Our 30th Anniversary Hillsborough High School Scholarship

The holidays are behind us, the New Year is underway, and I hope that 2015 is progressing well for you. The one remaining detail from last year’s 30th anniversary celebration was to decide on the final details for our gift to the Township of Hillsborough. It is our way of expressing thanks for having been our host for the past 30 years.

scholarshipAs we had mentioned previously, the decision had been made to sponsor a scholarship for a senior graduating in the class of 2015. Last week we provided the final details of this scholarship to the guidance office at Hillsborough High School and it is my pleasure to share them with you today. This scholarship is offered to a graduating senior who will attend a four-year college or university. This student is one who intends to earn a bachelor of fine arts and who plans to pursue a career in the visual arts.

scholarshipYou may ask why would a dentist sponsor such a scholarship? Wouldn’t a career in medicine make more sense? Well, you may recall that I had originally begun a career in architecture and actually practiced this profession for a period of some ten years. One of the reasons that I chose architecture as my original career was because of my love of drawing and art. I have always had tremendous respect and admiration for those creative individuals who have the ability to express their imagination through the visual arts–whether it be on paper, canvas, film or in three-dimensional sculpture. So, I decided to help and encourage a potential young artist to begin his or her artistic development.

scholarship

Students who wish to be selected for this scholarship are asked to provide two letters of recommendation. These letters may be written by their guidance counselor, art teacher or other person who they feel was influential in their choosing a career in the visual arts. In addition, these students will submit 2 examples of their artwork which will be displayed in our office this springtime.   I truly look forward to meeting these young people and witnessing the creative talents that each of them displays.   Naturally we will inform you when these works of art are available for public viewing.

I will be equally interested to read the letters of recommendation that the students provide. I can clearly recall teachers and employers from my youth who were so influential to me in choosing my original career as well as teaching me how to properly use my eyes. My early days of learning about art and architecture, as well as the time I spent drawing, will always remain as very fond memories.

scholarship

So, thank you again to Hillsborough for being home to our office for the past thirty plus wonderful years.   I hope that in some small way this scholarship expresses the gratitude that our entire team has for the people of Hillsborough.   It is you wonderful people who have made coming to work each day so fulfilling and enjoyable.

Celebrating 30 Years – One Final Thank You!

We had a wonderful time celebrating our 30th anniversary during the month of November. Two “Thank You’s” still need to be addressed. The second of these involves the final details for the scholarship that we plan to sponsor for a graduating Hillsborough High School student this year. These final details will be completed in the beginning of January 2015. We are very excited by this opportunity to give back to our community in this way and look forward to sharing these details with you in the upcoming weeks.

So now it is time to get on with the single remaining item on our “30 Days of Thanks” list. This particular item has been saved for last, as it is arguably the single most important Thank You which must be expressed.  For those of you who know me fairly well, it will not be surprising to learn that I have reserved this key position of respect and gratitude for my wife and partner Elizabeth.

As I shared in an earlier article, I met Liz in 1984 (also 30 years ago). I had just begun working at a dental clinic in Wayne, New Jersey where I had the good fortune to be assigned to a specific dental operatory in that rather large facility. When I entered that operatory, I was greeted by this attractive 19-year-old brunette named Liz, who had been assigned as my dental assistant. I don’t really remember the particulars of how our first day unfolded, but I know that neither one of us could have been considered a “seasoned” dental practitioner. We worked together for a few months while I was absorbed in the process of opening my own dental practice in Hillsborough. Realizing that I would soon need a dental assistant at that office, I had the foresight and good sense to ask Liz if she would be interested in joining me there. And the rest is history.

thank youThose were very exciting times as we set about to build a practice from nothing.   It was basically a blank canvas, and we savored the opportunity to help people and make a difference as we grew both professionally and personally. Even from those very early days, Liz became my partner. As there were only two people in the office, we had a lot of shoes to fill. Of course, we were dentist and assistant. But we were also contractors, marketers, financial experts, janitors and decorators.  Thank you Liz for your 30 years of hard work in all of your capacities.

From the very beginning, having the ability to discuss with a trusted friend and partner all the many decisions which had to be made and all the issues which presented themselves was priceless. And, to this day I still count on Liz to help me work through problems and important decisions as they arise.  Thank you Liz for being my confidant, sounding board and business partner.

