The Power of Mentorship

Chris Barrett, DDS

We’re halfway through 2018, and it’s been a great year so far. Looking back at all of this year’s growth and positive change has given me pause for reflection. I would not be the person who I am without great role models and mentors, specifically in the world of Implantology. I’ve had the great honor to join Dr. Justin Moody at his implant clinic in Rapid City, South Dakota, this year, and it’s been a life-changing opportunity — but a little background first.

As a young implantologist, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had great role models and positive mentors to help inspire me and show me what’s possible in the world of dentistry and specifically implant dentistry. I grew up in Davenport, Iowa, and was fortunate to be exposed to dentistry at an early age. My grandfather, Dr. Larry Barrett, was a past president of both the Pierre Fauchard Academy and the Iowa Dental Association. He instilled in me how important it is to be involved in organizations that help further the causes that we believe in, and if we don’t actively participate, then we are putting our futures into the hands of others. My grandfather’s partner, who is still our family dentist, Dr. Kathryn Kell, is the current president of the FDI, the world’s largest dental organization. As a young man, having spent time with both my grandfather and Dr. Kell, helped shape my ideas of what was possible through the dental profession.

Fast-forward through my education at The University of Iowa. I found myself working with Dr. John Bassett in Denver, Colorado. He was a disciple of the great prosthodontist Dr. Niels Guichet and passed down his wisdom of gnathology to me that’s been crucial in understanding proper occlusion for both natural dentition and implant dentistry. I was then fortunate enough to become friends with Dr. Mike Freimuth, ABOI Diplomate. The first time we met, he invited me to his office to shadow him and his amazing team. I would spend my days off watching him perform complicated surgeries and delivering beautiful implant restorations from single units to full-mouth rehabilitations. He would allow me to pick his brain about treatment planning, phasing of treatment, and implant rationale. Never once was I made to feel insignificant even when my curiosities and questions must have seemed sophomoric. Then Dr. Freimuth introduced me to Dr. Moody, ABOI Diplomate. Since that introduction, my implant journey has grown by leaps and bounds. I’ve been invited to be a clinical instructor for Drs. Moody and Freimuth’s Implant Pathway continuum. It has been extremely rewarding and the best part of my job to help guide and mentor dentists who are new to the world of implant dentistry.

Recently, I spent a week with Dr. Hilt Tatum Jr. and a group of amazing dentists in France. It was a small group setting where Dr. Tatum gave us a unique perspective on what’s possible in implant dentistry. It was an amazing experience — one that I’ll never forget.

As we look toward the future and close out the second half of the year, I want to challenge all of the readers to keep in mind our humble beginnings and to ask that we all start and be as generous with our time and skills to the new generation of implantologists as our mentors were for us. Wishing you all the best for the rest of the year and a wonderful 2019.

Sincerely,

Chris Barrett, DDS, Associate Fellow AAID

Dr. Chris Barrett earned his DDS from The University of Iowa and completed a GPR at The Iowa City VA Health Care System and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He has limited his practice to implant dentistry and is currently working toward his American Board of Oral Implantology/Implant Dentistry’s (ABOI/ID) Diplomate. You can contact him at chris@the-dentalimplantcenter.com.

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