Patients often wondered silently why I got into Dentistry. Sometimes they ask and often I cannot answer completely and give a condensed response. After all, no one really enjoys going to the dentist so it is natural to assume one has to wonder why a person goes into such a dreadful occupation? Well here is somewhat of an abbreviated yet lengthy version of my reason:
My journey into Dentistry began many years ago as an elementary school student. Having spent my summers with my Dad at his sweltering hot garage repairing cars in lower Kalihi forced me to dream of a better life.
Fast forward to high school, I’m now having nightmares of cleaning oil off used wrenches and sockets, a respected math teacher asked me to apply for an Engineering Institute held at Washington State University for minority students during summer of their junior year. Coincidentally, my French teacher offered me an opportunity to live and study abroad in a small city in France to learn the language and culture while living with her sister.
Let’s reflect on these two options: Live in France or go to Pullman, WA, farm country and learn about different fields of Engineering? No brainer right? Of course France! Bonjour!
Wrong! My parents had the final say and off I went to Washington State University. My very first trip to the mainland. That’s right, never been to Disneyland, never saw snow, now I’m coming off a tiny plane carrying my own luggage and heading to the dormitory to spend the next two weeks learning about Engineering and meeting others from as far away as Alaska.
Those two weeks at Washington State University solidified one thing for me my senior year at Mid-Pacific that I was going to a mainland school for college. Washington State University led me to the University of Washington. I struggled to find my way, my own path. My father a mechanic, my mother an accountant, me…..? Influential in my life has always been family, my grandparents on both my mom’s and dad’s sides. Being older they always brought reason into my life. Steady. Calming. Insightful.
Being a son of a mechanic meant tinkering was a part of who I was. Decent with my hands, after years of squeezing between engine parts to unscrew nuts without dropping them or feeling without looking where a bolt is supposed to fit was my summer training. I also had a part of me that was enveloped around helping others. As is the motto in scouting, “To help others…” was as much a part of me as the years spent earning merit badges on my way to becoming an Eagle Scout. Being good with my hands and caring for others leads to a career in…..?
Back to the well for more reflection. One grandfather was a general contractor, one a dentist. Both lived in beautiful homes. Both had great family lives. One went to the University of Southern California, one left high school to work in the sugar cane fields. Both were honorable men. Both equally guiding me to end up selecting Dentistry as the way to use my brain and hands to help others.
In 1993, I completed my eighth year at University of Washington, returning home with a Doctorate in Dental Surgery diploma and an eagerness to work. Passing my licensing exam on the first try I was now legal! Opening practice in 1994 really began the next chapter in my journey.
Any journey is never without adversity. A growing practice is like an ameba. Never easily contained, never under control, never reliable or predictable in its movements.
Stability started when I undertook the mantra of surrounding myself with like-minded people. Being passionate about Dentistry meant I needed a team around me who were as passionate as I and willing to go the extra mile for our patients.
After assembling the greatest Dental team, I now turned my attention to myself. Was I where I needed to be to become the best in Dentistry? Using that same ideology in assembling my team, I surrounded myself with the best mentors and instructors I could find. Actually, that ideology really found me in the form of the Hawaii Dental Forum, an affiliate of the global entity, the Seattle Study Club.
This is an elite continuing educational study club that offers its members the opportunity to learn more from the best dentists in the world. Through hands-on workshops and lectures, we are able to learn how to treat and manage complex dental problems and finish cases with functionally esthetic outcomes.
It was good but not enough. I needed more. Just like how going to Washington State University over summer as a junior in high school opened doors in my mind, enrolling in three- and four- day courses on the mainland did the same. Courses in Seattle at the Kois Institute for Dental Learning and in Scottsdale, AZ at the famed Spears Institute allowed me to dive into the deep end of dental knowledge and swim with the best and the brightest in the field. Learning to integrate all aspects of dentistry: Implants, bridges, crowns, dentures, now became the next chapter in my career. A limitless ability to make people smile!
Being a lifelong learner has its downsides too. Soon enough I found technology was changing but I wasn’t. I needed tools that were evolving with my new skill level. In comes Invisalign. A radical new way to move teeth without braces! Revolutionary in every way, it changed the game on how we move teeth from crooked to straight. No wires, no brackets, no problem! Through the sequential use of clear plastic aligners, teeth move into proper position. Best part? No one knows except the patient and myself! Patients can brush and floss their teeth normally so I can rest assured the outcome will be straight, clean, and healthy teeth!
The final game changer is our use of CEREC. A 3-D image scanner that combines my ability to care for a tooth and give my patients a beautiful, functional crown in one appointment. It allows our office to control all aspects of the crown or veneer fabrication process because we do it all, in-house, right down to the final custom shape and color.
With every new course I take, the technology I adopt, the journey begins again. Something new, something different, just like each patient, no two are the same. All of our patients have different and varying needs but they all get the same outcome….the absolute best Dentistry that my team and I can offer.
Graduate of Mid-Pacific Institute 1985
Eagle Scout Troop 329, Kaneohe, HI 1985
Graduate of University of Washington Dental School 1993
Active member of American Dental Association since 1997
Active member of Hawaii Dental Association since 1997
Active member of Honolulu County Dental Society since 1997
Served on Board of Directors for Hawaii Dental Service 1998-2004
Served as President of the PTA at Central Union Preschool 2001-2002
Served on Hawaii Dental Association as a House Delegate 2001-2003
Active member of Seattle Study Club’s Hawaii Dental Forum since 2005
First Place 'Best of the Best' Dentist in 2006
Active member of the Better Business Bureau since 2006
Completed Invisalign Certification I 2004
Completed Invisalign Certification II 2005
2009 Honolulu Magazine Best Dentist
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