I have always felt the need to continue learning more about dentistry as well as the management of our practice.   As Liz would frequently attend classes with me, she and I grew together both professionally and personally. Over the years, we became closer and closer friends.   Eventually, we had the good sense to become not only best friends but also husband and wife. That was eleven years ago, and I count my blessings every day for having sealed the deal.  Thank you Liz for being my loving wife.

thank youFinally, it’s not always easy or fun to be the boss.  Liz reminds me every day that once the office door closes behind us, she is no longer my assistant.  As long as I remember that, our happy home stays happy.  More importantly, she just has a way of being and feeling that I admire and try to emulate.  In particular, she has three personality traits that make her special. First, she never worries about the small things nor is rattled by other people’s comments or actions or situations in day-to-day life. She’s generally calm and positive – traits I can only wish for.  Second, I have never heard her speak ill about any other person. She apparently took a lesson from the proverbial Aunt Martha who teaches us to “say nothing if you have nothing good to say.” This is an uncommon positive trait in this world. And third, she is a trusted, caring and uncomplicated friend to many. When I first met Liz, she was rather introverted.  Now she is the more outgoing one who has a natural way to attract the friendship of so many.  Thank you Liz for inspiring me by just being yourself.

I have thought about writing this Thank You article to Liz for some time and one line from  a movie has been stuck in my head as the perfect way to close this blog. In the movie “Jerry Maguire” there was a character named Dickie Fox who was the Tom Cruise character’s mentor.   Here is the perfect way he summed it up:

“Hey, I don’t have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.”

thank you

All the best to you in 2015!

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You, Mentors!

I had wanted to complete all of our anniversary “Thank You’s” in November, but that was not meant to be.  Liz and I enjoyed a wonderful long Thanksgiving weekend with our family and I decided not to rush through the final couple of articles as the people to whom they are directed have been important mentors in our lives.

With that being said, I feel extremely fortunate during my career for having found the perfect mentors who I needed at the exact time when I needed them. Each of these mentors helped our office and me personally to grow and focus on what is important and point out and help eliminate our weaknesses. I firmly believe in the value that mentoring provides for people in every situation and in every decade of life. It is my sincere hope that at some point in the future, I may give back to younger dentists some of that which I took away from my mentors over the years.

mentorsI have already mentioned in an earlier thank you article the first mentor who had a significant impact on my career – Dr. Peter Dawson. Shortly after dental school, I knew that I did not want to be an “ordinary” dentist who filled teeth all day, every day. I had also come to believe that a thorough understanding of occlusion was mandatory if I was to be an excellent dentist. The reason is because occlusion has an impact on just about every condition in the mouth including gum disease, TMD, appearance and everything having to do with the longevity of dental health. Since Dr. Dawson wrote the most important modern book on the subject, I decided to take his course and began to learn about this most complex subject. As I mentioned in the previous article, I had the amazing luck to run into Dr. Dawson in the airport as I was coming home after his class. It was at that meeting when he recommended that I begin studying at the L. D. Pankey Institute which I did.

It was on a gorgeous day in the summer of 1987 or thereabouts that I sat in my lounge chair with an occlusion textbook (which had been recommended as adjunct reading) on the beach at Spring Lake. That day was a turning point in my life as that was the day when occlusion began to make sense to me. To this day, whenever I choose to improve my understanding of any subject, I find no better place to do it than in a chaise lounge on a beach.  Now, some 25 years later, I am still studying occlusion and have attended the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies where I learned another philosophy on the same subject.  Thank you very much Dr. Dawson for helping me to begin on the right path.

Then, a few years later, as the office was getting busier, it became apparent that our lack of business management savvy was becoming an issue. My experience and reading had taught me that most businesses go through a progression of plateaus and the best businesses do what is necessary to face and address challenges as they arise. Common challenges include time management, team building, financial controls and the myriad of systems which make a business work.

mentorsTo that end, I was extremely fortunate to have met Dr. Michael Schuster. He and I shared a similar practice philosophy as he, too, practiced Pankey style dentistry and had a school called the Center for Professional Development (now called the Schuster Center) where a philosophy of practice management and the tools necessary to run a dental practice were taught. My team and I studied in this center in Scottsdale, Arizona for two years; and, during that time, traveled there on several occasions to learn how to better manage our office. In addition to the meetings in Arizona, there were monthly phone conferences, many books to be read and book reports to write. This course of study was like an MBA for dentists. After the first year, I clearly remember feeling so positive that I had recurring dreams about being able to fly –  seriously!

