The Short Version...
I help people who hate dentists past all that, or at least to feel OK about going again.
If you met me at some social event, I would probably hesitate to tell you “I'm a dentist” because that label scares some people away. So let’s just say I’m a "smile dude" with a creative spark and some business smarts.
If you love dentists, thanks for the thumbs up. Our team can help you look and feel your best with a healthy beautiful smile.
If you hate dentists, I totally understand how you feel. Going to the dentist can be scary. Especially if you’ve had some bad dental experiences in the past.
The Long Version...
I see myself as a regular guy who strives to keep learning, creating and contributing. I seem easy-going enough, with a slow burn intensity just below the surface.
I love being a dentist because it offers the challenge of a game worth playing. I see dentistry as an opprtunity to help people and make a difference in their lives. A dental business is a place to apply my creative spark to make something unique, something memorable.
As a professional, I never liked the stiff white-coat approach. I'm a big believer that health care requires MORE humanity and that patients come first.
So I'll try not to bore you to tears here.
In my opinion, hating dentists is a perfectly normal response.
I went through some dental nightmares when I was young and used to dread going. I totally understand why someone would say, “I hate dentists!”
I sure hated going.
I even created a blog site www.HateDentists.com dedicated to the topic, along with a video called Top 10 Reasons People Hate Dentists.
So how did a dentist-hater like me ever go on to become one? Here are a few pivotal moments in my journey…
In my early days of university I used to work in the Biochemistry Lab at Toronto East General Hospital.
Being a lab technologist was a terrific job, and a great introduction to the world of health care. But there was one particular task I struggled with. Taking blood samples from newborn babies.
Newborns require blood tests to screen for potential health issues. To get a sample you would have to pierce their tiny heels with a sharp lancet.
Now I’ve always been a family guy and love everything about newborn babies. I couldn’t handle watching them cry, knowing that I was the one who initiated their suffering.
I felt terrible about it and was losing sleep at night. Things got to the point I was doubting my ability to work in health care. Maybe I just wasn't tough enough for the job.
One day I noticed that a fellow technician from the Hematology Lab was singing and joking with the nurses as he took the babies’ blood samples. How could he be so relaxed while I felt so miserable?
I asked him “Paul, how could you be enjoying this? Are you sadistic or something?”
Paul was completely baffled that I would jump to such a conclusion. He loved being around newborns. He then shared two messages that changed my life.
The first message was about empathy.
Yes, taking blood samples from babies seemed cruel, but the job had to be done. Better that someone who DEEPLY CARED about the welfare of newborns did the task instead of someone who didn’t.
The fact I was struggling was because I cared, and that was a good thing. Paul explained how my empathy was a strength, not a weakness or burden.
The second message was about technique.
Paul showed me his secrets of how to take a blood sample so gently the babies would barely make a fuss.
What a difference.
I was amazed at the effectiveness of making improvements in technique. What was difficult now became almost effortless. The babies would hardly flinch, and I could go back to sleeping at night.
Those two lessons revealed the importance of having a caring, skilled approach, and Paul's gift has served me well in all my years as a dentist.
By the way, my friend Paul was also accepted into dental school and went on to success.
So what’s the relevance of that story?
We want you to have no-fuss visits at Royal York Dental. With a caring, skilled approach we’ll go out of our way to make your visits more comfortable and convenient.
Yes, I have memberships, credentials and years of experience. But in all honesty, I’m only as good as I can perform while taking care of you.
YOUR personal experience is the only thing that really matters.
We want your dental experience to be pleasant and relaxing, because if you’re happy with us, you’ll come back again and refer all your friends.
The way I look at things, patient happiness is the ultimate test and your loyalty is your vote of confidence.
Looking at our online reviews, you can see we have LOTS of happy patients!
Just to let you know, Royal York Dental has been voted among the “Best of the Best Dentists” in Toronto West by The Guardian and The Town Crier for over eight years.
People often ask me when I knew I wanted to be a dentist. Back in high school, I knew Dentistry was my calling.
I was fortunate enough to have older siblings in both Medicine and Dentistry. Having them to show me the way was such an advantage.
From my perspective, medicine looked like a never-ending grind. My brother and sister in medical school barely had a life. Not that Dentistry seemed like easy street for my other brother.
The difference was that everything about Dentistry seemed interesting to me. I’m still fascinated and challenged by it.
In 1982, I graduated from Dentistry at University of Toronto. I spent my first 3 years as a dentist in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia on a military base. The Canadian Armed Forces had paid for 3 years of my schooling, so I owed them 3 years of service as a dental officer.
I was only 23 years old at graduation, so the structure and discipline of the military was exactly what I needed to get more experience under my belt.
Those were good years, and I enjoyed being part of a large clinic.
One downside to being a miltary dentist was how the dental experience tended to be completely dehumanized. It felt like I was working on an assembly line of robots with teeth. Robots wearing military uniforms.
If this is what dentistry was like, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing it.
Thankfully, I got to work on some non-military people and that was a breath of fresh air! As patients, these people were engaged and interactive. They cared about their dental health and were appreciative of any help I could offer.
Sometimes lessons of what NOT to do are just as valuable.
I learned the importance of bringing MORE humanity to a patient’s experience by seeing how unappealing it was to have it all stripped away.
How does that story apply to you?
Have you noticed how much poor service there is in health care these days? You can be treated as an annoyance rather than someone in need of help who deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
At Royal York Dental, our humanistic approach to dental care is one of the biggest secrets to our success.
