My Life Behind the “Handpiece”
From a Dentist Pushing Eighty, a Few Thoughts About the Klongs, Grit, and Casual Elegance of Dentistry
By Dr. Barlow L. Packer
There are few dentists, as students, young practitioners, or experienced professionals, who on certain days, haven’t wondered, “Would I do this all over again?”
The tasks of remaining technologically and clinically skilled, as well as up-to-date on the regulatory aspects of running a dental business, greet you every day at the office. And then, of course, there’s the fact that every person who comes to us for care is a unique personality, especially when it comes to sitting in a dental chair.
Let’s face it, dentistry isn’t for sissies.
However long, at whatever stage, and however you feel about your career in dentistry, there are things you can do to make it better. How? Learn how to deal with dentistry’s klongs. Grow your dental grit. Strive to become casually elegant. Let me show you how all three of these encourages you to stay engaged and excited about the practice of dentistry, so that in the end you too, can say, “I truly enjoyed living My Life Behind the Handpiece.”
Dr. Barlow L. Packer began practicing dentistry in the Salt Lake City area in 1970. Prior to entering private practice he graduated from the University of Utah with a BA degree in psychology and a minor in Japanese. He then graduated from Northwestern University Dental School in 1968 after which he spent two years on active duty as a Captain in the U.S. Army Dental Corps during the Vietnam conflict. While engaged in his private dental practice, over the years, he spent hundreds of hours in post graduate continuing education and the study of diet and nutrition. He recently retired from private practice and is now an Associate Professor of Nutrition and an Attending Clinical Instructor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry.
Dr. Packer’s extra life (love of writing) focuses on a variety of simple but important aspects of everyday life. In addition to his published books, he also writes a blog Living Longer vs. Dying Slower, with interesting articles that focus on the latest research and information about diet and nutrition, helping readers differentiate between passing fads and lasting guidelines. In addition to his love of teaching and writing, two of his favorite toys are a custom Seven carbon fiber road bike and a pair of Soul Seven downhill skis, which he still uses often, summer and winter. Dr. Packer believes that in a dental career, and in life, the later years need not be inferior to the early years.
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