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Pete Dawson: A Dentist's Thanksgiving

Peter Dawson, DDS
As Thanksgiving week approaches, I'm reminded of how much we, in the dental profession, have to be thankful for. I've often said I think dentistry is the greatest hobby in the world. Just think about how blessed we are to be able to go to work every day doing something that is so fulfilling. I know people who build model trains for a hobby… then they put them on a shelf. We get to build beautiful smiles that are on display everywhere our patients go. We build friendships while we are getting to know our patients needs and desires. Then we cement those relationships by giving our new-found friends a beautiful smile, and comfort that is beyond their expectations.

Dentistry allows us to enjoy a highly respected position in our communities… And best of all, it permits us to earn a good living within a schedule framework that leaves us time to nurture and enjoy a great family life with the proper focus on spiritual values and a thoughtful proportion of time and treasure to serve others.

As I think about all these blessings, it saddens me to see those poor souls in our profession who never see the benefits because they never learned the fundamentals of how to practice caring dentistry within the framework of a balanced lifestyle. They have missed the fantastic advantage of knowing the basic rules for doing dentistry predictably... with total focus on success for every patient. Success in practice is not based on how much money we make… or on how many patients we can cram into an overloaded schedule. Stress in dental practice is usually related to a misguided concept that "enough is never enough", and "more is better," The actor Jim Carrey summed it up very well when he said " I wish everybody could be very rich and have everything they could ever want.. so they could see that it is not the answer."

I wish every dentist could understand that it is never advantageous, either to the patient or the practice, to do incomplete examinations or compromised treatment planning. "Not enough time" is an unacceptable excuse that signals the need for better scheduling and better understanding of how to practice effectively.

I've had the great experience of seeing countless lives changed by learning to do dentistry right.. and then adapting practice life to fit a vision of an ideal family life... rather than vice versa.

It is an exciting time in a dentist's life when he/ she learns that we can have both. My wish for each of you this Thanksgiving is that you will be among those fortunate practitioners who realize that dentistry, properly practiced, can provide a wonderful life both at home and in the office, if we recognize when enough is enough.

And a very happy Thanksgiving to all.

 Did you like this article? Read Dr. Dawson's article from the last holiday season.

Peter E. Dawson, D.D.S. is considered to be one of the most influential clinicians and teachers in the history of dentistry. He authored the best selling dental text, Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Occlusal Problems, which is published in 13 languages. His latest book is entitled Functional Occlusion: From TMJ to Smile Design. He is the founder of the “Concept of Complete Dentistry Seminar Series (SM)” as well as The Dawson Academy. In addition to numerous awards and special recognitions, Dr. Dawson is the past president and life member of the American Equilibration Society, a past president of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry and the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.