Dentists should follow Paul McCartney's lead

2008 10 21 14 53 23 614 Helaine Smith Thumb

Editor's note: Helaine Smith's column, The Mouth Physician, appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

I just read an article about Paul McCartney, who is now 66 years old and still going strong, with concert tours and a net worth of close to $1 billion. Paul is a true role model for successful attributes.

He never stopped evolving during his run as a Beatle, and then he went on to more success with his band, Wings. He would practice his guitar to ensure the songs sounded just right until his fingers were bleeding. He also experimented with new genres of music to stretch his abilities.

McCartney has passion for what he does and it shows in every way. As professionals, we should have passion for what we do. Personally, I love dentistry and it is part of me in every way, every day. I see the world through my eyes as a mouth physician. Not every dentist is this passionate about our profession. It must be more difficult to work each day, as dentistry is hard enough. But you owe it to your patients to take continuing education courses, good ones, not the study club meetings that serve rubber chicken and have the local insurance salesman give a pitch for malpractice insurance. It is not fair to practice Civil War dentistry in 2008.

I encourage you to take courses at leading institutions such as the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), the Scottsdale Center for Dentistry, the Nash Institute for Dental Learning, or the Rosenthal Institute. Find a mentor, someone you admire in dentistry. See what they do to be successful and acquire those attributes. Never stop learning. Your passion will continue to grow and you will be a mouth physician.

My latest adventure into a genre of 21st century dentistry was my purchase of a Cerec 18 months ago. Incorporating this new technology into my practice has been a challenge. It is difficult to endure such a learning curve, but worth it. Dentistry is exciting if you embrace it and push yourself to learn new concepts.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

Copyright © 2008

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