One of the things I love about dentistry is that the learning never stops. There is always a chance to discover a new product that will perform better, or a new technique to make life easy. Just last week we figured out a simple trick to make sure a new crown fits under an old nightguard
There is another job that also includes daily learning and is often more challenging: Being a dad. While you may get used to the way a cement sets up when bonding a veneer, parenthood is a constantly changing environment with each new stage of life. As with small failures in dentistry that bring a bit of humility, parenthood keeps you on your feet, and your head out of the clouds. Last weekend I had the joy of teaching my daughter how to boogie board in the ocean. Later, I had the sorrow of sending our other daughters' favorite spoon down the garbage disposal, digging chunks out of the metal and leaving sharp burs. Thankfully, it was not the side with Minnie Mouse.
OK, its just a spoon, but it was her favorite. Of course I felt badly. In any other case, I would have probably chucked the spoon in the trash. Thanks to my profession of choice, however, I just brought it to work. After rummaging around for a few minutes, I finally found my old Moore's discs from dental school. Ten minutes later I had a perfectly polished spoon with no dings or scratches. Dentist dad to the rescue.
Later that night I presented the newly restored spoon to our three year old, beaming with pride over the labor of love. Unaware of the original damage, she looked up at me with those big brown eyes with a mix of love and bewilderment. It's probably the look I will have to get used to when she is a teenager.
So here's to the dads and dentists out there. May your successes and failures keep life, and your day job, exciting.