Wisdom from Dr. Nacho's Dad

by Dr. Paul Goodman Dr. Paul Goodman | Apr 1, 2024 4:30:48 PM

Some of you know (and some may not be aware) that I was lucky enough to work with my dad from 2005-2016.

My dad was an amazing dad, dentist, friend, mentor and like many of us here . . . “passionately disgruntled” sports fan. (NY Giants, Knicks, Yankees).

Dental Nachos would not exist without my dad. I would have never considered dentistry as a career without my dad being a dentist and having a partner.  My dad never “pushed me into dentistry.”  He did share how valuable he felt “being your own boss” was and how much he enjoyed helping his patients.

My dad took helping people seriously, but never took himself too seriously. From 2005-2016, working together we took three dentists (my dad, my brother and me) and grew to two practice locations along, acquiring three additional practices (two were mergers). We built a team of specialists and general dentists working together while having fun. One of my dad’s favorite people ever on planet earth was our office manager, team referee, patient care coordinators and friend, Kate Kocik. Kate is the “glue” that held my brother, my dad and me together. 

I feel so honored to have worked with my dad for that long. My brother and I are striving our best to carry on his legacy.

Life can be quite life-y. Last week would have been my dad’s 76th birthday. My dad died suddenly in 2016. That is tied for the most devastating moment of my life with my mom dying suddenly in 1997. Like many of us, this whole human existence thing  has been both brutal and beautiful for us. I have heard the term used “brutiful” and while there are no perfect crowns preps, that is a perfect way to describe our (dentisting) lives.

Both my parents would have loved Dental Nachos. My dad was super annoyed by the “Hunger games” mentality of dentists. He had no idea why dentists (sometimes) acted “like jerks to each other.”  My dad also shared towards the end of his career and life how difficult running a dental practice had become from an insurance, management and sanity perspective.  During the “Y2K scare,” patients would ask my dad if his practice was ready in case the internet shut down. He would reply “not nervous at all, we are totally prepared.” His calmness came from the day there were no computers in the practice.

If my dad was here today, he would advise new dentists to get extra training after dental school (he did the Air Force for two years).  He would advise medium-aged dentists that it is really difficult to balance a family and running a dental practice. My dad coached my teams and also missed games when the office was open on Saturday. He showed me that caring about your family and business at the same time is doable. He would tell you not to judge yourself too much for missing a game, but also not to miss your kids growing up being obsessed with your practice(s).

He would tell you, ”seasoned aged dentists” to reach out to your younger colleagues and help them feel less alone.

I share “F Up Your Life My Dad” every Father’s Day. While he was known to drop a few real “F Bombs,” these F bombs are advice he would give dentisting humans today.

Friend Up Your Life

Family Up Your Life

Fun Up Your Life

Figure out how to move forward when you are faced  with the “unexpected vertical root fracture” or life.

Most of all . . . make the people around you FEEL GOOD and know you “have their back.”

Everyone that knew my dad as a friend, colleague or family member knew he “had their back.”

Dental Nachos is here because of my dad.

I would love it if you could take 143 seconds to let someone know you “have their back.” Text them, DM them, call them, email them-just let someone know they can reach out to you for help. Cheer someone on in a post or comment. Thank someone for sharing. Do something that is such a little thing to you and so meaningful to them.

While my dad would be glad to see a great case posted on the group, he would say we have enough great cases. We need more “cases of dentisting humans caring about each other.”

As a bonus, my dad was not as talkative as me in the operatory (few are), but he did have a simple and awesome way to answer the “why are you more than expensive than the ad on TV question.”

I love it and I hope you do too!

“When it comes to healthcare, it is usually not a good idea to base your decision on the cheapest option.”

- My dad to patients that asked about dental care they saw advertised at a ridiculously low price.


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