I first got interested in dentistry my junior year of college, I was actually studying economics up until that time. I was home for the summer and I wanted to get a summer job, couldn’t find anything so I started working with my dad and he had me come paint this office here because he was here for a while and so he gave me a job. That was the first time I started thinking about a career and I started watching him and I realized you know what, it’s not so bad putting your hands in people’s mouths. He gets to make his own decisions, there’s some creativity involved; so I started watching what he was doing and I thought maybe I’ll spend another year in school and go back and take some of the classes that I wanted to.
I went from there and got into dentistry and right away took a liking to it. Growing up I used my hands a lot, I built models, did a lot of things just creatively, was really into art. Now I thought well you kind of combine these two but now you actually get paid for it and you work on people you can help people and it’s really neat because it’s taking off too, it’s not just the same thing over and over again.
I went to the University of Southern California, that’s where I did my dental school training. I graduated at the top of my class, I really enjoyed it, had a great experience there. I volunteered at lot over at the oral surgery department, thought about specializing but then realized that I just wanted to get started with my career. So I came back here and worked with my dad for about 12 years side by side which was a really great learning experience, just to really jump in and start helping people and having him right there. He’d been in practice for 30 years in the town and getting to see everything firsthand how it worked, and having him help me along the way, it really sped up my career.
He was the one who actually got me interested in doing more advanced procedures like implants and cosmetics and prosthetics, dentures and things like that because he had some training in it but it was one of the things that we didn’t offer a lot in our office. He had always prided himself on the fact that we would do it all here in the office so he encouraged me to go back and I got some advanced training. I stated out with TMJ and did a residency in San Diego which was a lot of fun, it was about a year long. The from there I had some implant training, went to the California Implant Institute, learned how to do bone grafting and more implants and I’ve been doing it for about 9, 10 years now. It’s really enjoyable because it’s really fun, especially helping people who have been around and the only answers they’ve ever had from their dentist is you need to take them all out and have a denture. That’s no fun to hear and so they stay away until it gets to a point where they can’t eat, they just can’t function, they hide. A lot of these people have grandchildren, husband, wife and they’re going into hiding. Now you can offer them something that rebuilds their confidence but also gives them an ability to chew and enjoy life and not have to think about their life anymore.
I pride myself on the fact that I continually try to better myself here at the office on a daily basis, but also yearly. I set goals for myself, new procedures, reading, keeping up with the latest technology and trying to implement that on a daily basis here in Santa Cruz and throughout the county. Some of the study clubs I belong to are a group of dentists anywhere from California to the local area all the way across the United States and actually the world. I belong to one organization where we get together, we share ideas, especially for more complex treatment needs that people need. What’s nice about that is you can talk to somebody who has maybe had an experience with a new procedure and has done it multiple times. They can translate their successes and their failures and we can all learn from it and it’s sort of a global group of people which is really nice because then that translates to better dentistry and quicker care and safer and less painful care, that we can translate to people here in Santa Cruz which is really nice.
I actually was born in Cleveland, Ohio, when my dad was in dental school and then we moved here and I grew up in Santa Cruz, played sports here, went to high school here, then I went to Southern California for my training, got married, moved back. I have three kids, so between the three of them it’s fun. I can come to the office, work on patients, have a great day there and then go do some activity with them. My wife, I’ve been married for, boy I’d better get this right, almost 19 years now and I love her to death, she’s a sweetheart and she really is the reason I feel like I’m successful, it’s because of her. It’s great having her support.