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042 Dr B Interviews Dr Steve Hart – Pankey Institute Faculty, Mentor, and Scholar
Dr. Steve Hart has practiced restorative dentistry in Chapel Hill, N.C. since 1982. He received his D.M.D. degree from Tufts University in 1979. He is an active member of the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry, the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics and the American Equilibration Society. He has been a visiting faculty member at the L.D. Pankey Institute since 1989, where he now serves as the Essentials-4 team leader. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member in Fixed Prosthodontics at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry.
He has presented to numerous audiences and study clubs both nationally and internationally Dr. Hart’s practice is primarily focused on sophisticated adult restorative dentistry. However, he also provides a full range of adult general dental services. Dr. Hart is committed through his skill and ongoing training to help his patients keep their teeth for the rest of their lives if possible in optimal comfort, function, health, and aesthetic appearance.
Steve’s favorite quotes:
“I was offering solutions to problems not yet felt by my patients.” – Bob Barkley
“The typical case presentation is neither behaviorally nor educationally sound. It forces the patient to learn too rapidly. ”
“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” – François-René de Chateaubriand
More about Steve:
Dr. Hart is committed to practicing state-of-the-art dentistry. He teaches advanced courses to practicing dentists throughout the world who travel to the prestigious L.D. Pankey Dental Institute in Florida to continue their professional development. He is committed to practicing state-of-the-art dentistry.
He is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, a distinctive honor for dentists, and is a member of the American Dental Association, North Carolina Dental S ociety, American Equilibration Society, and the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics. In 1986 he was a co-founder and President of the Triangle Temporomandibular Disorders Study Group. He teaches and has lectured at the UNC School of Dentistry and is highly active in continuing education.
Steve is one of the top 1% most endorsed on LinkedIn in United States for Restorative Dentistry.
What Steve sees as up and coming in dentistry:
“This is the best time to be a dentist. And I think I would have to agree, from the standpoint of what we can to help people. The restorative dentistry can be so much more minimally invasive, where we’re leaving teeth so much stronger than we used to in order to do aesthetic work. The materials are awesome. In fact, they can be mind boggling to someone who hasn’t spent some time learning about these materials. Things were so much simpler when I graduated. We’re also using materials these days that are not so reversible. And what I mean by that is if someone bonds on some zirconia which we are able to do now. I mean, that better be the last thing you need to do to that tooth because that’s not coming off. So, there are some quick sand more so than it used to be, I think out there. On one hand, I think it’s awesome where we are.
On the other side is it’s a little bit of a “perfect storm” right now, specially for young dentists because there are so much debt. I graduated in 1979 and my debt coming from Tufts was $75,000. And I did a CPI inflation calculator and that would be the same as coming out of school with $245,899.29 cents now. So I came out with the similar debt load with some of the students that are now and I was able to pay it off in ten years. But the climate was different. The insurance at that time, even bad as it was, because it was still what they were paying in the early 70’s, so almost 20 years after the inception of dental insurance, they were still paying $1000/year. They are paying, what, $1,500 sometimes $2,000 now on the rare occasion. I mean, to me, that’s just unbelievable. It should be about $5,000 to $6,000. But you know, insurance companies have been kind of tightfisted.
And this whole corporate model seems to be something that is really tweaking me a bit because these young people, there’s so much more to know in school. When we came out of Tufts and we only had four things on our menu, we can still whip up a pretty good breakfast, lunch and dinner. These young people, there is so much to know, I don’t think they are getting as much clinical experience as we did. And they are not feeling as confident. I mean, most of us came out and practiced right away. Not very many people did a residency. Now, almost everyone does a residency. So I’m afraid for them a little bit.
And I’m afraid for the patients because corporate dentistry makes it very easy, convenient for patients. They have a big, administrative component to the practice. The dentist doesn’t have to get so involved which I don’t think is such a great idea because I think a solo practice, the dentist is really involved with all the things the patients are struggling with. I think we are in that model training patients to not value dentistry quite like we might. I think that’s a big job that the profession is doing, almost worse and worse at. We should be helping patients understand that sophisticated, fine restorative dentistry done well and fewer times for them in the lifetime is a big payoff. Doing dentistry as few times, working those teeth as few times as possible would be in the best interest of the biology of that system for sure.”
The best advice Steve has ever received:
“Start saving money.”
“Do a thorough clinical exam. One that will shift the paradigm of what dentistry is all about for patients.”
The one habit that contributes to his success:
Just showing up every day and doing the best that I can do.”
Management pearl (tip):
“Make a commitment to the comprehensive exam.”
What’s exciting Steve right now:
“Doing some Invisalign to move teeth; to take teeth where there has been perhaps some dental extrusion and move them back so that you can minimally prepare the teeth to receive bonded porcelain restorations has been really exciting.”
Steve’s book recommendation:
Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box –Arbinger Institute
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life – Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Steve’s recommendation for those who are about to start new or restart:
“To me, I would have to talk to them about money. And what I mean by that is look at my $75,000 debt or the $250,000 debt they have today. Is that going to be the ball and chain or is that going to be like solid rocket fuel for you that’s going really zoom your career? Because if you add much more debt to that right off the bat, it begins to be the ball and chain. And so what I’m getting to is Frank Spear, another great teacher, there’s been so many in my career, just awesome folks that have helped me so much, but I remember Frank talking about the stages of practice. I remember talking about survival and then there’s the growth phase where things are easing up a little bit and all of a sudden the practice takes over you, and then you start to refine your practice he called that “profit” but he wasn’t talking about money so much or owning money.
So that survival phase is a very difficult place to be. And the shortest time you can be in survival, the best because survival is when you need to do the dentistry more than the patient feel like they need to do the dentistry. And that’s a horrible place to be. So I guess anything I could advise to keep a dentist out of that quagmire. And I think everybody has to go through it a little bit. Unless you picked your parents really well. The shortest time in that penalty box, the better.”
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