist in Pearl Harbor, HA. Following four years of active duty, he returned to C.W.R.U. and received his M.S. and Postdoctoral certificate in Orthodontics. He was in the private practice of Orthodontics from 1973-2021 in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley, CA. Dr. Nagel also continued his military service in the Naval Reserve (31 years) and then the Army National Guard (7 years). He is a retired Army Colonel. In 2009, his son, Dr. Jeffrey Nagel, joined the practice. He is now the owner and President of Nagel Orthodontics.
While serving in the military concurrently with his clinical practice, Dr. Nagel had an opportunity to serve with the Seabees and Marines while in the Navy Reserve. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy Commendation with gold star in lieu of a second award. Resigning from the Navy as a Navy Captain, Dr. Nagel accepted a commission in the Army National Guard as a Colonel. Dr. Nagel served in Southern California, Panama, and in Alaska. While in Alaska, Dr. Nagel participated in Operation Arctic Care and Operation Beachmaster. Operation Beachmaster took place on the island of St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands. For his Army service, among his many awards is the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Alaska Community Service Medal (2), and the Unit Commendation Ribbon from the  U.S. Public Health Service.
 Dr. Nagel has been a lecturer at U.C.L.A. School of Dentistry in the Section of Gnathology and Occlusion and the Orthodontics Section. Dr. Nagel also had consulting positions with the Dental Department at the VA Medical Centers in Sepulveda, CA and Los Angeles, CA.
Active in his community, he has served as an elected college Trustee to the Board of Trustees of the Ventura County Community College District (two terms) and, while President of the Board, chaired the Committee to start a Dental Hygiene Program at Oxnard College (now over 25 years old). Dr. Nagel also served as a Commissioner to the Area Housing Authority of Ventura County, CA, appointed by the City Council of Camarillo, CA (2011-2016). He resigned as Commissioner due to a residence relocation.
Dr. Nagel has been a member of Thousand Oaks Rotary for over 45 years, where he is a Past President. He was also a teacher with the Simi Valley Unified School District, teaching in the Adult School—Dental Assisting (1976-2003). He is a past Board Chair of the Southeast Ventura County YMCA and served on that Board for over 23 years. He was a founder and Board member of California Oaks State Bank (1998-2010). He has been a member of Ascension Lutheran Church and served as Congregation President (2009-2010). He has held memberships in the Conejo and Simi Valley Chambers of Commerce.
 Dr. Nagel has been President of the Santa Barbara-Ventura County Dental Society and was a Trustee to the California Dental Association. He is a Past President of the California Association of Orthodontists and the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists. Dr. Nagel is currently a past Trustee to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and is currently President of the AAO. He is a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy.
Dr. Nagel is married to Carol. They have four children, seven grandchildren, and three great granddaughters.

Productivity of Your Practice

Learn methods of practice level productivity and service optimization.

This modules content will give you a foundational knowledge of health care operations and methods of optimization. You’ll examine the provider-patient relationship and learn how a provider can improve performance measures for the patient by analyzing the different types of performance metrics such as patient-centric, operations, and financial measures. Through discussing the different types of inefficiencies such as waste, variability, and inflexibility, you’ll be able to optimize performance and service. You’ll also learn how to gauge patient flow by flow rate, flow time, and inventory, and be able to map processes using a flow diagram and a Gantt chart.

Following Professor Terwiesch’s lectures, Travis Beamish, Director of Operations at Corus Orthodontists, will provide a practical overview of patient flow, scheduling, and capacity management for orthodontists. By the end of this module, you’ll be better able to calculate the financial viability of a health care provider using Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and create a framework to assess and optimize performance.

CE earned in module 1: 2.25

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Assess the provider-patient relationship to improve performance measures
  • Evaluate the financial viability of a health care provider using Key Performance Indicators
  • Determine the balance and flow for your practice
  • Examine the methods of practice level productivity and capacity management
  • Review treatment plan methods and service optimization

Practice Level Financial Management

Learn how to actively manage revenue and expenses to maximize profitability.

