Sometimes we get in a rut in dentistry and it seems like we are doing the same old procedures over and over. One of the biggest reasons why we feel that way is that we are afraid to step out of the box of our comfort zone and explore new procedures.
We know that learning new procedures could make a huge difference in both our bottom line and our passion toward our craft, but the overwhelming amount of data required for us to learn and continue learning to do these new procedures well is something like the Matrix of data from the famous movie trilogy.
We can all sit through a beginner’s course in a new procedure and get excited about it, but the trick is gaining the knowledge to confidently begin offering it to our patients.
We should all be thankful that there are teachers out there who have dedicated their lives to taking complicated, confusing, and downright scary techniques and breaking them down to the elemental phases where we can grasp and digest them successfully.
Dr. Raymond Choi is one of those rare teachers.
If you run into him at a conference, you’ll find that he is unassuming and modest. Don’t let that Clark Kent-ish exterior fool you. Beneath his golf shirt may not lie a red and yellow “S,” but, rather, a heart full of passion for teaching others and helping them understand complex ideas in a way they can immediately translate into help for their patients.
His superhero quality is in his power to encourage his fellow dentist to overcome in areas where they had previously been scared or unsure. Once you have attended his lectures, you understand that this is a man who has dedicated himself to this art and science in ways that many of us just aren’t willing.
Back at the dawn of this century when mini-implants burst onto the scene, Dr. Choi immediately saw an opportunity to help our profession and the patients we serve. He knew that dentures were the bane of existence for many dentists and patients alike. He also knew the potential that minis held to improve the denture experience for both categories since he had been heavily involved in the implant movement since the mid-nineties and his experience teaching for 10 years at USC.
In his own words, “I began to look for problems and simplified solutions to those problems. For example, most dentists hate dentures. I struggled with it too but learned to become very very good at it. I knew from my experience exactly why dentists were confused about the dentures and I dissected the whole denture elephant into pieces and demystified and simplified key concepts of dentures so that any general dentist can easily grasp important key components of doing dentures effectively in a very short time. I totally believe this is what most dentists want and need and I get great satisfaction providing exactly that.”
All this knowledge and experience led him onto the lecture circuit where he steadily grew his following until 2008 when he founded his Global Mini Implant Institute (GMI).
His institute has allowed him to call his own shots and develop groundbreaking new operating systems that make his GMI members’ lives easier daily.
For example, I challenge any dentist out there to put their hand on a Bible and say that they read up on the current literature as much as they would like.
I dare say there wouldn’t be many takers on that one. Yet, Dr. Choi has a service for his members where he does just that for all of them. He plows through the massive literature output each month, digests it, and gives the latest research news and outcomes to his society members in a form that any of us can quickly take and use to shape our practice.
I ask you, where else could you find someone willing to do that for others at any price?
The only problem that Dr. Choi has these days is that his preferred state of anonymity if fleeting. The cat’s out of the bag. Even though he has been semi-famous for years in the mini-implant world, he’s about to be a household name. Recently, he garnered one of the coveted “hands-on” teaching spots at the next ADA conference where he will attempt to place and stabilize a loose denture with implants on the spot while under the watchful eyes of us, his fellow dentists.
If you can still get your hands on a ticket, I would highly recommend it.
It may not be quite as theatrical as getting to watch Houdini break loose from chains underwater, but in dental circles we will know that the degree of difficulty will be very similar. In fact, there is probably a reason you never saw Houdini trying to make a denture patient happy. The degree of difficulty was just too high.
Some dentists have succeeded in making their patient’s lives better.
How can we categorize a dentist who has done both and also enriched the lives of hundreds and thousands of their fellow professionals at the same time.
I guess until we come up with a more deserving moniker, we’ll just have to say that Dr. Raymond Choi is a Winning Dentist.
Of that we should have no doubt.