Dr. Justin Moody reflects on the importance of inspiring others
Yesterday one of my patients asked me how I became interested in dentistry, and I told her that my childhood dentist encouraged me to look into the profession. She then asked me, what about implants? How did I become interested in dental implants, and did I ever think that I would one day be teaching others? I answered that a dentist named Dr. Roger Plooster inspired my passion for dental implants, and no, I never really had thought about teaching others.
As I sat in my office that night finishing up my notes, I kept thinking about my conversation earlier that day. How I got to this desk was truly through a lot of hard work and help from some key people along the way, my MENTORS. We have many mentors in life — parents, teachers, and friends who guide us, mold us, and push us to be the very best.
Over the years, I have had many associates come through my practices; early on it was about getting some help in a time when I was too busy. Sadly, these doctors moved on to work elsewhere and to establish their own practices. Today, I realize that I failed them for it wasn’t really about the nice office, fancy technology, or even the money … It was about mentorship. Dental school has always been hard, but now it’s even harder with the kinds of debt today’s young dentists have.
Mentorship is so much more than showing someone how to do a procedure. It’s about showing them that it’s truly an honor and a privilege to call someone a patient, that you should always treat patients how you yourself would want to be treated, and that compassion and humility are good for the profession.
Years ago, I thought that success was measured in money and material things; today those items don’t register on my list. Opening an email to see an X-ray of the first dental implant one of my students placed or a phone call from someone who tells me that I made a difference in his/her life — that’s success! It is true that I love my job, and I love helping my patients improve their lives with dental implants, but I am the most humbled by those that call me their mentor.