We’re not just about taking care of teeth, we’re about people taking care of people. And that makes all the difference.
After honoring my 3 year commitment, my wife and I returned here to West Toronto. I took over for a retiring dentist and we began raising our young family.
You know how it is to be young and adventuresome, seeking to explore far off corners of the world. I wasn’t expecting to settle back on my home turf.
As you can imagine, having children quickly cured my wanderlust. Anyone with kids can appreciate how exhausting it can be just going on a day trip.
Five children and thirty years later, I’ve been happy enough staying close to home.
How does that apply to you?
We’re good with families and kids.
Most of team members are parents ourselves, and we appreciate how busy you are. We want to make it comfortable and convenient for you and your loved ones.
I started from humble beginnings. My first office was like a shoebox, with less than 600 square feet of space.
I didn’t dream of having a big office like we do now, but I was always looking to grow and improve.
Committing to excellence means following a path of constant improvement. It’s amazing how far you can take things over the years.
I visited other successful dental offices to see what they were doing. Gradually I began building up a vision of excellence for what a dental office could be.
Bringing that vision to life is the fun part. You never know where the creative process will take things. And excellence is a moving target. Each time you reach a loftier height, your vision can’t help but gaze higher still.
How does that apply to you?
When you join our dental family, you’ll experience the gradual progression as we grow and improve.
Just to let you know, even though we’re a big clinic as far as dental offices go, we still maintain that friendly, one-on-one approach.
I could bore you with details about my education, clinical philosophy and personal history. Instead, why not make things a little more fun for you...
Consider the qualities of your basic super hero. You have your super powers, vulnerabilities and your secret identity. No, I'm not some crazy comic book fanatic like I was as a child. This is just a fun framework to share some personal stuff.
Think of this as natural gifts rather than any X-ray vision sort of thing.
My gifts relate to my creativity and artistic eye.
Creativity: I have this almost irresistible urge to create things and immerse myself into projects. Once I see an opportunity to craft excellence I feel this powerful pull of creative tension.
Fortunately, there’s lots of ways to express creativity in running a business. I’m continually applying that creative spark to whatever project draws my attention.
Intuitive: I tend to solve problems intuitively and can see the creative potential of things. In many ways, I see myself as a dental version of MacGyver. Solving new problems in creative ways to maximize benefit and minimize complexity.
Vision: I have the ability to visualize and manifest a compelling future. This isn’t Law of Attraction stuff, it’s just the power of positive intent and the willingness to keep pressing forward to make good things happen.
That’s how Royal York Dental was built.
Artistic: I’ve always loved working with my hands and was one of the top art students in my high school. The teachers had me pegged for art school, but I was far more interested in health sciences.
After graduating from dental school, I naturally began gravitating towards Cosmetic Dentistry. That’s where my artistic skills could be best applied.
Having an artistic eye reveals where to add and where to remove to create symmetry and harmony. That's the magic of Cosmetic Dentistry - knowing how to make a few well-chosen simple alterations that can transform your smile.
How does that apply to you?
If you're considering cosmetic dentistry or need a second opinion, we offer you a free smile evaluation.
Everyone has their kryptonite, their vulnerabilities.
As a family guy, I have a weakness for babies, puppies and warm cookies.
I also have a soft spot for gentle people. If you approach me softly, I’ll respond with kindness. If you come at me with guns blazing, that won’t put me in a helpful mood.
Drama turns me off, especially the toxic stuff. Nothing will rip a team apart faster.
I came from a big family, so I’m used to all the energy of a full house. I’m just not a big fan of unnecessary tension and drama.
What does that mean for you?
Royal York Dental is designed to be an oasis in your busy, hectic day. You can expect a soothing ambiance with calm, helpful professionals there to serve your dental needs.
I used to love ski-racing. I’m referring to slalom and giant slalom, not that Crazy Canuck downhill stuff.
I was a timid twelve year old the first time I went through a race course. I could barely turn and remember being terrified. At the same time, the rush of speed and challenge of facing my fears so directly was such an adrenaline jolt.
I was hooked.
Each run through a ski course was a test of courage and confidence, as well as direct feedback on your skiing ability.
One fascinating aspect of ski racing is that it requires a warrior’s mindset. You must clear your mind of thought and take a gutsy, do-or-die approach. Adopting an attitude of controlled aggression.
If you take a passive approach in ski racing the course will likely chew you up and toss you on your head.
You must assert yourself on every turn. You become a different person; launching yourself headfirst into challenges and pushing your limits.
Like Superman in flight.
Except Superman was invulnerable, and I wasn’t.
For over twenty years I had avoided injuries. But trying to ski like I once did as a teenager was an accident waiting to happen. Breaking my right arm and taking 4 months off work to recover finally put the kibosh on my ski racing.
The funny part was that of all ski places, I broke my arm at the tiny hill at Earl Bales Park in North York while slalom training. Humbling experience, and not much of a hero’s story to brag about.
Nowadays I’m more Clark Kent than Superman. More writer than warrior.
I've written numerous blogs and journal articles such as this one on Chasing Beauty published in Canada's Oral Health Journal.
Choosing a team of dentists is like choosing your friends. You want a team you know you can trust. People who care about your best interests.
Contact Denise to arrange your Free & Easy First Visit. As part of your new patient experience, I'll set time aside to personally meet with you.
You can decide if we're the right fit for you.