This course of study helped me to organize my entire life as well as our dental practice that eventually began to run like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, along with the process of self-discovery and success with the dental practice came the end of my marriage. I believe that if it were not for Dr. Schuster I would not be as successful as I feel today both professionally and personally. There, I was taught the value of setting goals and looking inward to take control of my life in a positive way. Thank you Dr. Schuster. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to you for providing exactly what I needed at that time in my life.

mentorsFinally, I’d like to thank Dr. Charlie Martin who is a dentist in Richmond Virginia and who ran conferences four times each year and facilitated a “mastermind” of like-minded dentists. Charlie is a passionate and hard-working dentist who has the ability to engage others with his point of view and extensive knowledge on various subjects. He was most helpful to me in helping to decide the most current direction in our dental practice. He provided what I needed to know,  and, as a result moved to the next level of my career. Unfortunately, Charlie has retired, but the effects of his efforts on all of our mastermind members will be felt for years to come.   Thank you Dr. Martin! This course of study helped me to organize my entire life, as well as our dental practice, which eventually began to run like a well-oiled machine. Unfortunately, along with the process of self-discovery and success with the dental practice, came the end of my marriage.

I am also grateful to Dr. Charlie Martin for having introduced me to a wonderful group of dentists who are equally passionate, hard working, intelligent and an absolute pleasure to share time with. I miss them and the conferences in Richmond, and I wish each of these friends much health, happiness and success for years to come!

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You, Maria and Our Hygienists

In today’s installment of our Thirty Days of Thanks, I have the pleasure of expressing my gratitude to Maria Slavinsky and all of our dental hygienists. Maria has been an important member of our team for the last eleven years! During that time, anyone who has been a “regular” in our office knows that Maria was married, had a baby and has become a most caring and involved mother. One reason that patients like her so much is that she begins every visit by “catching up” on the past six months and sharing the most recent pictures of her family. She has that natural gift of being able to bond with people and show her true interest in everyone for whom she provides care, not to mention her coworkers, friends and family.

hygienists

Patients also appreciate the fact that she is gentle and yet very thorough in her treatment. She provides a complete explanation of what is happening in each patient’s mouth, and has the knowledge to offer solutions for patients’ various issues and concerns.

As a team member, all of us appreciate Maria’s dependability, enthusiasm and cooperation. She has only missed being in the office on two extended occasions.  One of those occurred six years ago just after one of our office holiday parties. Apparently, Italian food jump started Maria’s contractions and she gave birth to her daughter Veronica within a day or so. The other occasion followed an incident in Maria’s kitchen when she was attempting to remove an avocado pit.   Without getting into too much detail, that incident resulted in surgery to properly reattach one of Maria’s fingers. She is no longer allowed to carve up avocados! I guess the only other time she regularly places herself in jeopardy is when she and her husband Dmitri and daughter Veronica go skiing, which I believe is as often as possible.

There is one trait which Maria has that you may not be aware of. It is a trait which I have come to share with her. We have both become rather germophobic over the years, so none of our patients needs to be too concerned about cleanliness around Maria. She and I wash our hands constantly after any questionable contact, and she is always cleaning up to get rid of any potential hazard.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Karen Cummins  I have known Karen for as long as I have been in Hillsborough, as her son Marty and my daughter Meredith were an item at one time. More importantly, Karen has been a part time hygienist in our office for many, many years; and, has a very loyal following of patients who want to be seen only by her. She has been a good friend to us over the years and we truly appreciate all her help.

Similarly, there have been other hygienists in our first two decades who were wonderful members of our team and provided excellent care for our patients. The work that hygienists do is not easy and requires dedication and skill to be done with proficiency.

Thank you to Maria, Karen and all the hygienists for your professionalism and friendship over the past thirty years.

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You, Our IT Partners

Thirty years ago, a dentist would not have had any idea that he or she would need IT partners to insure that his or her practice runs smoothly. So, in today’s installment, I would like to thank those companies who help to make our office run like a well-oiled machine while giving us more time to spend on patient care and less on managing our non-clinical affairs.

