Some of my best education in dentistry and in life has come from sources that were an unexpected surprise to me. I realize I can learn from everyone and that my job is to take the good from what I see and hear and find a way to make it mine.

yellow brick road dentistry

In 1939, a tornado rips through Kansas. Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical Land of Oz. In an attempt to get home, Glinda and the Munchkins suggest that they follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City and enlist the help of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. Along their journey, Dorothy and Toto meet a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba tries to sabotage the journey and take the ruby slippers from Dorothy’s feet.

"Follow the Yellow Brick Road!"

Glinda the Good Witch and the Munchkins

The message here is to start at the beginning. I often see questions about challenging dental cases on Spear Talk. Many times, not enough information is provided to give a viable answer or guidance. The questions seem to suggest that there is an overwhelming task at hand.

Many daunting tasks seem unachievable until you start. Once you start, the answer usually shows itself. 

  • Start your dental cases at the beginning with a good interview. Patients will tell you and guide you to where their concerns lie.
  • Do a complete exam. It is easy to miss something by cutting corners. 
  • Take the time to take your time.
  • Review esthetics, function, structure and biology.
  • Do a facially generated treatment plan. 
  • Trust the system; follow the Yellow Brick Road.

"We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto."

Dorothy Gale

In the movie, the Kansas scenes are filmed in black and white. Once the house lands in Oz, there is a transformation into vibrant color. 

There are two messages here. The first is the dramatic change in our profession from analog to digital. The digital world is being embraced in differing amounts by different people, but make no mistake - digital is here to stay. 

Do you know what a black and white television is? Or when was the last time you saw a tube television?

The other message from, “we’re not in Kansas anymore,” is really the more powerful one. No Toto, we are not in Kansas, we are in Scottsdale! 

At a faculty meeting, I heard that half of the students who come to Spear don’t come to Spear. Sounds like a Yogism, doesn’t it? 

Half of the students involved with Spear Education have not made it to the campus, but have remained local in study clubs or participate online. If you want your growth in dentistry to occur on a higher level, consider surrounding yourself with and learning from successful people. When you come to Scottsdale, you are surrounded by people who have been in your shoes and want to help you grow. 

I believe that workshops and the interactions with mentors have been the most important step in my growth and understanding of dentistry, practice and life. As Frank would say (that would be Spear, not Baum), he wants you to have more fun, make more money and have control over your practice and life. Come to Scottsdale; it is not quite somewhere over the rainbow.

Enjoy the journey.

Carl E. Steinberg, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., L.L.S.R.

‚Äč(Click this link to read more dentistry articles by Carl Steinberg)


Commenter's Profile Image Muna S.
May 13th, 2017
Lovely thoughts and advice...workshops and seminars at Spear Education have been the best investment I have ever made in my path. I'm sorry I didn't start in my 20's with Spear,but it's never too late, is it? Beyond grateful! ;-)
Commenter's Profile Image Carl S.
May 14th, 2017
Thanks Muna for your kind words. I also regret my journey did not start earlier. Carl
Commenter's Profile Image Jodi M.
July 6th, 2017
My time with Spear has been such a highlight in my career in dentistry. My advice... Take your team! Spear education as an RDA has helped build my foundation as a passionate RDA and team member, a successful team leader and now office manager. It continues to to help me identify the endless possibilities in dentistry. While I realize Spear is an investment for all Dr.'s out there, I truly believe that by investing in your team you are sure to find endless loyalty, office culture and success. Beyond grateful for Dr. Benjamin who continues to push us along the Spear path and for Spear for their amazing offerings. Cheers!
Commenter's Profile Image Nina S.
August 1st, 2020
I became a Spear member just recently, in May 0f 2019. I had never heard of it but after my first trip to Scottsdale, I was determined to finish the core curriculum as fast as possible. Unfortunately with the COVID issues, I was not able to achieve the set goal. It's been a year and I think of Spear online and the workshops as the best investment in my career. Practicing in Chicago presents a lot of opportunities to attend workshops and seminars given by excellent dentists, but none of the experiences come close to the complete educational package that Spear offers. I wish I had known about Spears earlier in my career.