As most of you know, I’m a dentist. Photography, as much as I do love it very much, is more my hobby than a job that helps put food on the table.

I’ve been practicing dentistry for about 12 years now and I’ve been loving it ever since I finished school. It has always and will be my main passion. After all, I decided to become a dentist when I was in kindergarten! Yes, kindergarten, when I was just 5 or 6 years old! I stuck with my dream and worked hard to get to where I’m at today.

I have many people to thank, of which is my father, who I look up to a lot, for getting me interested in dentistry and has helped shape me into who I am today. Ok the story goes, he brain washed me because of all the pictures of my brothers and I, my picture was the only one in the office! Of course to continue the tradition, and for those who’ve been to my office knows, I have pictures of BOTH my kids up on a wall in the office. They don’t know it yet, but the brain washing has already started.

I do ask my son if he wants to become a dentist. He says no. But then I ask him if he wants to help people. He then says yes. “Daddy helps people.” “Oh,” he says. He’s 3 years old now and so I have a couple more years to work on this brain washing. Until my daughter starts communication with proper words, I will most like be asking her too!

My son recently had to come with me to the office because it was our day to hang out. An emergency patient called with a bad tooth ache and I had to see her. So I brought my son to the appointment. Luckily, the patient wasn’t too bothered by him. I did try to keep him quiet and well behaved with the infamous iTouch. That lasted awhile before he wanted to see what I was doing and wanted to touch all the cool looking stuff (instruments). I had to make sure he didn’t because I was performing a pulpectomy on the patient and the instruments were a bit bloody, for those who know. But what was real sweet of him to do is he went around the patient, to the patient’s left side where my assistant would have been, and asked the patient if she was ok. It was a great moment because I believe that makes him a Chong. The Chong’s care about people and for people. Most of us are doctors in one form or another, but even so we still find some way to care for others. Even the patient was a bit awed by his selfless gesture and communication.

I am writing this blog post laying in bed after a full day’s lecture/seminar by Dr. Frank Spear. I’m in Scottsdale, AZ attending one of Dr. Frank Spear’s occlusion seminar and workshop. I really enjoy Dr. Spears seminars and workshops. It is really easy to learn, understand, and follow his seminars and workshops. The education is top notch.

One of his partners, Dr. Steve Ratcliff came out to speak to a small group of us interested in starting a study club. He said something that really hit home and got me to think about where I am at in my current career in dentistry. He mentioned that for him he wanted to be more than single tooth dentist. I felt the same way. I felt I am pretty good at what I do and I wanted to do more complicated and more challenging dentistry. So I signed up and have been loving it. Attending some of Dr. Frank Spear’s educational seminars and workshops, it has made me realize that there is always more to learn. It has resparked my love for dentistry and my passion to compassionately help others. I also view this as going back to school and to learn more. Instead this time, I have to pay for my education and not my great dad! If you are at that same point in your career where you might feel you are in a cruising state, think about taking some more advanced continuing education courses.

I used to get most of my CE units by going to various lectures at the dental conventions and from other sources that my specialist that I refer to put on. While some of that education was good, the seminars and workshops I’ve been taking blows that out of the water. I feel I am learning so much more than from those little lectures and the material seems to be more applicable to the direction I have envisioned my dental career will go. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t take any of of this before. While it isn’t cheap, it is so worth it. I have Dr. Frank Spear and his group to thank for my renewed passion for dentistry.

There are other similar education groups that teach you similar material about dentistry, I just haven’t researched it much nor have I taken any of those other courses to make a fair comparison. From what I gather from what people have told me about their experiences each one has their plus and minuses. Do your homework.

I know this might have been a longer post and a bit off topic from photography, but I feel it is worthwhile to share. If I must tie it into photography, it would be that there are other dentists like myself who also share the passion for photography. I met this one other dentist at the seminar while we were having breakfast at the Spear Educational Facility, who shares a similar passion for photography. It turns out he also practices in San Francisco. This gentleman took off a full week to take some sunrise photographs around Arizona and in Utah before coming out to learn about dentistry. He too displays his photgraphic art in his office as well as on his computer monitor as a screen saver.  We had a great conversation about photography.

More from me in the near future!

~Greg Chong

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