My friends and patients always ask me why I became a dentist. Let me tell you my story. I grew up as the oldest of four children. The atmosphere in our household was one of love and acceptance. My parents worked hard to create a positive environment where I felt free to learn about myself as I progressed through life. Emphasis was always placed on my accomplishments instead of my mistakes, and as a result my self-esteem and confidence were firmly established. Growing up in Yakima, Washington, I was surrounded by fields of peaches, apricots, and cherries. It was in the orchards that, at a young age, I learned and applied the work ethic that has gotten me to where I am today. In fact, when I think of my childhood, I can still smell the fresh fruit in my mind.
At the age of nineteen I chose to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I lived and served in São Paulo, Brazil, the third largest city in the world. While in Brazil I learned a lot of “life lessons,” including why it is important to understand other people first, rather than seeking to have myself understood. To a young man from America, it seemed as if everyone in Brazil had bad teeth. It was during this period that I learned that dental health had more of an impact on day-to-day life than I had ever imagined. These experiences culminated while observing a father extract his young child’s abscessed tooth on the couch at their home. It was then that I knew I could make a difference in the lives of others. I could not only become their dentist, but also be their friend. Now that I am known as the “numb and number” dentist, I look back on that day and am thankful that I chose dentistry.
Fast forward twenty-three years and seven kids later, you find me here in Auburn, Washington, with a good portion of my life still ahead of me. Hopefully I have learned enough from my mistakes to make life easier from here on out. The reason I tell you this story is so that you can understand our practice vision and where it came from. Here at Nuttall Smiles, we accept people for who they are because it is part of the process of helping them to feel good about themselves. As our patient’s self-esteem is raised, magical things start to happen! First, the patients make better decisions in their lives, and second, we gain not only a patient, but a friend. As health care providers, our lives start to have the purpose that we have been striving for. Just like my parents loved and accepted me as a child, our patients feel validated and accepted as human beings as we connect with them. The following statement can summarize this process, “A good office team can feel good about themselves, while a great office helps their patients feel better about themselves and their lives.” You will feel like you are being worked with instead of being worked on. As a result, this is a place where both patients and staff look forward to coming every day! Thank you for taking the time to read this! We look forward to seeing you in the office!