A Philosophy of Dentistry
This week I am reflecting on a weekend of continuing education at the LD Pankey Institute outside of Miami, Florida. I’ve spent many weeks and weekends at the Institute, and I enjoy going back year after year to revisit and refine both my skills, and my review my philosophy of practicing dentistry.
The Institute was founded in 1972 by a dentist named LD Pankey. Throughout his career, he developed a philosophy for the practice of dentistry that revolved around more than just fixing teeth. He adapted Aristotle’s cross of life to the practice of dentistry – namely encouraging dentists to find balance between work, play, love and worship. Over time, he refined this philosophy while educating dentists on clinical dentistry, and eventually founded the only non-profit Institute for postgraduate dental education.
I first visited the Institute in 2011, and it dramatically changed the way I looked at dentistry. Dr. Pankey used to say, “I never saw a tooth walk into my practice.” He taught dentists to look at their patients comprehensively, to take into account the psychological and financial components of dentistry, while maintaining balance with their family and personal life, all while being good stewards of their communities.
Almost three years ago, Dustin and I met for the first time at the LD Pankey Annual Alumni meeting. Fast forward to today and we are able to practice dentistry together because we share the same philosophy, a lot of which is based on our experiences at the Pankey Institute. In fact, after completing the curriculum there, we have both returned as visiting faculty members, helping to share our knowledge with dentists from around the world. Check it out if you’d like to learn more about this special place that has helped to shape our practice. http://www.pankey.org/about/history/