“Learn, laugh, and be inspired.” This is the motto of The Ruddle Show, an online video series that features clinical professionals in dentistry. I’ve always been a fan, because they showcase innovators and clinicians who stand out in the field. So imagine what an honor it was for me when I was invited to come on the show!

In my episode, “Endodontic Vanguard,” we discuss my current efforts leading the endodontic revolution, and how I’m hoping to change the perception of what I do now and in the future.

Dr. Clifford Ruddle and Lisette Kershner were excellent interviewers, obviously having a lot of experience asking specific questions and encouraging discussion from their guests! It was so much fun to talk with them, and an absolute thrill to be on their show.

If you are a practicing clinical professional (and I know a bunch of you are!), or if you have any interest in clinical specialties, you owe it to yourself to check out the show. As of my episode, The Ruddle Show is on season six, and they’ve hosted many awesome, brilliant people from all walks of life over the years. You’re sure to find something that speaks to you. This is a very direct, specific way to empower yourself. 

You can check the video here. My interview is from 5:40 to 26:55

Follow Along with Some Highlights

5:40: Hey, it’s me! In my introduction, we set the stage for the conversation, which focuses on my TED Talk, E-School, and female entrepreneurship.

6:51: We discuss my recent article in Dentistry Today. Dr. Ruddle and I are on the same page about the importance of root canal systems.

7:30: I shared my own personal tooth story that led me to become a dentist. If you don’t already know my tooth story about how my referred pain led me to become an endodontist (yes, seriously), I invite you to hear it here. Or just listen to The Ruddle Show episode!

The short version is that, as a teenager, I developed terrible referred pain. My dentist couldn’t figure it out, and none of the specialists he referred me to could, either. Fed up, he sent me to the oral surgeon to extract what he assumed was the offending tooth.

And I could tell the oral surgeon was hesitant, but he saw how much pain I was in, so he did it anyway. After the anesthesia wore off, I still had pain. He’d extracted the wrong tooth.

Finally, my infection got to a really critical point, so I was referred to an endodontist. He was caring, kind, and compassionate, and he took the time to accurately diagnose me and explain what was going on in my body. He assured me that the pain wasn’t all in my mind, and that a root canal would resolve the issue. And he was right.

This is why I’m such a huge proponent of every single dentist having a thorough understanding of endodontic diagnosis.

Endodontic Education for Everyone (TED Talk and E-School)

11:27: The hosts were curious about my recent TED Talk, so we dove into that story. 

In 2016, I created a vision board for where I saw myself going. A TED Talk was on there, because one of my life missions is to bring more awareness to endodontics as a specialty. 

In the beginning of 2021, I decided that now was the time. I invested in a speaking coach. I worked with her all year, and finally in October 2021, I was able to complete this major life goal. The talk is for everyone!

14:06: We got to talking about E-School, too. Look, there’s a lot of content within E-School that (hopefully!!!) dental school taught you. But when I got Board-Certified and had to re-learn all that literature after gaining hands-on experience, it took on a whole new meaning for me. It gave me new confidence and catapulted me into the clinician I am now.

And the same is true with E-School for general dentists. When we only get a few weeks of endo in dental school, there’s so much more application and understanding you can have (which will make life so much better for you and your patients) when you revisit endodontics in an in-depth format.

Not only is E-School a mini-residency in endodontics, but it’s also full of tips and tricks I’ve learned over my decade plus in practice that will help you take your endo to the next level.

Plus, as a busy mom of 3, I understand how hard it is for clinicians to leave their practice and families to take CE. E-School is an online course, offering 10+ CE credits, that you can take at your own pace, or you can take with a cohort while getting personalized coaching from me.

On Balancing Everything

18:02: Lizette pointed out that I stay pretty busy! With the TED Talk, E-School, running my practice, parenting 3 kids, and putting out valuable content for you (wink!), that’s admittedly a lot. And I used to stress about it a lot more. But I’ve learned that it takes a village, and I don’t need to be good at everything.

I’ve put energy into putting together the proper support system in every area of my life, because that’s what really makes all of this possible. My team at my practice runs like clockwork, and my E-School team is all within their zone of geniuses to take care of my students and blog. Even at home, I outsource! I work with trusted nannies and chefs to help run the household. 

Trust me, you don’t have to do everything, yourself. And when you outsource tasks you don’t enjoy or don’t excel at to people who do, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently they can get everything done — leaving you more time for you! As Dr. Ruddle said on the show, “Hire to your greatest weakness.”

We All Face Challenges; Here’s Mine from 2021

20:20: The hosts were curious about what major challenges I’ve faced in 2021. I told them my biggest challenge was probably childcare and homeschooling. COVID really has done a number on the way parents operate with their kids! As much as I love being a teacher to general dentists, I’m not a teacher to little kids.

The key, I found, was adaptability. I couldn’t worry about getting every single thing done. When I needed to stop what I was doing so I could focus on my kids, I had to have grace with myself. It’s unreasonable to expect you can do it all. So just know you’re doing what you can, and you’re prioritizing what’s most important. 

21:37: As far as challenges we’re facing in dentistry, one of the major ones is keeping up with all the latest dental technology. I’ve started thinking about what our field would look like if we all became mini-specialists with our own niche. The more you allow yourself to focus, the less burden you have to place on yourself to do it all, at a high level, all the time.

25:10: We started wrapping up the interview at this point. Lizette asked if there’s anything else to know about me, and I was inspired to talk about my desire to give back to the world as much as I can.

So I challenge you… how do you want to give back to the world? Is it through your family? Your patients?

What’s your legacy going to be?

Let me know in the comments.