First there is Dentrix, our dental software company.   It is this company which provides all the software to make appointments, set up individual digital charts for patients, manage each patient’s account, submit insurance claims, and basically keep track of just about everything that goes on in our dental office. I vaguely remember managing all these details by hand until the late 1980s. It was very time consuming and not fun!   Dentrix is our second software company, and we have been with them for about 20 years. It is easy to take for granted everything that this software allows us to accomplish, but I believe that this company offers a wonderful product, keeps it current, and allows us to be so much more efficient.

Second, there is Dexis, our digital imaging company, which provides both the hardware and software for digital radiography (x-rays).  As I mentioned in our previous article, these digital x-rays are a huge improvement over the photographic system that we had used for over 20 years. So now, when we open the patient’s digital chart, all of his or her x-rays and photographs are visible and easily enlarged on our computer screens. The system has improved our ability to make proper diagnoses, explain what we see to patients, and keepg ongoing photographic record of patients’ conditions, which we have found to be so helpful in developing appropriate treatment plans for any given patient.

Third, I’d like to thank the Smilereminder Company (now called Solutionreach).    We have been with this company for close to ten years and they are responsible for the reminders which you receive before your appointments. They also allow us to stay in touch with you via our Digital newsletters, birthday cards, and holiday wishes. We have found that this company is very well managed and provides a great service for us as a dental office and for you as patients.

Finally, I’d like to thank Gilleard Marketing for producing our newest website and maintaining it in a professional manner. We feel that this website reflects a true image of our office and we appreciate Keith Gileard’s photographic and creative skills to produce such a fine website. I consider Gilleard to be a very important IT partner in the day-to-day management of our dental practice and I would recommend his work to anyone who seeks such service.

IT Partners

I hope that this brief view of our dental management technology has offered you some insight. We always encourage and welcome your comments about this and any other technology. Feel free to ask us about it or offer your opinions the next time that you are in the office.

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You Technology

Before I begin today’s topic, I must correct a glaring omission from the thank you letter I wrote to April and all of our dental assistants. There is a woman who was our second dental assistant after Liz back in the mid 80’s and describing this person provides a perfect segue into today’s subject. The person to whom I refer is Remi, a very attractive young woman, who would come to the office dressed in popular clothing of the time, which were stretch pants and high heels with the top of her choice. Naturally, Remi was very popular among my male patients as well as being a top-notch dental assistant.  I had the pleasure of working with her for a couple of years until her family moved to North Carolina  but Remi and I stayed in touch.  Then, during the 90’s, we became quite good friends socially. When April began her first maternity leave, Remi stepped in to help us and remained on a part-time basis until she left for a new full-time position.  Remi is owed a big thank you for both her friendship and her contributions to our dental practice.  Remi, please forgive me for not having included you in the first article!!

But what does Remi have to do with today’s topic?  Today, I will express thanks for the amazing progress that we have made in dentistry owing to the development of various technological advancements. At the same time, I’ll have an opportunity to describe how the practice of dentistry has changed in the last thirty years. So, if you can picture Remi wearing stretch pants and high heels, you will realize that what we wear today is far different from the “uniform” of thirty years ago.  Better yet, if you can picture what Remi was not wearing at the time, you will understand the first major change that occurred in dentistry in the last thirty years.

Thank you technologyWhat Remi was not wearing back then was gloves, a mask and all the other outer protective garments, which are mandatory today. What changed was the AIDS epidemic had begun and the use of all  protective clothing and shields became mandated.  After having practiced “wet fingered” dentistry for several years, wearing gloves was initially quite a challenge due to the loss of tactile sensation that resulted.  But we all adapted and have since incorporated a multitude of protocols and protective items to protect not only those who work in the dental office but also every patient.

Thank you technologyThe next major change for dental practices was the use of computers which began in the mid to late 1980’s. I remember buying my first computer, an IBM with a whopping 50 MB of memory! Bear in mind that is megabytes and I’m not referring to RAM. This computer took some getting used to, but relieved us of hours upon hours of paperwork every day as all appointments and transactions had been done by hand up to that time. As you can imagine, the computers kept getting bigger and doing more for us every year.  Now, the practice of dentistry and the use of computers are totally integrated and amazing.

Thank You technologyToday, the world of dentistry is becoming more and more digital. By now, most of my patients have seen the digital x-rays which we employ.  These x-rays are so large and easy to read that patients can easily see what we see with minimum coaching. These x-rays can be manipulated in terms of contrast, size and various other features.  Similarly, in the future, impressions will be taken digitally using a small intraoral camera rather than all of that impression gook which many patients are not fond of.

