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Becoming the Complete Dentist

Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual.
- Homa Bahrami

Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth, because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
- M. Scott Peck

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
- Mahatma Gandhi

Essentially this book is about a career in dentistry—a sustainable career in dentistry. In the Introduction I used the acronym PERMA to describe the components of well-being. For me dentistry always meant more than a job. Just a job doesn't have the potential to fulfill the PERMA requirements, especially engagement and meaning. Many lecturers believe that making dentistry a calling is the answer to creating the passion that will fuel the components of well-being but that just isn't practical for everyone. It wasn't for me. But I do believe that all dentists can have a successful sustainable career in dentistry by paying attention to many of the ideas in this book.

The key to sustaining a practice over time is to first understand the complex nature of dentistry. I once heard a wise man say, "Evolution favors complexity, and by complexity I mean things that are highly differentiated and integrated at the same time." If we fail to recognize the complexity of dentistry we see it as too complicated and frustrating or just another simple job. In order to become the complete dentist, we need to understand the relationship between the technical side of dentistry and the behavioral side of dentistry. The emphasis in dental education is overwhelmingly in favor of the technical side.

Dental education will need to change to include more behavioral, leadership and communication skills in order to train dentists to have more fulfilling careers. As of now, our dental education is incomplete.

As long as the focus is on material success or the achievement component of PERMA, there will be a gap in the careers of many dentists.

Please let me know your thoughts on creating a curriculum for Becoming the Complete Dentist.

Send me an e-mail at Nichedental@me.com.
Visit me at my blog, TAOofDentistry.com.
Tweet me @barrypolansky.
Subscribe to my e-letter at AcademyofDentalLeadership.com.
Read my book The Art of the Examination.
Read my book The Art of Case Presentation

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