Organized dentistry offers Dr. John Carson a solid platform for connecting, learning and giving back through dentistry. When he’s not providing patients at his Tucson, Arizona practice the best possible care, he serves as a member of eight prestigious groups, including the American Dental Association and the Academy of General Dentistry. Today, Dr. Carson focuses on cosmetic, preventative, and restorative dentistry at his practice, but when he first earned his dental degree  from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, Dr. Carson joined the U.S. Air Force and was recognized as the outstanding company-grade officer in the 355th Dental Squadron. The Daily Floss thanks Dr. Carson for his service, and catches up with the Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 Class of 2011 alum for tips, best practices and thoughts on leadership.  

Incisal Edge 40 Under 40
For dentists wondering how highly-driven innovators embrace the future and move the profession forward, this new series will provide the questions – and the answers. This fall, Incisal Edge dental lifestyle magazine celebrates 10 years of recognizing brilliant achievers in dentistry, ages 40 and under. Fewer than 500 of America’s best young dentists have earned this prestigious designation, including the alumni featured in each installment here. Prepare to be motivated.

What is one leadership practice that works for you?

Working consistently with various coaches can be a huge plus. Doing that for not only yourself, but for the team, is critical.

Share three tips or best practices for dental teams today:

  1. Remain positive and celebrate what goes well. Of course, think of ways to improve, but always try to stay as positive as you can. Positivity is extra challenging right now with all the crises going on in the world, between coronavirus, protests, and [in Arizona] we’ve got massive wildfires.
  2. Try to remember that you tend to become what you focus on or what you think about.
  3. Stay focused on areas where you can affect change. A lot is going on out there, most of which you can’t affect. In some areas, your influence matters. Then from that group there’s a smaller section where you have the most ability to affect change. Prioritize those issues.

What’s has been the most vital innovation or change in dentistry since your win?

There are more and more digital products coming down the pipeline. Digital imaging is moving toward eliminating impressions. Since we’ve added a cone beam scanner to the office, we don’t take many impressions. Usually, we’re scanning, which ties in with treating sleep apnea issues. I think sleep and airway have had the biggest treatment evolution that we’ve seen in dentistry since 2011.

Favorite technology at your practice?

The cone beam scanner. We added a new one since the 40 Under 40 win that offers a better, more versatile image – all the way from a small field of view to a larger field of view to external bitewings and an external full-mouth series.

What did the “40 Under 40” honor signify to you?

I’ve heard from others who have been to Benco Dental in Pennsylvania come back and say to me: “Oh I saw your picture on the wall.” I didn’t even know it was up on the wall! The win and the exposure from being featured in the Incisal Edge magazine definitely helped.

Advice for other dentists aiming to join the #IE40Under40 ranks?

Don’t necessarily focus on shooting for the 40 Under 40 specifically. Keep learning and trying to do the right thing for your patients, your team, your practice, and yourself. Good things will follow.