Standing on the shoulders of the giants

EDITORIAL - April 15, 2021

.... or how to find your own voice with the help of a Mentor


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. 

But what is a mentor, in fact?

The classical definition is the one of an experienced and trusted advisor/teacher. This implies that the one who mentors is in a way wiser (and thus often older) than the mentee, the mentored one. The Mentor is there to provide guidance on a specific matter on which they have established expertise.  

However, the way I see mentorship is much larger than the one of a professional teacher. In fact, the mentor undoubtedly shapes the mentee: the contribution of mentorship expands across the borders of the professional activities. The way I see it, a mentor is a person that, through a working relationship, can really trigger the personal and human growth of the mentored. This is why I believe that a widely abused Italian word explains perfectly what a Mentor is: Maestro. 

The Maestro is the one that takes you to a school in which, through complete and devoted immersion, one is literally transformed from a caterpillar to a butterfly. 

Do I have a romantic vision of the mentorship? 

Yes, I do. But let’s face it, I am Italian: I have a romantic vision of everything… I have to confess, though, that I have also been very fortunate. One of the people that shaped me professionally and personally, Lars Laurell, has also been the Mentor of my beloved Cristiano Tomasi. 

Cristiano and I understood the impact of the mentorship we had received when, many years afterwards, looking at some clinical cases, we found each other in complete agreement in each treatment step (basically just following a straightforward philosophy: understanding the biology of wound healing and its clinical implications). This per se is already a miracle because, as my dear friend Carlo Tinti tends to say: “Diagnosis is one, treatment options are millions”. But it was more than that. 

We both share a sort of non-serious, joyful approach to periodontology and the periodontal world (isn’t the Herald a prime example of that?) In fact, this attitude overarches the profession, and it is related to life as well. And for this, I am and always will be grateful to Lars Laurell. He shaped me as much as the people next to me.

Our experiences served as an inspiration for Periocampus. Cristiano and I had the same Maestro. And we are passing these values in the full-immersion professional world that we created. 

Most importantly, what really annoyed me from the very beginning is that Periodontology is actually… easy! Periodontology is natural. Periodontology is about biology and about human beings (not just the patients but the operators as well). This is why I always despised, and not just me but also Lars and Cristiano, the ones that are “selling” Periodontology like something incredibly complex.

“This place of forbidden knowledge is guarded by many and most cunning devices: Knowledge is used to conceal, rather than enlighten“ William of Baskerville – The Name of the Rose. 

This is the reason why we are now officially launching the Periocampus mentorship program. This is something we truly believe in. Do you have doubts about your career? Your professional choices? Is there something you truly want to learn or do in your life? Just drop us few lines at

I have been lucky for what I have received. I now sincerely wish that I can help as many colleagues as possible to find their own voice, their own NAME.

Stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus