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By Clayton A. Chan, D.D.S. – Las Vegas, NV
Here is my short story… I have been practicing routine general dentistry for years in San Diego, California…it was good dentistry. After some years I realized some of my patients were having TMD problems…but I couldn’t seem to help them resolve the issues…and it really bothered me. I tried many ways but they were not working for them or me…. I almost decided to quit dentistry because things were not working like it was taught in dental school. After feeling frustrated for some time as a dentist not getting the results I knew were possible….I decided to do something about it. I wanted a change…. so I decided to look for answers…I had a lot of questions about dentistry and the way it was being done that had to be answered. So I started to search… I took continuing education courses across the country…listening and gathering ideas, information, searching for ways that made the most sense…. over time I started to formulate ideas and eventually got some answers that made sense…but not without disrupting audiences, lectures and programs…oh yes,..I am noted for doing such and asking the difficult tough questions to the profession…why? Because I am a dentist and I got tired of doing the same routine of drill and bill dentistry. I wanted answers that made sense and answers that were practical. Well, here is the “pitch”…. there is another way dentist can do things if they really want to….if they pride themselves in the work they do… or are they just dental technicians doing piece meal work (doing fillings, crowns, extractions, root canals, dentures, implants)…or do they really care about getting patients healthy…looking at the bigger picture being physicians of the masticatory system? I decided to slow my dental practice way down…purposely over the years…I got tired of cattle herding folks in out of my operatories with large number of employees to perpetuate the typical dental process, doing it fast, and quick and short visits… but over time I realized a dentist has to make choices….do routine care or he/she can do quality healthcare both are needed but only one way will meet the needs of the 20%ers who are in greater need. As I got older and experienced in my career I decided quality of care to me was valuable then the quantity of care. Quality of heath is valued to me more than the quantity of care. Quality of function is valued more than dysfunction and bodily impairments… So I continue to search for that fine balance in life as a dentist…to help those I can…dentist who understand this plea, tired of the rat race of dentistry and patients desiring a different way. This is the journey for us all. Change is necessary for some of us… or we put up with the status quo. I chose to change and do what I can to help make that change in my life with purpose. It is all possible…if there is a will there is a way. Last thought… I believe in Prayer! When things look impossible and bleak….offer a sincere pray to our Heavenly Father we don’t see…but He listens to all his crying children on earth. That is what I do when I have difficult challenges in life. Prayer is amazing. It’s free and no strings attached.