Thomas Ocheltree

Work as hard as you can to have every opportunity available to you. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short.


Dr. Thomas Ocheltree graduated from Augustina College, Rock Island, Illinois in 1993. He went on to attend Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton, Illinois. Dr. Ocheltree graduated with honors in 1999. After graduation, he joined the Navy. He was enrolled in (AEGD) Advanced Education in General Dentistry. He was encouraged by his mentors to practice oral surgery. Due to great mentoring while in the AEGD program, Dr. Ocheltree applied for his oral surgery residency at Christiana Care in Wilmington, Delaware. He completed his residency in 2006. Diplomate certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He returned to Bloomington, Illinois where he joined the oral surgery practice, known now as Drs. Doran, Capodice, Efaw & Ocheltree, LLC.

Drs. Doran, Capodice, Efaw & Ocheltree, LLC. serves Bloomington Illinois and surrounding areas. They specialize in oral surgery procedures such as Dental Implants, Bone Grafting, Facial Trauma & Jaw Surgery, Pre-prosthetic Surgery and much more. They have improved their website at to provide easy access to their patients.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I knew I wanted to move back to Bloomington, as it is where I was raised for most of my life. I had a few options with organizations I would be able to join. When I met with this group of individuals, I really liked them. I thought we made a good fit. I have not been disappointed.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day starts out with a full agenda of patients that are scheduled for exams or follow-ups. With some instances, we may have pathology cases. Also, on other rare occasions, we will get a recommendation from the hospital for patients who may have experienced facial trauma.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Many ideas come from attending meetings and seminars. These give us the opportunity to meet with other practitioners from around the country. We all collaborate on methods or techniques that may differ for our own. We discuss information from industry journals which describe performing minimally invasive procedures, with minimal recovery time for our patients.

What’s one trend that excites you?

One trend that excites me is the digital age, and how it has infused itself into the surgical field. We previously would have to send patients to the hospital to have a cat scan. After the procedure, they would have to have a radiologist look at it. The expenses attached to having the scan were enormous. It was cost prohibitive. Many times, the patients’ insurance did not cover the cost. Now we can perform the scans in the office the same day and provide excellent care at the same time. Another device that excites me is the digital intra-oral scanner. The scanner allows you to take digital impressions. The digital impressions can be integrated with the cat scan data. This now allows us the ability to make surgical guides for implants that we may not have even attempted in the past.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

One habit that makes me more productive, is that I have a lot of energy. I work hard and treat people as though they are my part of family. I try to make them feel as comfortable as possible, when they are in a not so comfortable setting. I believe that is why patients come back.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The advice that I would give the younger Dr. Thomas Ocheltree would be to work as hard as you can, to have every opportunity available to you. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short. I didn’t get here because I am smarter than anyone. It has been plain old hard work! That is what will get you places. Most importantly, it is the way that you care for people. I would tell Thomas Ocheltree to treat people as though they were your own family.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The most discussion we have had was when we were in talks about getting the Cone Beam Scanner. We were one of the first practices to have one when they first came out. The Scanner provides 3D images in a panoramic view. Images show teeth, soft tissues, gums, and includes nerve pathway views as well. It enables us to care for our patients much better.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I believe that you must continually reassess where you are at, regarding the goals you make for yourself. There are some aspects of a business that are fluid, such as growing your practice or marketing, as well as bringing in a new partner. If you get too comfortable with where you are at without periodic review, you may lose direction of your goals or worse, the ability of what you are doing. The healthcare industry is continuously evolving, and patients are well aware of changes. If you don’t have innovations in your practice, patients will go somewhere else.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I think that shifting from traditional media to digital media. We have as our website. We are in the process of upgrading our site to make it easier for patients and more “mobile” friendly. This generation is used to the incorporation of technology. Patients can now schedule an appointment or fill out paperwork online, all before they get to our office. Those changes have really helped to improve efficiency at our practice and made our patients happier as well.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I don’t believe that this is a failure because there are always hurdles that each business must cross over from time to time. We have not always hired people who were the right fit for our staff. We have gotten much better at screening now, and now have great team of staff now. It is important for us to ensure that the individuals working for us, are those who can help us grow and continue to improve ourselves.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We are continually looking for ways to make our patients feel less like they are going to have a tooth removed or a surgical procedure. We want them to de-stress. We can help them once they are in the chair. Perhaps there can be a solution to destress the waiting room.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Anytime I can spend time out to dinner with my family is pleasurable money well spent. It is like a mini vacation.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Our Carestream Software for our practice has evolved the office from paper to electronic medical records. That has streamlined my workflow and allowed me to spend more of my time with patients.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I just read a book with my children. It was written by a former Navy Seal. The author is Jocko Willink
called “The Way of the Warrior Kid” It teaches how to be a good leader and how to cope with struggles kids have growing up these days.

What is your favorite quote?

You must learn from the mistakes of others because you can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. By Sam Levinson

Key Learnings:

● Spend time out to dinner with family is pleasurable money well spent. It is like a mini vacation.
● There are bumps along the road in business from time to time.
● If you get too comfortable with where you are at without periodic review, you may lose direction of your goals or worse, the ability of what you are doing.