Time really does fly when you’re having fun. At least that has been my experience these past two years.
In the seeming blink of an eye, I just completed the two-year implant program at NYU College of Dentistry. That’s right, I “graduated” with my class this past June 10th (which befittingly was also the 33rd anniversary of my graduation from dental school!).
Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Two years ago my serendipitous discovery of and enrollment in, the NYU Implant Program has proven to be a life-changing adventure. While many of my colleagues (who also have three decades of clinical practice under their belts) look forward to Wednesday as their day to hit the golf course (or some other recreational arena), for two years I hit the books, the classroom, and the clinic.
Complete with reading assignments, homework, quizzes and intense clinical training, I discovered that I was a most enthusiastic student. My wife laughed at me as I was using multicolored highlighters to underscore my 1,100-page textbook (which I read three times).
My fellow participants thought it was curious that someone old enough to be their father would exude so much excitement and energy about being in school. As for the faculty? Well, initially they didn’t quite know what to make of me (I am older than all but three of them) but I managed to make a distinct impression and I made my presence known. Being 6’4” had less to do with my “visibility” than did my perpetual grin. It was no secret that I was enjoying every moment of the program.
My enthusiasm carried over into my office. Excitement is contagious and my staff picked-up on the vibe. In fact, they were incredibly supportive of my endeavor and helped me hold down the fort despite the fact that I was out of the office every Wednesday.
Many of my wonderful patients helped me maintain my fervor by mirroring back the passion I projected. I literally had a parade of patients march through the NYU program and was able to place an unprecedented number of implants during my time there. The faculty encouraged me to start placing implants in my office instead. But, I resisted. I’ve been blessed with a thriving practice and there will always be patients who need care (knock on wood!) but my time at NYU was limited and I wanted to optimize my educational experience by maximizing the supervision and expertise of my mentors.
Note: The NYU program guarantees an assignment of at least four implant “cases.” I literally placed scores of implants during my 2-year tenure!
I love being a dentist. Always have. And this 2-year odyssey of professional and personal growth has been a priceless gift. If the world of dental practice has been my playground, all I can say is that over the past 30+ years, I’ve enjoyed all of it: the sliding pond, the swings, the seesaw and the merry-go-round! I have now discovered the monkey bars and am having the time of my life.
So, my program is now completed. But I am not. In September, I begin a separate third year program in which I will be studying even more advanced surgical techniques in both bone grafting and implant surgery. When completed, I hope to continue my tenure at NYU in the capacity of faculty member.
I have gained incredible insight and knowledge and look forward to giving back at least as much as I have gained as an experienced 59-year YOUNG dentist who has renewed passion and joy. I feel like kid in a candy store! That’s perhaps not the best metaphor for a dentist to use, but you know what I mean.
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Michael Sinkin is a dentist in New York City. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. To contact Dr. Sinkin, link here