This modules content is designed to provide an overview of financial planning and budgeting. First, you’ll hear from Professor Mirko Heinle about short- and long-term planning for small enterprises. You’ll discuss the different kinds of cost and revenue structures, learn how to build a budget, and establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage your progress and to adjust your finances accordingly.

Chris Bentson, Partner at Bentson Copple & Associates, LLC, will then apply these concepts to specific examples, such as which expenses to consider, within your orthodontic practice. By the end of this module, you will be better able to establish financial objectives within your practice and to measure your success in reaching these goals by assessing a variety of metrics.

CE earned in module 2: 1.75

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Develop foundational understanding of financial planning and budgeting
  • Identify the financial variables that impact your practice’s budget
  • Manage revenue and expenses to maximize profitability for your practice
  • Determine importance of major expense categories and your average budget allocations
  • Assess the profit and loss statement for your practice

Financial Acumen and Practice Transition Planning

Understand key financial statements, EBITDA and practice transition options.

This modules content is designed to give you a foundational overview of financial statements and visibility into practice transition options. Professor Richard Lambert will help you identify and analyze balance sheet equations and its key components such as assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. Through examining a sample real-world financial statement, you’ll learn how to calculate income, revenue, and expenses transactions, and see how the income statement is linked to changes in the balance sheet.

Then, Dan Wicker, CPA and Managing Partner at Cain Watters & Associates will do a deep dive on the key tools and practices for successfully managing the finances of your orthodontic practice. Then Dan Wicker and Chris Bentson will explore practice transition options.

CE earned in module 3: 2.25

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Analyze balance sheet key components such as assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity 
  • Generate an accurate income statement for your organization 
  • Develop an understanding of cash flow statements and the difference between cash flow and tax estimate
  • Examine EBITDA and practice transition options

*Contains general orthodontist compensation and practice valuation financial information.

Patient Focused Marketing Strategies

Learn how to build a strong patient-centric brand.

This modules content sees Professor Barbara Kahn introduce the foundational concepts in marketing strategy and brand positioning. Beyond marketing promotions, marketing and brand strategies in today’s business world require consideration of buyers’/sellers’ markets, customer segmentation, and brand mantras. To understand how best to position a brand, we need to explore the underlying mechanisms of brand positioning so that we may understand not only the cognitive associations with brands, but also the social, behavioral, emotional, and cultural associations.

Following these foundational videos, Dan Bills, DMD, MS elaborates on these concepts and applies to them directly to orthodontics and orthodontic marketing. Then Professor Ron Berman presents concepts and strategies for customer acquisition and retention using digital marketing. To conclude this module, Herb Hughes, DDS will utilize the patient journey and examine a variety of digital strategies including website, search, online reviews and social media to acquire customers and create loyal customers who market for you. By the end of this module, you will be able to identify basic marketing concepts, digital marketing strategies and relate them to your own practice.

CE earned in module 4: 2.75

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Identify key concepts and strategies for successful marketing
  • Explore the multifaceted customer branding experience
  • Apply general marketing concepts to specific orthodontic practices
  • Examine omnichannel opportunities for orthodontic marketing
  • Craft an effective brand for your orthodontic practice

Building an Intentional Culture

Learn strategies to build an intentional culture in your practice.

This modules content will center around organizational culture: what it is, how it works, and the best ways to align it advantageously with your organizational goals. First, Professor Sigal Barsade will explore the critical reasons that organizational culture emerges, and the various layers that exist in analyzing what that culture looks and feels like from a cognitive and emotional perspective. You will see how a strong culture is derived from values and embraced and modeled by leadership. Dr. Cole Johnson, owner and operator of his independent practice, will then further exemplify the benefits of defining a strong culture in orthodontics. By the end of this module, you will learn how to analyze and evaluate an organizational culture.

