Dr. Ryan Shepherd

“Before I ever decided to be a Dentist, I went to Brigham Young University in Provo, UT on a full scholarship to study musical theatre. After graduation, my wife and I got jobs acting at Disney. But my intentions were to eventually go back to school for Dentistry. One day, we decided to audition on a whim for the Cats Broadway tour. We just did it for fun, to see what the experience would be like. But after a long 9-hour day, they ended up casting both of us. So, a week later, we packed up everything in our little apartment and moved to Washington, D.C. to join the national tour of Cats—together. We did that for a year. The first night we performed, there was a mix of every emotion you could fathom. It was absolutely terrifying to go up on stage and potentially botch a solo. I had a supporting lead role, so I had a fair amount of feature time. I don’t usually get nervous, but I was terrified for that. By the time we were nearing the end of the second act and all the emotions were coming to their head, it became exhilarating. So many emotions were pumping through my blood about this dream come true… The ability to keep on delivering results when you were exhausted and felt like there was nothing left in the tank translated directly to dentistry. We would do 8 shows a week and then travel to the next city. Everything was a new environment and a new experience. That translated to dental school because dental school was constantly something new—your first bridge, denture, live patient, crown, etc. I knew how to buck up and do your best, even if you aren’t feeling at your best, or 100% confident, and fake it till you make it. That helped me get through dental school… The performance experience helped me in private practices, too. As an actor, you constantly have to make people happy and entertain them. As a dentist, you’re not meant to entertain anybody, but you’re constantly required to make people happy. People don’t wanna be there, they don’t wanna see you, they’re terrified, and they don’t want to pay money. Turning a negative experience into a positive one is a stressful thing to do, especially when you’re drained and fried. I learned how to do that from broadway—how to interact with anybody from any walk of life and put them at ease. That’s served me well.”