If you’ve been in our office for the last dozen years or so, you’ll note that we also use a digital camera to record photos of your teeth.  In addition, we have an intraoral camera which takes close-up images of the teeth.    The use of these photographs helps us to better diagnose what is going on in a given patient’s mouth as well as the ability to easily explain conditions and options to patients.

Thank you technologyOne of my favorite newer pieces of equipment is called the K7.  We have been using this system for the past five years or so to help us better diagnose and treat patients who have Temporomandibular Joint Disorders.   This piece of equipment allows us to evaluate the jaw muscles, jaw movement and joint sounds. Using this piece of equipment, we can determine in an objective way the best position for an individual patient’s jaw.  Since using the K7, we have been able to help many patients who were suffering with a variety of TMD symptoms.   If you have any interest in the subject, you may find additional information on the website  www.myotronics.com  .

Other technological advances which assist us in our day to day treatment of patients include the use of the diode laser, the Wave One root canal system, and the Diagnodent cavity detection device.

Thank you technologyThe diode laser has a multitude of uses including preparing teeth for impressions, cosmetic re-contouring of the gums, the treatment of periodontal or gum disease and the speed healing of canker sores and fever blisters just to name a few. This is a marvelous piece of equipment which is kind to patients for its healing properties, its gentleness not requiring the need for anesthesia in many cases, as well as its ability to work without creating bleeding.

The Wave One root canal system is an equally wonderful system which helps us to perform root canal therapy for patients in less time than in the past while being more thorough at the same time.

Thank you technologyThe Diagnodent cavity detection device uses a laser to detect the presence of decay in an extremely accurate manner. We had even seen that it finds decay which is not visible either on x-ray or in the mouth but serves to help patients avoid more extensive treatment due to lack of prompt care.

The descriptions provided above of the technological advances which we have seen the last 30 years is by no means a complete list. Suffice it to say, the practice of dentistry is far more enjoyable, accurate and just plain better than it was in the 80’s.

Thank you to all the pioneers who helped to develop the technology that we use today. It will be fascinating to watch dentistry continue to evolve in the next thirty years!

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You Dental Specialists

This next addition of our letters of gratitude is dedicated to all the specialist dentists with whom I’ve worked during the past 30 years.  Many years ago, I was taught that there are the four “R’s” for fixing teeth. They are Remove, Restore, Reposition or Refer! So, in other words, the buck stops with the specialist.  These are the doctors who take care of patients who have more difficult and unusual and complex problems.  The general dentist will ideally remain as the quarterback for his patients by coordinating his or her treatment with specialists as needed.   So a good working relationship between generalists and specialists is critical. Serving as the patient’s advocate by choosing appropriate and qualified specialists is an important aspect general dentist’s role.

A great specialist is one who is absolutely up to date in the care that is delivered. He or she is an excellent communicator and can explain what possible treatment options are available and/or necessary and why.   I have had the good fortune to work with many such specialists.  What follows is a list of these dentists by specialty who deserve the gratitude of both the patients and the dentists who referred them.

Orthodontists 

Laurene Wolf who is the orthodontist of our hygienist Maria and her husband

Frederic Sterritt and Richard D’Avanzo who have several offices in central NJ.  Dr. Sterritt was my daughter Meredith’s orthodontist

Rick Wright with whom I shared a small world moment as I was walking through the Louvre and who was my daughter Meredith’s orthodontist

Mary Richmond with whom I’ve worked on cosmetic cases and who sees patients in the Skillman and Princeton areas

Barry Rosenfeld who treated my wife Liz back in the 1980’s

Endodontists (root canals)

Annmarie Brennan and Raj Lall who have wonderful chairside manners and are very helpful in helping patients who have pain which is difficult to isolate, teeth with tricky curved or narrow canals, and saviors of those with acute pain.

Oral Surgeons

Robert Albin, Joel Efron and Alan Hecht who have offices in Hillsborough and Somerville.  I have worked with Dr. Albin since first opening in Hillsborough and all three of these doctors since their group formed back in the 90’s.  This group removed my daughter Meredith’s impacted wisdom teeth.

Kerry McKay whose untimely, recent passing is mourned by many friends and patients.  We’ll miss him.

