Dental Asia Nov/Dec 2018

Under the Spotlight NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2018 DENTAL ASIA 15 Passing On the Baton Written by Dr. Chala R. Platon A esthetics is a crucial part in practising dentistry – applied in every aspect and s p e c i a l i s a t i on i n the dental profession. Contrary to popular belief, Aesthetic or Cosmetic Dentistry is not just about achieving beautiful results but focuses primarily on colour, position, shape, size, alignment, overall smile appearance and function which may include: whitening, reshaping, bonding, veneering, bridging, orthodontics, implants or even gum surgeries. To find out more about aesthetic dentistry, product selection, shade selection, new bioactive products, minimally invasive dentistry (MID) and how to grow as a dentist, Dental Asia spoke with Dr. Frank J. Milnar, one of the speakers at the Dental Aesthetics Meeting in Asia (DAMA) 2018. Discovering dentistry Growing up, Dr. Milnar had a physician as a father. He shared that oftentimes, his father was not present due to the hectic schedule. For this reason, Dr. Milnar’s father advised him to choose a different path in order to have more time with his future family. Consequently, in college, Dr. Milnar decided to take up biology and became a member of a fraternity. Some members/brothers from his fraternity group were going into dentistry. According to Dr. Milnar, this intrigued him and having a background working with his hands in construction for a number of years; he eventually chose to study dentistry. “I did not know what it was and what they did. Whenmy friends went to dental school, I followed them just to watch and observe what they did in the laboratories. I guess it was blind luck because I like working with my hands. I fell in love with the profession,” he shared. Finding his way When Dr. Milnar graduated back in 1976, he was measuring success by how much money he was earning. He held the belief that the more money he made, the more popular he would be . Howe v e r, he admi t t ed t ha t even though he was earning well, he felt something was missing. Therefore, he decided to change and reinvent himself. The turning point came in 1992, when he attended a meeting held by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He went to the event all by himself and much to his surprise, he was awed as he watched world-class leaders having fun while teaching and sharing their knowledge. Dr. Milnar reminisced, “At that event, I resolved to pick two of those outstanding leaders to help me. I was desperate and I needed a change in my life. So I approached Dr. Newton Fahl and Dr. Douglas Terry and told them I wanted to be like them. They both agreed to mentor me but emphasised that it would be a long difficult path. I said: ‘I’ll do it!’” At the beginning, both mentors informed Dr. Milnar that he would have to first work on becoming a better clinician after inspecting his work. He admitted that even back in school, he was never the first in his class and would have to work very hard just to make the grade. Nevertheless, his mentors encouraged him to never give up and this led him to being accredited in the AACD. Thereafter, Dr. Milnar’s mentors advised him to be an educator after his clinical work improved. “This was another mountain for me to climb. After improving my clinical skills, it was time for me to begin teaching. I had to shoot/document my own cases and create my own presentations. I was motivated to become an educator as I wanted to help mould future role models in our industry. ” Then, Dr. Milnar went back to college as a student and enrolled in art history where he learned everything about the renaissance and colour. He also visited dental laboratories and volunteered once a week as a dental technician in order to acquire knowledge on the laboratory aspect – retooling in particular. Once he became an educator, the next step was to publish his works. While he admitted publishing one’s work is very time consuming task, he was not going to turn back. Eventually, Dr. Milnar published his articles which only added to his credibility as an educator and somebody who cares for the dental profession. (L-R): Mr. Patrick Loke, Managing Director (CEO) of Shofu Dental Asia Pacific, Ms. Jamie Tan, Publications Director of Dental Asia, Dr. Frank Milnar and Dr. Chala Platon, Assistant Editor of Dental Asia