You may have seen the time line on the ABOUT US page of this website. I would like to expand on that and state my philosophy of what it means and what are the obligations of a professional.
I believe that to uphold the trust of being a professional, a requirement of continuous learning is inherent. If one does not continue to grow, one becomes stale and not useful. This is especially important when one is entrusted with relieving pain and treating disease for the improvement of the physical and emotional well-being of others.
Dental school graduation in 1972, as much of a relief as that was, only marked the beginning of learning in my chosen profession. My ﬁrst step on the journey was in the Navy Dental Corp at the submarine base in New London, Connecticut. For the next two years, I would increase the quality and efﬁciency of what I had learned in school by shear repetition. By the time I opened the practice in Joplin in 1974, I had become very proﬁcient in basic dentistry.
In 1975 I joined the Academy of General Dentistry. My purpose was to learn about new treatments and techniques in general dentistry and to learn in areas where I had little or no previous training. To maintain a state dental license only 75 hours of continuing education every 3 years is required, but to fulﬁll my own goals much more was needed. After accumulation of 500 hours of credit, I received the AGD Fellowship status in 1985.
Realizing that the more I learned, the more I didn’t know, my pursuits continued toward the next level in the AGD; Mastership. The requirements were more exacting in every aspect of dentistry. That was great because I was interested in expanding the services I offered. After 600 more hours I received my AGD Mastership in 1995.
I learned to do things that were not even known when I was in dental school. Porcelain veneers, light cured composites, and others as well as improving existing skills and an insight into the world of TMJ disorders.
From 1997- 2003, I completed an arduous process of becoming Board Certiﬁed by the American Board of General Dentistry. This was series of volunteer self-improvement examinations to become even more proﬁcient in my chosen ﬁeld. In passing I joined an elite group of 300 dentists nation wide. I learned a great deal from that experience which has been very beneﬁcial ultimately for our patients. But that is not the end.
A new era started as I discovered a great connection between dental and many medical problems. I focused on this area in several high level multi-year teaching programs. I learned the intricate and complex way the chewing system works and relates to general health from the Dawson / Piper Center of Advanced Dental Studies, the Orognathic Bioesthetic Institute and the Center for Advanced Biologic Orthodontics. It is now possible to diagnose and treat most any condition of the TMJ’s, headaches, airway constrictions, dental occlusion (the bite), worn or misaligned teeth, facial growth, and facial esthetic problems.
The journey has required sacriﬁces and commitments but has been exceedingly rewarding. I feel I am fulﬁlling my professional obligations to those who entrust me with their care.