I’ve been thinking a lot about what I do and why I do it. I’ve seen a lot of changes in dentistry and health care in the 3- decades- plus I’ve been practicing. Some of these changes are good and some of them, well, are not so good.
For me, in 2017, it’s all about being well. All this talk about the health care system, in my mind, is really about what happens when you get sick. Let’s get real- how many of us look forward to CT scans, MRIs, blood tests, and medications? My physician is a great friend and practitioner, but I would much rather have dinner with him than hang out at his office. His office is the last place I want to be and the last place where he would like to see me. I suspect that you feel the same way.
As a dentist, I know that I can help people control oral disease, rebuild a tooth, replace a tooth or teeth, or even reconstruct an entire mouth pretty well. I know that I can make esthetic changes for those who WANT that. I can move teeth, treat various forms of pain, and help diagnose and treat sleep apnea and a lot of other cool things. I love doing my work.
What I love even more is to see people become and stay healthy as a result of what we do. A healthy mouth is absolutely essential for a healthy life. Coaching people on wellness and seeing our work result in a person avoiding disease and looking and feeling great is what makes my team and me tick.
But wellness does not come to us automatically. It is not an entitlement. It is not the end product of fantasy and imagination. And it is not something that anyone will punish or admonish us for if we do not attain it. Wellness is a choice we must consciously make. Wellness comes as a result of healthy habits such as eating properly, exercising, maintaining an active social life, and, of course, keeping a clean and healthy mouth.
So ask yourself a few questions and answer them honestly for yourself.
• Am I overweight?
• Am I underweight?
• Am I eating the right foods?
• Am I taking the right supplements or vitamins?
• Am I getting enough sleep?
• Am I doing enough cardio and resistance training?
• Do I maintain good social connections with my friends and my community?
• Do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth (you knew that one was coming)?
• Do I floss my teeth?
• Am I chewing comfortably?
• Do I have a solid relationship with a caring physician and dentist whom I visit regularly?
• Do I need a nutritionist or a chiropractor to help me get to my best health?
• Do I need help in any of the above issues?
If you’ve answered “no “or “I’m not sure” to any of them, there’s no shame at all. You’re not perfect and, as good as you are at your job and the many roles you play in life, neither you nor anyone can possibly know everything!
Think about it- athletes have coaches. Writers have editors. Leaders have advisers. We all can use help in some aspect of our lives, and what more important aspect of life is there than health?
What aspect of your well-being would you like to improve? How can you best go about that? And who can help you fill in the voids in your quest for health
Let’s work to stay healthy, productive, constructive, and life-loving. Put another way, life has given us a genetic poker hand . Let’s play that hand to the best of our ability.
Here’s to a very healthy and happy year!