“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”—Theodore Roosevelt
For many people throughout the world, the beginning of November marks the beginning of the holiday season—beginning with Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa (and any other way one chooses to celebrate the season), and ending with the ringing in of the New Year. Regardless of religion, I would say the marking characteristic of this season is care—care for our fellow man. Care also happens to be one of Ultradent’s five Core Values that we’ve chosen to uphold above all else here in the workplace. Seeing that it is the beginning of another joyous holiday season, I find it the perfect time to take a deeper look into the Core Value Care that we hold so dear.
For the past ten years at Ultradent, our people have come together in tremendous and caring ways to raise both food and money not only for the Utah Food Bank, but to provide financial aid to many important and pressing causes throughout the world. In 2013, we decided as a company to donate half of the funds raised during our annual food drive to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, through AmeriCares. I watched with great pride as the people of this company, with spirit and enthusiasm, raised money and food during our annual drive. Ultradent also supports numerous other humanitarian causes and missions both at home and abroad by donating funds, dental supplies, and the like to organizations seeking to help improve the quality of life of others—be it through dental care or other important and worthy means.
Additionally, let us not forget, we here at Ultradent are in the healthcare profession. It would certainly be far from appropriate if we were making healthcare products without the highest level of care, from the person working in R&D and formulations, to our sales force, to the people in shipping, and so on and so forth. Our products end up in patients’ mouths, and that should always be front and center in our minds. Would we want this product in the mouth of our daughter or son? Are we giving the level of care that we would be pleased to see used on a family member, or even ourselves? Care is critical, from the beginning to the end of the chain when it comes to the products we make.
Last, as a practicing dentist, I often remind myself—just as I remind the many dentists I am privileged to come in contact with throughout my yearly lectures—that caring is listening to the needs of those we serve. They light up our lives, these humans we call patients, and our success as clinicians and care providers relies on how well we listen and show them that we care.
I had the opportunity to perform a full-mouth reconstruction on the world-famous figure skater and two-time Olympic gold medalist and icon, Oleg Protopopov. Upon assessing his age and complexion, I urged Mr. Protopopov to go with an A3 composite shade. However, upon looking at the shade guide, Oleg went immediately to the lightest shade, and excitedly declared, “I want A1!”
I tried to talk him out of it, saying “Oh Oleg, trust me. It wouldn’t look natural. They taught me in dental school that I shouldn’t make them too light. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about.”
Oleg was unrelenting, but I finally got him to compromise on an A2 shade, upon which I went ahead and made a full set of crowns. It was only after the A2 crowns were made that I had an important epiphany. I had screwed up. Oleg Protopopov grew up behind the Iron Curtain, where athletes were their celebrities, and he and Ludmila, his wife and skating partner, were the biggest that the Soviet Union had ever seen! I realized then and there that Oleg, as a performer and a star, had always wanted A1s. I immediately destroyed the finished A2 crowns and made a whole new set of A1s, with which Oleg was thrilled. This was a huge lesson for me in listening to the needs of those we serve.
I often say that care is the majority of the meaning of love. If you subtract care from love, love ceases to be love. You have to care in major ways to love in major ways. Let’s remember to care, and in turn, love in major ways as we enter this joyous holiday season.