Advice To A 7th Grade Me…
It’s been right at thirty years since I walked up the steps of the “new” Canyon Middle School into the 7th grade. At that time, the internet didn’t exist, nobody had a cell phone, and computers consisted of hazy screens and green text made by a company called Wang.
It was certainly a different pre-teen world back then.
On so many levels, I cannot fathom the world in which our kids are growing up. On other levels…well, some things never really change.
I remember middle school to be a confusing time. I cannot say that I was bullied or unpopular or poor or mistreated in any major way. (By today’s standards, we were all mistreated in some way back then.) I think I did okay on the outside. Unfortunately, on the inside, I was filled with self-doubt and confusion about my place in the world. I was confused about who my friends were and their ever changing allegiances to me and to each other. I was confused about being a “nerd” because I made good grades. Every day in athletics was a proving ground. For certain, I was confused about girls and my feelings towards the fairer sex.
In common terms, I was in full blown puberty!
If I had a chance to go back in time and send myself some tips, these would be my bullet points:
- You and your friends are in the same boat. Confused. Alone. Hormonal. It never hurts to lend someone a hug or a bit of help or a shoulder to cry on.
- Try different things. It’s okay to fail at new things. Now is the time to explore and see where your passion may be.
- And don’t worry if you don’t have a passion or know what you want to be when you “grow up.” Just keep searching. Enjoy the journey.
- Work hard and smile a lot and enjoy each and every day. There are few feelings in life quite as satisfying as the feeling of exhaustion with your teammates after a long, hard, sweaty practice. Enjoy every moment you get.
- Never call anyone a name you wouldn’t use in front of your grandma. If you have an issue with someone, discuss it to their face. Never behind their back. Nothing good comes from calling people names and you are a better person than to do that.
- If you like a girl, tell her. If she doesn’t like you back, that’s okay. It doesn’t change who you are. At least you’ll know where you stand.
- When someone shows you who they are, through their actions or their words, see them for who they are. Your true friends will reveal themselves if you pay attention. Be loyal to those who show loyalty to you. Be fair to those who are not loyal.
- It’s okay to make mistakes and it’s okay to fail. You will learn much more from failure than from success. Failure sucks, but regret is worse.
- When you do succeed, remain humble. Lift others up with you. True leaders have the ability to bring out the best in their contemporaries.
- Do not be afraid to explore your faith and to ask questions about God and religion. Be wary of those who have it all figured out. Spirituality is a journey, not a destination.
- Do not be embarrassed when a girl likes you and you do not feel the same way. Be respectful and honest. Never mean. Nor hurtful.
And a few bullet points for today’s world:
- Social media can be a playground for those who lack confidence. And often common sense. Learn to ignore those who cannot say to your face what they can type online.
- When an adult talks, put down your device and look them in the eye. For that matter, give your peers the same respect. Engage. Joke with each other. Quit looking at your phone.
- Phones and computers and game systems are not bad in and of themselves. Learn the art of putting them down and experiencing real life.
When all else fails, just follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you’d like them to treat you. That always works!
Go forth. Have fun. And prosper!
Until next time, keep smiling.
I Love Being A Dentist...
“Dude, you’re going to be a dentist? Don’t you know that everyone hates dentists?”
These were the encouraging words from one of my best friends the day that I received my dental school acceptance letter in 1998.
I’m blessed that I ignored his theory.
While I understand that people would prefer to spend their time anywhere but the dental office, I made the right choice for me. I love being a dentist.
Our patients make it so.
We have patients that bring cookies for our team when they have appointments. Sometimes fresh eggs, or cakes, or kolaches show up. A few juicy rib-eyes made it in the door one time. On another occasion, an extremely nervous patient brought in a bottle of bourbon. We refrained in the office, but enjoyed it after hours. We have some patients that occasionally stop in just for a visit or a hug. Really. A hug. We have been blessed with advice, prayers, throw pillows, baby presents, paintings, thank you notes, and even a homemade quilt.
I’ve gained more knowledge from the people that I’ve met than all of the books in all of the schools that I have ever attended.
We have patients who are professional cowboys, teachers, writers, ranchers, doctors, and poets. We see kids from the age of toddler to the age of “know it all.” On any given day, our sitting area may house a mom, a lawyer, a preacher, and a politician. There is surely some joke about that group somewhere.
We have been inspired by patients and friends who have beaten cancer and those who love life and inspire others with their aura. We’ve seen patients overcome horrible accidents and crippling loss. Quite often, their stories of life make what we do seem small.
Most importantly, we’ve made friends. A lot of them.
We’ve heard stories of traveling the world and camping and graduations and hunting and family reunions. More and more, we are seeing kids grow up and move on and move out. We get to see pictures of grandkids and trophy deer and pet fishes. We get updates every 3, 4, or 6 months. Most of the news is good. When it’s bad, we hug some more.
Yes, dentistry is a rewarding profession. The rewards have nothing to do with teeth, though. The rewards are the people that share their lives with us.
Until next week, please, keep on smiling.
-Suggestions can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
My Weekday Morning Hygiene Routine…
It is an unfortunate fact that dentists and dental office employees have about the same dental hygiene habits as the general population. You would think we would all be heroes with a toothbrush, but the statistics just don’t show that. We brush and floss about the same as everyone else. And we should know better!
