What Motivates You?

by Les Rykiss, DMD, Dip. ABAD, FASDA, FIADFE

As I write this editorial I certainly feel how time has flown by. Sitting in front of my computer, I realized that my 30th anniversary of graduating from dental school is approaching in May. I thought to myself, “Wow that’s a lot of years!” I started wondering, what is it that motivates me to keep practicing? Herein lies the topic of my Editorial. What or Who motivates us as practitioners to do what we do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis?

There are no wrong answers here. In fact I am sure that there are many great motivators in our lives. I asked one colleague, and her answer was very simple and to the point: “Seeing the smile on my patients’ faces is my motivation to do the good work that we do even on the most difficult days”. Good answer! In fact when asking more of my friends, that same answer came up more than once.

Another motivator: “Self-worth: I try to be the best dentist I can possibly be, patient after patient, day in and day out”. Wow, another great answer. Dentistry takes a lot out of us daily, patient after patient, to maintain our high standards, and for this dentist, that was his internal motivator.

Yet another motivating factor that came up more than a few times was: “Money! I love making money and the better I am, and the harder I work, the more money I make. That motivates me!” Ok, a very honest answer and while that is not a prime motivating factor for me, I can certainly see that this would be a driver for many in their day to day practices.

The final common motivating factor upon inquiry was “Earning the respect and trust of my patients”. This (as it was explained to me) comes in various forms: “1. Patients telling me how wonderful I am. 2. Appreciating our office care 3. Referring friends and family to our care.” What a wonderful motivator! This really is something that I can identify with and certainly motivates me as well. However, is this my prime motivator? It’s a pretty strong motivator and often I think how fortunate I am to have such wonderful patients that trust me with their own, and their family members care. Awesome! So why is this not my prime motivating factor?

I really had to think this through. I realized that the only thing that motivates me more than the last sentiment, is the respect shown to me by my colleagues. When people in your own profession recognize you for the work that you do, to me it is a compliment like no other. Whether it is colleagues referring their patients, or family members to my care, or having colleagues nominate you for various accolades noting your contribution to the Profession of Dentistry (including being a member of the editorial board of Oral Health), it amounts to the same thing. It feels amazing to think that your peers show trust in you and respect you for what you do.

This is the moment where I would like to thank my friends, my mentors, my colleagues, and of course all of my dear patients, for helping me along this 30 year journey. Our profession provides us all with so much, it is my honour to continue on, helping as many as I can along the way. So here’s to the next decade of Dentistry. I can’t wait to see what is in store for us all. Happy spring everyone.

About the Editor

Dr Les Rykiss Graduated in 1990 with his DMD from the University of Manitoba . Since then he has been in private practice in Winnipeg, MB. He has diplomate status with the American Board of Aesthetic Dentistry (dip. ABAD). He has Fellowship Degrees in the International Academy for Dento-facial Esthetics(FIADFE), the American Society for Dental Aesthetics (FASDA), and an Associate Fellowship in Laser Dentistry from the WCLI. He received his Cosmetic Dentistry training and is a graduate and Mentor at the Nash Institute for Dental Learning. Also he has also taught restorative and pediatric at the University of Manitoba. He is a member of the Manitoba Dental Association, Canadian Dental Association, Winnipeg Dental Society, the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry (CAED), The American Society for Dental Aesthetics (ASDA), and past president of the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity. He is the current Cosmetic Editor for Oral Health Dental Journal and has written articles and has lectured in North America on cosmetic dentistry, digital dentistry, and hard and soft tissue laser use.

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