What can you tell us about your background?After graduating from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in 1982, I practiced general restorative dentistry in rural Oregon for 15 years. I was in an area where I had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of dental procedures. After realizing that dental school provided only the basic skills for patient dental care, I became somewhat of a CE junkie. Almost by accident, I attended a CE seminar in Santa Barbara given by Dr. Cliff Ruddle of Advanced Endodontics. Cliff lit my fire when he showed me vertical compaction of warm gutta percha. I was hooked! In a very short time, I knew I had found my niche, and I began a love affair with endodontics that continues to this day—and is stronger than ever. I took a fork in the road that led me to Boston University, and an opportunity to study with Dr. Herbert Schilder, where I graduated under his mentorship in 1999. I am really proud to be a BU alum and a Schilder-trained endodontist.
Is your practice limited to endodontics?My practice is limited to endodontics and implantology, but I don’t think of it as a limitation at all. As a general dentist, I was surgically placing and restoring implants as far back as 1983. And over the three decades since, I’ve had to accept the fact that there are a certain number of teeth that just cannot be saved naturally. But I’ve also learned that the fight is not over with that, and that the next best thing to a natural tooth is a well-placed dental implant. In fact, we actually save teeth by placing implants. A well-placed implant can strengthen and improve the condition of the teeth around it, and I strongly believe that endodontists who have the desire and training to place implants should do so, when indicated. We have intimate knowledge of dental anatomy and the dental alveolus, and we are already hyper-focused on precision measurement at the micro level, which is the cornerstone of sound implantology.
How long have you been practicing?After completing the BU residency program in 1999, I returned to the northwest and started practicing in Bend, Oregon, as an endodontic specialist. Central Oregon is a wonderful place, but the long cold winters left my wife, Christine, and I in search of warmer climates. So, always one to go to extremes, in 2004 we sold the Oregon practice and relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona–about as warm a place as you can find!
What systems do you use? I am a huge advocate of the dental operating microscope, and have been using one since the early 90s. I was exposed to operatory microscopy early in my career and started actively using the microscope as a general practitioner. I was one of the first general dentists in the country, if not the world, to incorporate it, and I certainly was the first dentist in Oregon. Magnification and lighting are critically important in almost every area of clinical dentistry; “The better you can see it, the better you can treat it.” Currently, I use a Zeiss OMNI PROErgo®, which allows me to do things that I could not do without it. Simply put, the PROErgo® makes my eyes smile! I believe in setting up our treatment rooms to be efficient, comfortable, and ergonomic. ASI (Advanced Systems Integration) has taken all of the “gadgets” that we use and has incorporated them into a delivery system that has a single foot control. This decreases the stress in the operatory environment exponentially. I am on my seventh generation of ASI delivery systems, and as the technology improves, I change with it. The changeover brings both challenges and growth, but ASI listens to my suggestions for improvements and does their best to accommodate my ideas. The fewer micromechanical movements we make during patient treatments, the more efficient we can be. And the more efficient my staff and I are as a team, the more we enjoy our days. And the patients always sense that we love what we do. It makes a difference. Like many other endodontists worldwide, (22 countries now) I use The Digital Office (TDO), developed by endodontist and innovator Dr. Gary Carr. TDO continues to evolve, and is, without question, the premier endodontic software in the world. Obviously, there is no such thing as a truly paperless office—none of us are exempt from using the restroom—but TDO certainly helps us save more paper and more trees. Utilizing TDO, patients can self-register online, and referring doctors can go online with a password and check out the status of their referred patients’ treatments. In this age of constant communication, the amount of data TDO is able to organize and share makes it, in one word, vital.
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