Right after a recent course on Furcations management by the French Society of Periodontology, one of the most brilliant and talented French periodontists asked me, while I was drinking champagne on a bateaux mouche along the Seine river (I can be even more mainstream, if you ask me), for some pieces of advice.
One of my favourite writers of all time, Umberto Eco, became from being a quasi-unknown professor of semiotics to an international best-seller writer following his debut iconic book: “The Name of the Rose”. The book, altogether with his Foucault’s Pendulum, has truly marked my readings during teenagerhood.
I am not going to go through the plot of which you are all familiar - isn’t true, perio people? - but I will focus on one specific aspect: the relationship among the Franciscan friar William of Baskerville and the Benedictine Novice Adso of Melk.
The story is narrated by Adso, old and proved by life, who remembers some important facts of his younger age. There is a feeling that stands out: a clear sense of admiration for his Mentor, transuding the pages of the book. Despite the fact that many years had passed, Adso is still visibly grateful to the teaching of his Guide, despite awareness of his weaknesses and flaws.
The people around me know very well that I see challenging times as an opportunity. A tremendous one. Indeed, one might find beauty in the lack of control. The total absence of something to grab onto is what we fear, but it equally, I must say, carries some vital excitement in itself. Everywhere across social media, inspirational quotes remind us that life begins outside of our comfort, controlled zones. Indeed, how would any of us find new paths, new practices, new lands if we do not lose control? Finally, how does one fall in love if no control is lost?
I was recently told that the toughest metal is hammered out in the flames of the inferno. This is true as much for human beings, (and on a Perio note) as for (anaerobic) bacteria. Moments of hardship make us stronger, more resilient, more capable of facing other adversities. Nevertheless, I believe that what becomes the newly acquired resistance should not only allow for getting more solid or tough. I believe that the main responsibility is to complement this new resistance with the most precious gift we have all received...
Life has changed. Full stop.
Will we ever go back to our (old) lives?
Well, it is clear: “We’re living in unprecedented times” - the words we’ve thrown around and repeated so often in the recent months that they’ve become sort of a buzzword, a mantra, a kind of a repetitive conversational banality... However, the past months were everything but a banality…
As the founder of the Herald, what has riddled me was to understand in which way I could support the (increasing and lovely) community of our readers in these dire times. For the time being, I would like to share my thoughts on some specific milestones.
I am professor of Periodontology at the University of Pisa. I am also an honorary Professor in Periodontology at the University of Hong Kong and University College of London and what is more I have had the honour to serve the European Federation of Periodontology as its President.
And I have been hating dentistry for a significant portion of my life.
In my young years, charged with ambition, I had always thought that the job one chooses should, in some way or another, have to leave a trace for the generations to come.
Yet dentistry, or at least the desire of becoming a dentist, seemed a sort of „minor“ ambition. However, coming from a family of dentists I gave the dental faculty entrance exam a go. I passed, I entered and off I went – results: 2 years being miserable.
Now, 20 years down the road, I am desperately in love with my job. But what is it that make us love what we do?
In fact, think about it for a moment, what is it that motivates you?
It seems that motivation lies on the 3 basic principles: mastery – autonomy – purpose. And in these principles lies, I believe, an explanation why dentistry is such an amazing job… according to dentists, that is.