As for me, I’d say I fall somewhere in the middle. During the week, I’m not just a hero, but a bonafide superhero with toothbrush, floss, mouth rinse, tongue scraper, breath sprays, and various other hygiene gadgets. I’m deathly afraid of having bad breath, brown teeth, and/or gum disease in our dental office. On the weekends, though, I’ll admit to slacking off a bit. I’m more of a Clark Kent flosser than a Superman flosser from Friday to Sunday.
We all have our imperfections.
So what is my dentist-level weekday morning hygiene routine?
After my second cup of coffee, I rinse well with tap water. I then use a Sonicare toothbrush and brush with a less abrasive fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. Then comes the floss. I really like the yarn kind that is flavored like mint or cinnamon. It seems to get more stuff out and the floss tastes and smells nice. After getting in-between all my teeth (both sides on each pass), I rinse with a fluoride rinse. Act Bubblegum is my current favorite. Then comes another couple of minutes with the Sonicare and a slightly more aggressive stain removing, fluoride toothpaste. I will generally finish it all off with another fluoride rinse and a couple sprays of Binaca.
Throughout the day, I’ll use mints, breath spray, prescription anti-biotic mouth rinse, water pick, and more brushing to try and keep my breath minty fresh. When you are right in people’s face all day, it’s a common courtesy to try and have fresh breath.
Obviously, not everyone has a job where they can spend 10-15 minutes a day focused on cleaning their teeth. For most, two minutes of brushing and two minutes of flossing twice a day will do wonders. A fluoride mouth rinse will also help prevent cavities. For others like me who are prone to gum disease, a little more work helps to keep the gum disease at bay.
At least on weekdays!
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Please send comments to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
When Things Go Wrong…
“If anything can go wrong, it will.” -Murphy’s Law
Dentistry is an art and a science, practiced by human hands. As much as we strive for perfection, dentistry sometimes fails. Fillings break. Porcelain chips. Root canals get re-infected. The mouth is a harsh, sometimes acidic environment. Our jaws are capable of generating over 250 pounds of force on our back molars when biting.
The mouth is a tough place for teeth and dental restorations to live.
Of course, if nothing ever broke or got a cavity or got infected, dentistry wouldn’t exist in the first place. In a perfect world, teeth wouldn’t need doctors and we’d all be born with beautiful, white, straight, healthy teeth surrounded by pink, healthy gums.
Unfortunately, neither is the case.
When maintained properly, teeth are quite resilient. Unfortunately, very few of us really maintain any parts of our body properly. Life tends to happen. Brushing and flossing twice a day and routine maintenance visits for our teeth sometimes get skipped or missed. Just like that diet that we are always trying to keep up with. Life happens, choices are made, and priorities are determined.
Likewise, when maintained properly, modern dentistry is generally pretty resilient. New generations of dental filling material, bonding agents, and porcelain systems are constantly improving the ways in which we can fix teeth. Dental implants and bone grafting technology get better every year. Research and development are improving the ways that we can repair and replace teeth nearly every day. It is likely that there will constantly be a “better way” just around the bend. That’s just how technology works nowadays.
When dentistry does fail, it is frustrating for both patient and dentist. There is usually time and cost involved. Sometimes there is pain. Most always, there is inconvenience. Dental teams do not want any of these issues for their patients.
When a tooth breaks or hurts or gets infected, that’s damage done to what God gave us. It would be unrealistic to believe that a dentist, even with the best of technology and skill, can do better than He did.
All we can do is the best that the art and science have to offer.
Then, we hope for the reverse of Murphy’s Law…Yhprum’s (Murphy spelled backwards) Law: “Anything that can go right, will go right.”
Until next week, keep smiling.
-Comments can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.
Opportunity to Succeed…
Tomorrow is Opening Day for the 2015/2016 school year. Many of our kids and students have already left their homes to move into college dorms and apartments. High school kids participating in football, volleyball, cheer, band, and all of the other various fall activities have been hard at it for weeks now. The perpetual calendar that is life keeps rolling on.
What Do You Want From Your Teeth?
We live in an amazing time. Science and technology are moving at a breakneck pace. Innovation happens daily. The medical world is evolving, for better or for worse, at a faster rate than at any time in history.
Dentistry is no different. New procedures and techniques and materials evolve daily. Keeping up with the state-of-the-art can no longer be done by attending one or two weekend conferences a year. Learning and trying to become better is an ongoing exercise. Fortunately, the internet does an excellent job of aggregating, sorting, and explaining all those breakthroughs.
Every day, I find myself astonished at the cool things dentistry can do. Dental implants give people lost teeth back. We have the technology to re-build whole mouths full of teeth, giving sixty-year-olds the smile and function of twenty-year-olds. We can grow gum tissue and move gum tissue and treat gum disease that used to cause people to lose their teeth by age thirty. In a few hours, we can take a set of dentures that have flopped around for years and anchor them in place. We can eliminate dentures altogether and build entire mouths full of teeth, supported by titanium roots. We get to help people sleep better and help kids breathe better. We can help to eliminate headaches in adults and prevent them in kids by guiding their growth and positioning their bite. Most importantly, we have the ability to get rid of tooth pain and problems in a more comfortable way than at any other time in history. And… we are getting better every day.
A Brand New Smile…
With the stock market and U.S. economy on the rise, cosmetic dentistry is making a strong comeback. Dentists all across the country are seeing an increase in patients who want a beautiful new or restored smile. Recently, our office has seen this same uptick in people who want to whiten, straighten, and brighten their smile.
To that end, here are a few ways that dentistry can improve your smile.