Samuel Levine is located in Princeton and has provided excellent care for several of my patients.

Periodontists

David Goldberg with whom I work very closely on the majority of implants cases.  Dr. Goldberg is well liked and respected by patients and dentists alike for both gum issues and implants.  Dr. Goldberg has a gift in how he works with patients and provides excellent care

Tat Chiang and I have worked on patients together for years.  He is a part-time professor who is well abreast of current techniques and care.

Jean-Pierre Arnoux, Raoul Figueroa and John Lu are located in Lawrenceville and were trained at U. Penn.  I have been working with this group for for about 7 years and have had only positive feedback from patients.  They are a pleasure to work with.

Richard Staller is located in Princeton and has provided excellent periodontal care for patients.

Specialists

I’d like to thank all of the doctors above and any who I may have inadvertently omitted for the excellent care which they have provided for my patients over the past thirty years.  All the best to you for a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy 2015!

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You April (and All Our Former Dental Assistants)

Dental AssistantsAs I am writing this letter, April is only a few short weeks away from giving birth to her second daughter! She will be beginning maternity leave at the end of this month and will be painfully missed by our entire team – especially me. I have known April since she was a little girl because she was a friend and classmate of my daughter Lauren.  She has been a member of our dental team for nearly ten years and she has been my favorite dental assistant of all time!

Not too long after April joined our team, I remember our celebrating her 21st birthday.  Liz, Maria and I took April to the Mediterra Bar in Princeton where she was served her first “legal” cocktail. She was very well behaved for a 21-year-old and has been that way for as long as I’ve known her.  It struck me as unusual that she would want to spend that occasion with us but we were very glad that she did.

April has always been an absolute pleasure to work with. She is one of the reasons that I look forward to getting up in the morning and going to work.  Discussing what has transpired since last seeing each other has been a daily ritual and she is the one who I can count on to stay calm in any situation; in a dental office, that type of personality is priceless.  April has some traits of which patients may not be aware.  As many of you know, I sometimes enjoy chatting away while working.  There are times when this “chatting” becomes – shall we say – inappropriate.  Generally, that’s because my mind is elsewhere as I’m focused on the task at hand.  At times like this, I will feel April kick my shin or utter an “ahem” which I have been trained to understand means “close the mouth”.  In a similar way, I have come to depend on April at times to translate what I am trying to say to a patient into words that make sense. Whether the conversation breakdown is due to a gender disconnect or too much “technicalese”, April has a way of conveying the substance of what I’m trying to say in an understandable way. That is an amazing gift.

The truth is that I have had a number of dental assistants with whom I truly enjoyed working.  In the several years before April began, my sister-in-law Zora (Liz’s brother’s wife) joined our team and worked with us until moving to Florida.  Both she and April were amazing because they learned every important instrument, technique and concept necessary to be outstanding dental assistants – and all within a three-month period.  This is not an easy feat and led me to feel that each of these women could be an excellent dentist if they had the desire and time.   Before Zora there was Allison who I also truly enjoyed working with for several years.  Allison joined us at the time I began attending LVI, and she traveled there with me, Liz and our then hygienist, Deanna.  We shared some wonderful times in Las Vegas and having trained together, were better able to implement what was learned there.

All of these dental assistants deserve much credit for the work that they do. Not only do they have to understand the dental materials, the techniques, ordering supplies and how to use the dental software, but they need to be even-tempered psychologists and dental concierges for our patients as well. What they do is hard work and they do it in such a way that the rest of the team as well as our patients are happy.

Celebrating 30 Years- Thank You Office Assistants

Many years ago, we began hiring high school students who would work after school and help us in various ways around the office. These students offered a breath of fresh air because of their youthful optimism, their lightheartedness, their occasional drama and their desire to help. From my point of view, there seemed to be a symbiotic relationship between these office assistants and our team; they received training in how an office is managed and how to be an effective team member.  They also received a paycheck and accordingly learned something about taxes :).   We received much needed help in the afternoons when it was most needed. This made our dental assistants happy.

In recent years, we have had some outstanding high school assistants. First there was Michelle, the daughter of one of our good friends, who was blessed with an infectious smile and upbeat personality to go along with her ability to learn fast and lend a hand. Next was Marissa, who remained with us for over two years before leaving for college. We watched as Marissa grew to be most helpful around the office and another smiling person who could be counted on as a pleasure to be around.  I am sure that she will continue to be very successful in college and I look forward to watching her educational development. Now, we have welcomed Jacqueline – Michelle’s younger sister – as our current assistant.  She has been a very fast learner and proves to be yet another positive asset to our team.

