Writer’s block! I’ve had it lately. I’ve been struggling with what I could share this time, and then it hit me. It’s going to be Thanksgiving! Duh. What better topic could there be for my blog post that comes out the day before Thanksgiving?
I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. I am very lucky that I figured out what I wanted to do as a career while I was in high school. I am thankful that I was able to work in the office of Phil Deal, DDS, orthodontist, as a junior in high school. He inspired me and gave me the confidence needed to “stay the course.” He passed away before I applied to dental school, but his wife, Jo, introduced me to some very good contacts for references. I am thankful for her help and for the dentists she introduced me to who provided me with good references based solely on faith in her and Dr. Deal’s reputation.
I’m also thankful for Betty Scott, the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry registrar at the time, who squeezed me into the interview schedule although I was one of those people low on the totem pole. This gave me the opportunity to express to the admissions committee my strong desire to become a dentist. Thankfully, they didn’t accept students on grades alone. I was accepted as an alternate and had to wait a year to start my training, but I “stayed the course.”
Most of all, I am thankful that my parents always gave me encouragement and helped me financially throughout my dental training. I did what most people recommend not doing and returned to my hometown, Fayetteville, Ark., to begin a practice with a very skilled general dentist, Ernest Stanberry Jr., DDS. In the three years I worked with him, he helped me improve my surgery and crown and bridge skills.
I have now practiced in my current office since 1980. I’m sure that seems like a long time; however, to me, it seems so very short. I am lucky to have started when I did because I have been able to experience the explosive changes in the technology of dental care. The past 10 years have been amazing to be a part of. I know I’m not ready to retire because I am really enjoying learning and being able to offer the best that dentistry has ever had to offer—computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) digital restorations, 3-D cone beam diagnostics, implant placements, lasers, and new, predictable methods of bone generation and soft tissue reconstruction. These things all make practicing dentistry exciting. And, without a doubt, having the best staff ever makes these things possible.
Of course, I cannot leave out being thankful for having a wonderful, loving wife and a beautiful 18-year-old daughter.
During the Thanksgiving holiday season, I plan to rejoice in all the things I have to be thankful for.
Have a joyous Thanksgiving!
Terry G. Box, DDS, MAGD