The Blog is pleased to feature a guest post from Dr. Brad Larsen, who began practicing in Kelso, WA, in 1979. What began as a small office in the…

Dentist CEO Dr. Brad Larsen

The Blog is pleased to feature a guest post from Dr. Brad Larsen, who began practicing in Kelso, WA, in 1979. What began as a small office in the basement of an optometrist grew into one of the largest practices in Southwestern Washington.

In 2009 Dr. Larsen sold his practice. He completed an MBA in 2008 and launched his consulting business, DentistCEO. He also works part-time for a non-profit at a low income dental clinic.

Many times a small act of kindness can have a lasting impact on both the giver and the receiver. Over 35 years ago, my wife Cindy and I moved to Chicago as I began my freshman year of dental school. Not only was I about to embark on an adventure that would prepare me for a career that has been as fulfilling as it has been challenging, but Cindy was pregnant, so dental school was not the only challenge that we faced. Being somewhat naïve, we had begun our family before we had secured health insurance. Fortunately for us there was a white knight in our future. A local obstetrician offered free prenatal care and delivery care to medical and dental students. Over the past 35 years, that single act of generosity has had a profound effect on me both professionally and personally.

I have appreciated the financial security that dentistry has provided my family. But just as my obstetrician friend taught me many years ago, the “dang good feelings” that I get when I give more than is required with no expectation of reward are priceless. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared some valuable insight: “We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.” When I was in private practice, I looked forward each year to our free dental day. It was an amazing day. We published the event in the newspaper and the local radio station the day before the event. The phones would ring off the hook for the next couple of hours. We filled the schedule with patients who had needed care for months but were unable to afford treatment. It was an extremely busy day, the staff loved the opportunity to make a difference, and it just “felt dang good.”

The last two and half years I have been working part time for a non-profit at a dental clinic for low-income members of the community. I often think that if I am going to work, I ought to get a job at a “real” office, but it just feels “so dang good” to see someone with a new smile because I can do a composite – hardly cutting-edge cosmetic dentistry! Sure, the leather in a new BMW smells great, but when was the last time you had that “dang good feeling” that you get when you do something for someone with no expectation of reward? As dentists we have such a wonderful opportunity to make positive impacts on the lives of some of the neediest in our society. And sometimes you just have to do it “just because it feels so dang good.”

In addition to working with a non-profit clinic, Dr. Larsen hosts a dental blog of his own.

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