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How important is a smile? To Edita Outericka, DDS, it's everything.
How important is a smile? To Edita Outericka, DDS, it’s everything. It’s what gives a person confidence to be the best they can be. And it’s a part of people that has fascinated her ever since she came to the US from the Czech Republic as a child.
“It’s the first thing I noticed on a person,” Outericka recalls. “Due to the economy, I noticed that some smiles were not that great. And I felt like helping to improve those smiles would make for a better and brighter person.”
It was then, at the age of 12, that Outericka knew she wanted to become a dentist.
“It’s one of the most interesting things to me,” she says of the artistic element associated with improving patients’ smiles. “And providing overall health to a patient is what I find particularly rewarding. It all leads to loving what you do in life.”
Changing the Image
Outericka is so passionate about dentistry that she recently co-authored a book, “A Cup of Coffee with My Dentist,” (Rutherford Publishing House, 2015) in which she and 10 leading dental practitioners attempt to dispel some of the negative myths associated with the craft.
“The main reason I wanted to write the book is I wanted people to see through my eyes why dentistry is such a rewarding field,” she says. “I wanted them to understand the importance of how dentistry plays a role in patients’ overall health. And being treated in a comfortable, honest, and friendly environment.”
Outericka acknowledges that many patients are fearful about going to the dentist, but that fear is easy to overcome if relationships are built and trust is cultivated. It’s a message her fellow dentists were only too happy to share.
“Dentistry is one of the fields where if you ask most people they will tell you mostly negative things about it,” Outericka says. “We wanted to come together and say, ‘Hey, it’s not negative. It’s a great field; it’s a great place to be comfortable and be happy, and get rid of all that fear that people feel when they come in.”
The book also chronicles many of the hardships she experienced as a child coming to the US with nothing, the sacrifices she and her family made, and working hard to accomplish her dreams and goals. Today, she continues to see her dreams come to fruition.
“At this point we are expanding our practice to a multi-specialty practice,” she says of her Mansfield, MA-based Dynamic Dental practice. “It will be a very large practice to accommodate patients; to be able to do all their treatment in one place.”
No Small Task
Building that practice was no small task. Outericka says the greatest challenge has been putting the right team together.
“I have a team that has to be with me on the same page, and treats people the way they want to be treated,” she explains. “Our practice is extremely honest, extremely energetic. Happy team is happy patients. And they work very hard to make that happen.”
That creates an atmosphere that is not lost on the patients.
“Every patient will tell you that the reason they come to our practice is because yes, we do a good job in dentistry, but they also come in to socialize with us and be comfortable,” Outericka says. “That’s so important.”
It’s also important that Outericka has surrounded herself with staff member who believe in and support her vision. Finding and bringing together people who have never met before and getting them to work to accomplish the same vision that she believes in is something she says she works at every day—especially since the practice is expanding.
“I’m increasing team members and growing,” she says. “I think the challenge is to get them trained, educated, and on the same page as me to make this a great practice.”
Despite working hard at her practice, Outericka recognizes the importance of taking time to stay active and take care of her overall health.
“If you can’t take care of yourself, how can you take care of other people?” she asks, rhetorically. “And that includes your team, your family and your friends.”
As such, Outericka sees herself as a role model. She is an avid athlete who regularly competes in triathlons and half-marathons. But she’s not alone. She will often involve the entire practice in working with members of the community, such as the local police department, to sponsor and raise money for charitable events.
“We come together and have a great day, and then have a barbecue afterward,” she says. Just being able to take the money from events to donate to kids in need or school sports is a great feeling. And we do that often.”
But she also knows how to slow down, read a book, or sit on the beach and watch the sun set.
“I try to balance everything,” she explains, “take it all in and enjoy how life treats you.”
All About Smiles
In the end, of course, it all comes back to her patients and their smiles. Outericka believes a person’s smile is a perception of their confidence. When a patient won’t smile, it hurts, because she believes it has a negative effect on their lifestyle. Her goal is to turn that around.
“Whatever it takes to make a smile come alive, and to increase their confidence — putting in veneers or putting on crowns or straightening their teeth,” she says. “Because when they walk in the room and they’re smiling, it’s so rewarding. We’re not just here to drill their teeth. We’re here to connect and help each other.”
And when she can accomplish that every day, then it has been a good day.
“When I go to bed at night, and put my head down on the pillow, I feel like I’ve made good decisions,” she says. “And the only way to accomplish that is to be true to yourself, and honest to others. No regrets.”