Dr. Matt Dudek is a pediatric dental resident who can relate to his young patients at Temple University Hospital. Four dental surgeries, 24 teeth extracted and four years of orthodontic braces gave him plenty of firsthand experience in a dental chair. Those life-changing results ultimately led him to dental school in Philadelphia. Once there, his innate sense of fun and positivity inspired him to a dental specialty: connecting kids with “a lifetime of dental success”.
“Dentistry can truly change someone’s life, and to be able to have that capability is such a powerful motivator. I started working with patients in dental school and realized establishing a fun and positive environment for a child can set up a lifetime of dental success,” said the Kornberg School of Dentistry graduate.
“I also realized that I am just a grown-up child, the perfect personality to bond with every child that walks into our office.”
How can three lessons from the past lead a pediatric dental resident to a successful future?
With a June, 2021 graduation date in sight, Dr. Dudek shares insight he gained prior to his a pediatric dental resident.
Lesson #1. Never forget a name. (a k a Don’t underestimate a book written in the 1930s.)
“One of lessons I try consistently incorporate in my life is, ‘Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.’ How does it make you feel when someone remembers your name versus someone ‘Hey, man’ or ‘Hey, buddy’?” said Dr. Dudek.
“One of my favorite books is a must read —How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The lessons I learned in this book helped shape how I interact with others and carry myself. It is incredible how these principles still apply to our everyday lives.”
Lesson #2. Make time for mentorship.
“For the past couple of years, I have been involved with the organization Eagle University, which mentors high school and college age students on how to succeed. We teach all of the topics most learn later in life, such as how to find a mentor, how to build self-confidence, time management, and how properly set goals. Eagle U comprises of students all across the country and of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
If you would like to help change a young student’s life, please consider donating at https://www.eagleuniversity.org/ “
Lesson #3. ‘Don’t be afraid of failure.’
“Now is the time to make mistakes and truly challenge yourself. Would you rather make a mistake now when you have the full support of the school and faculty or make that same mistake when you are in private practice all alone?
It is truly incredible when you can surround yourself with other like-minded students who are all pursuing the same goal. The relationships I have established with my fellow classmates and faculty I know will last me a lifetime. Finding the right group of friends and mentors has been a powerful motivator to push myself and also provide support whenever challenges arise.”
Lesson #4. You’re beyond compare.
“When you are in an environment where you are taking the exact same exams and practical assignments, it is very hard to not compare yourself to others. There will always be someone out there who is a better test taker or have naturally better hand skills. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others, it is hard to realize the growth that you have made in your process to become a dentist.”
Lesson #5. Everything can be an opportunity for growth. Even a pandemic during a pediatric dental residency.
“COVID was a challenge for growth. Our clinic did close for three months during the initial shutdown, but we are now functioning at full capacity. As the guidance was constantly changing, it was a great lesson in being able to adapt.”
Calling all pediatric dentists in the National Capitol Region:
“Graduation is coming up in June. I am hoping to find a job in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area with a path to ownership within the first two years. If you know any great pediatric dentists in that area, please don’t hesitate to reach out!”
Find him on LinkedIn: here.
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