CE earned in module 5: 2.25

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Build a foundational understanding of organizational culture
  • Identify tools to align culture with your organizational purpose and objectives
  • Assess your office culture and ways to improve employee engagement

Inspiring Leadership Principles

Learn about leadership principles: and the best ways to align them advantageously with your organizational goals.

This modules content will center around organizational culture and leadership: what it is, how it works, and the best ways to align it advantageously with your organizational goals. Professor Nancy Rothbard and Dr. Brent Larson, Professor and Director of the Division of Orthodontics at the University of Minnesota will lead you in examining the issue of engaging employees at work. You will learn how to promote engagement at work through boosting energy and motivation, as well as removing distractions. By the end of this module, you will be well suited to examine your overall work environment to identify opportunities for engaging and motivating your workforce.

CE earned in module 6: 2

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Identify vital leadership principles and practices
  • Evaluate your work environment and ways to increase productivity and profitability
  • Examine motivation and feedback and how it will drive behavior

Creating and Managing Your Team

Explore strategies for hiring and retaining the right employees for your practice.

This modules content focuses on effectively building, developing, and maintaining employees for your practice. Professor Matthew Bidwell will begin by helping you identify the key steps in hiring, acknowledging both successful strategies as well as the pitfalls which exist in the traditional hiring process. You will learn how to effectively utilize feedback to maintain positive working relationships with employees.

Tracy Moawad, Management Systems Consultant with Hummingbird Associates, will then further elaborate on methods for building and retaining effective teams for your orthodontic practice. You will also identify key practices in upholding HR compliance standards and expectations. By the end of this module, you will develop a holistic understanding of successful practice management and will know how to utilize the metrics, training, and resources at your disposal to build a strong employee base for your practice.

CE earned in module 7: 3

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Construct hiring metrics based on effective evaluation research
  • Strategize effective interview structures for hiring the right people for your practice
  • Identify best practices for retaining new hires
  • Determine methodology for giving and receiving employee feedback
  • Assess lack of engagement in your employees and ways to fix it

Leading the Life you Want

Learn how to pursue a meaningful life through your own lens and improve your performance as a leader.

This modules content is designed to introduce you to the core principles of leadership from the point of view of the whole person, describe the 18 skills that bring these principles to life, and provide you with a self-assessment tool to determine your skills and establish a baseline for your development. As Professor Stew Friedman walks you through the case study of Tom Tierney, former CEO of Bain & Company and co-Founder of the Bridgespan Group, you’ll learn the skills of envisioning your legacy, weaving together the disparate strands of your life, and seeing new ways of doing things.

You’ll also learn exercises for developing each one of these skills and will work with Dr. Anil Idiculla, President of the Rocky Mountain Society of Orthodontists, to apply these concepts to your own experience as an orthodontist. By the end of this module, you’ll understand the leadership principles of being real, being whole, and being innovative, know the skills needed for improving your performance as a leader in all parts of life, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and learn exercises for building your capacity to envision your legacy, weave the disparate strands, and see new ways of doing things.

CE earned in module 8: 1.75

Learning Objectives and Topics:

  • Identify the core principles of leadership from the point of view of the whole person
  • Assess your leadership skills for improving performance in all parts of life
  • Envision your legacy and generate ideas for moving toward it
  • Discover how people in different parts of your life describe your unique strengths
  • Map out creative ideas for achieving an important goal


This Continuing Education Program provides attendees with a relevant and rewarding continuing education experience. However, neither the content of a course nor the use of specific products in any program should be construed as indicating endorsement or approval of the views presented or the products used by the AAO or by any of the respective subsidiaries. Speakers are required to disclose to participants any financial, commercial, or promotional interest in a product or company that may influence their presentations; however, the AAO shall not be liable for a speaker’s failure to disclose such interest.

This continuing education activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the standards of the ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (ADA CERP) through joint efforts between the American Association of Orthodontists and the Wharton School of Business.

The American Association of Orthodontists is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry.  The American Association of Orthodontists designates for all CE activities, 0.25 credit hours will be awarded for each 15 minutes of activity time unless otherwise noted. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to the Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition at