Becoming a Maven and a Mensch

A great dentist in front of team

A truly great dentist isn’t defined by impressive bells and whistles, such as the latest technology or a sleek office space. Don’t read me wrong, emerging technologies are often a blessing and can make a huge impact on the quality of patient care. Clean, modern dental practices are often welcoming and give patients the right impression of the type of ship you’re running. 

But, I’ve learned that it’s something else (something a little more human) that’s the most important part of being a truly great dentist.

Defining Greatness. Before I go much further, I want to define the terms this article will center around maven and mensch

  • A maven is an expert in a particular field. This word is derived from the Yiddish word “meyvn” meaning “a person who understands.” 
  • Mensch is a Yiddish word that roughly translates as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.” Being called a mensch is one of the highest compliments one can receive. 

I believe that to care for your patients to the best of your ability, you must be both a maven and a mensch.  

Making a Maven. After working in dentistry for over three decades, I’d say I know how to care for a person’s smile and have become a sort of maven. But that doesn’t mean I have all the answers. Occasionally, a patient will come to me with an issue for which I simply don’t have a solution. I see this as an opportunity to hone my craft. 

In my office, if I don’t have the answer to something, I consult an expert who will. Whether a patient requires the specialized knowledge of a periodontist or root canal expert, we will find the correct answer to whatever questions arise. This process helps both dentist and patient learn something new.

Choosing to be a Mensch. While one might inevitably become a maven through years of experience, you must choose to be a mensch every day. Sure, we dentists need to make a living, but that doesn’t mean we can’t always do what is right. Honesty and integrity build trust and keep patients coming back for a lifetime. Remember, one loyal customer is far more valuable than one new client. 

At my practice, the Dental Care Group, we also give back to the surrounding community. I learned from my father that part of being a mensch is giving to others without expectation. Every year for the last nine years, we offer free day of dentistry for our community at our Dentistry from Our Hearts event. 

People begin lining up outside the office the night before the event to secure their place. This statement isn’t meant to brag, but rather to show the impact these services have on the lives of those who receive them. We make an effort to get the word out about the event every year, but it’s not about publicity. It’s about helping our community and setting an example for others.  

In short, it’s about using your skills as a maven to be a mensch. 

If your interested in learning more about me or my practice, please pick up a copy of my book: The Big Smile and follow me on social media:,,