There have been many other such students who have helped us through the years. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all for being so helpful to our entire team and contributing to the fun work environment that we enjoy.

Office Assistants

Dr. Nadler with Jacqueline and Laura

In addition, over the past few years, we have added a new position to our team – our non-clinical personal assistant. This person is responsible for all non-dental communications with our patients and referring doctors.  It is she who keeps our patients and the public abreast of what is going on in our office, and it is she who creates the various monthly specials and disseminates news and information via social media.   All her efforts have received very positive feedback.

Our first personal assistant was Nicole and she was exceptional in her ability to organize and systematize all of her work.   In addition, she created office brochures, developed social media awareness and introduced me to other doctors with whom I collaborate to help our patients.  After Nicole there was Shilpa and Allison who were friends of each other and were both extremely capable. Our current personal assistant is Laura who you will see in our reception area when you first enter the office. Please make sure to say hello and perhaps ask her what is going on currently.  I am sure that she will have some interesting ideas to discuss.

In closing, our entire team would like to send a big Thank You to each of the high school student assistants and to our personal assistants for all that you have done to help us do what needs doing, and for just being such a pleasure to work with. We wish all the best to each of you for a wonderful holiday season and happiness and success in the future.

30 Days of Thanks- Dental Technicians and Laboratories

I have had the pleasure of working with several wonderful dental technicians and laboratories and during the past three decades. Since it has always been our goal to provide excellent dental care for our patients, selecting the right dental laboratories to be our partners was critical. In the process of advancing our dental techniques and treatment planning, it was incumbent upon us to find dental laboratories and technicians who shared the same philosophy and passion to do great work. In that regard, to find a good fit, we depended upon word of mouth from our peers. Such has been the case since the late 1980’s and several labs with whom we have worked deserve our sincere thanks.

dental technicians and laboratories

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, the use of gold for fine dental restorations was still common. So, to learn how to provide excellent gold inlays and onlays, I took advantage of an opportunity to become a member of the exclusive Richard Tucker Gold Study Club. Members of this club met in dental offices and brought actual patients on whom to practice their technique.  These doctors were very particular; Tucker trained doctors used only Tucker trained technicians.  As a result, I was fortunate to have met a man named Dale Jones who handmade the finest gold restorations I had ever seen. Times have changed, and patients no longer wished to have gold visible in their mouths. So we began doing a similar service using modern dental ceramics for beautiful restorations. The problem was that Dale did not work with porcelain, but I asked him if he knew someone who was as good with porcelain as he was with gold. That is how I was introduced to Krisann Shaler and her lab called Porcelain Designs.

dental technicians and laboratoriesKris and I began working together in the early 90’s and we still work together today. Her lab is in California, but we were able to spend some quality time together around the year 2000.  We arranged to meet while I was taking a course at the Las Vegas Institute and it was then that Kris, Dale and I, along with our spouses, went to dinner and got to know each other on a personal level. Kris actually made the restorations for my wife, Liz, that were being prepared while I was attending courses at the Las Vegas Institute. When I inserted these restorations, the other doctors with whom I attended classes and the teaching doctors commented on how beautiful the porcelain work was. Kris is still providing beautiful restorations like those for my patients today.

As I learned more about restoring patients with major bite problems, the need arose for more complex restorations using increasingly difficult techniques.  As a result, I was introduced to larger laboratories that had both the necessary equipment and knowledge to produce these complex cases.  The two labs which have provided this fine service deserve to be thanked as well and their names are Aurum Ceramic Dental Laboratories and Microdental Laboratory. Each of these labs have several outstanding technicians, but I’d like to call out Ulf from Aurum and Gloria from Microdental who have acted as integral members of our team during the production of many of our larger cases.

dental technicians and laboratories

There are several other laboratories with which we have worked over the years and they deserve our gratitude as well. Many times, it is these laboratories who make us look good because they allow us to provide excellent care and service for our deserving patients. So in closing, I’d like to give a huge Thank You to Dale, Krisann and all of the lab technicians who have taken such great care of us for the last 30 years.