On Hammers and Nails

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” ― Abraham Maslow

Our “hammers” or solutions to problems come out of our experiences – the people met, the books read, as well as the mistakes made and the achievements experienced. The reason wisdom comes with age is because life and the world are so much bigger and complicated than we, when we were children, and even teenagers, had the capacity to comprehend. My biggest worry for myself, when it comes to tackling life’s problems, is that I will default into knee-jerk responses rather than keeping my mind open to new and better information, new and better ways.

Professionally, I can say, after thirty years of practicing dentistry, with the bulk of this time focused on the specialty of periodontics, that my tool kit is much different today than when I started. Two recent standouts are lasers and 3D imaging with the ability to 3D print as well as mill patient-specific devices. And while all this is going on, research continues to uncover the biology and genetics of what these diseases are at the molecular level. It always takes time to stop and learn new things, but it’s like mining for gold. You never know when you might strike the motherload.

If you have a few minutes, take a look at this TED talk about printing human organs. It’s mind boggling.