It’s that time of year- the pumpkin pies are in the oven (literally!!- as I write this, I have 2 pumpkin pies in the oven) and most thoughts are towards turkey and stuffing and eventual gym memberships. But, of course, our thoughts go towards how fortunate we are to be living in the best country in the world, enjoying privileges and luxuries that are only dreamed of in many other countries. We give thanks for our many blessings including good health (hopefully), good friends and family….. but on this particular Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks for the excellent staff that I am privileged to work with.

Having practiced for over 25 years, I have worked with many staff members some of who were tops in their respective field. Our hygienist Maria who I was lucky enough to work with for 7 years raised my level of awareness and made me a better dentist in many ways. Unfortunately, she moved to Pittsburgh 5 years ago, for her husband’s job. Our receptionist Janet was a patient for several years until I convinced her to come work with us- her Boston accent and perpetual upbeat attitude brightened our each and every day until she too had to move back to Boston for her husband’s job– what is it with these husbands!!!

As fantastic as these people were, there always seemed to be another staff member who brought everyone down; another employee who did not share the same work ethic and delight in our patients. I always dreamed of a day when I could have a “perfect” staff – where each person is tops in what they do and, most importantly, makes every day a great day for our patients and each other.

Well that day is now!!!! Let me start with our hygienist Corinne. She is the youngest member of our team but she exudes an aura of an old soul. Corinne started with us right out of hygiene school (where she was President of her class) and fit in from day one. Her cleaning abilities are second to none and she possesses a unique ability to evaluate your mouth in a way that continually amazes me. Her training has enabled her to diagnose even the most minute problem that might be brewing in your mouth, allowing me to correct it before it becomes a bigger issue. All this in an extremely gentle manner and pleasant disposition. Corinne can educate you as to the best way to brush and floss in a manner that is encouraging and never demeaning. She is tuly a gem and we are very lucky to have her.

Our receptionist Cindy is the very definition of sunshine. As regular readers to this blog know, Cindy’s story is very uplifting. She used to work at the Wine Merchant (the deli downstairs from us) where we were able to appreciate her service skills and sunny disposition. One of my best decisions was to convince her to come work with us several years ago. I can honestly say that I have never seen Cindy in a bad mood. I wish I could say the same for myself but if I come to work feeling a little out of sorts, she will brighten my world to the point that I forget whatever it was that might have been bothering me. THAT is a true gift!!

I can’t overstate how important the front desk receptionist position is- she is the main connection that patients experience when they call for an appointment, for insurance information or just to be reassured about a painful tooth. Cindy uses her people/ service skills that she honed in executive positions with Williams Sonoma and Bath and Body Works to make each patient feel heard and special- because she really feels like each patient is special. You can’t teach that!! Cindy makes each day for our patients and for us a true pleasure. We are very lucky to have her!!

And last but most certainly not least, is Edie, my long time dental assistant and right hand person. Edie has been making me laugh and comforting patients for almost 24 years – she actually started out as my receptionist and transitioned into a top notch assistant because of her people skills, her empathy and genuine desire to make each and every patient feel relaxed and comfortable. She is most famous for her rubbing the patient’s shoulder as I gently give a Lidocaine injection- something that I know cannot be duplicated in any other dental office.

Edie has become such a fixture in the office that patients come in looking and asking for her before they ask to see me- I try not to take it too personally…. because I know just how they feel. On the very rare day that she takes off, the office is much quieter and somehow not as enjoyable. She truly adds a dimension to the patient’s experience that is priceless- a genuine concern and interest that is mixed with a very sharp wit and caring smile.

So there you have it- the perfect staff!!! On this Thanksgiving, I can’t imagine a better group of staff members and friends to spend each work day with that feel more like additional family members. And that family feeling enables us to extend a similar feel to our patients, who after coming for many years feel like family as well. So thank you Corinne, Cindy and Edie for making each day in our office such a joy and great place to be. I look forward to many more years of working together to make a real difference in our patient’s smiles and lives!!