Longtime Technology Editor Dr. Paul Feuerstein has taken the reins as Editor in Chief of Dentistry Today. With a DMD from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Dr. Feuerstein was one of the first dentists to install a computer in their office in 1978, and he has been teaching and consulting since then. He also was named Clinician of the Year at the 2010 Yankee Dental Congress and one of the World’s Top 100 Doctors by the Global Summits Institute in 2020. In this Q&A, Dr. Feuerstein discusses his career, the state of the profession, and what’s ahead for Dentistry Today.
Q: You have a long tenure with Dentistry Today as our Technology Editor. How does it feel to be named Editor in Chief?
A: These are actually two totally different projects. As a column writer, I had no pressure other than deadlines. I chose a topic that I thought would be interesting and wrote about it. I was never a great grammatical writer. I write the way I talk. The editorial staff, notably Associate Editor Stephen Curry, made each piece more readable. I could get back to my practice or travel to a dental meeting to lecture, and that was it. All of the editors were and still are my coworkers.
All of a sudden, I have new responsibilities. I have to read articles as they are submitted, critique them, and turn them over to the staff for some fine-tuning. There is a great responsibility here to make sure the technical content is accurate, mostly based on my 40-plus years of general practice, and if I am not familiar with something, I will research it.
I have to work out a schedule, including author deadlines, and now I will be searching through my many contacts for new ideas and authors. At Dentistry Today, I am still working with the same people as before, but they are now looking to me for some guidance.
As my dental office team members can tell you, I am not a boss. I am a coworker—just with different expertise than some of the others. I will have to learn to delegate, just due to the number of hours a day I have, but I am taking this all on as my responsibility.
Q: Moving into 2021, what do you see as the biggest trends impacting dentistry now and in the year ahead?
A: I certainly have a bias having been somewhat of an expert on the technology side of the profession. This changes quite often, and I have to be in close touch with manufacturers and various clinicians to keep up. There was a lull most of this year with companies on shutdown or slowdowns, as well as offices that were closed and, now, finally getting up to speed.
The lack of live dental meetings and reduced travel will be the most difficult problem for me, as there are no easy places to see an array of new products and processes that I can personally try and ask questions one-on-one with developers. Virtual meetings certainly have limitations.
The trends are of course in 3-D imaging, impressions, CAD/CAM, milling of restorations, and 3-D printing of appliances, dentures, and, ultimately, restorations. There are also a lot of biochemical advances with new restorative materials, which is also technology, many of which we have not seen before. An example is a new composite with antimicrobial properties that might reduce or eliminate marginal caries. There are also new self-adhesive composites. And laboratory processes are totally changing to digital processes, which is also spawning new workflows and materials for restorations.
Q: In addition to these trends, what topics do you think are essential in Dentistry Today’s coverage?
A: I would like to continue to present practical clinical articles that will help us all fine-tune our daily processes. Every once in a while, it is great to see something that is unusual or someone pushing the limits of what we normally see. There are also areas of dentistry and management that have not really been a part of our content.
With my presence on social media, I have also come across some hidden gems—young dentists creating amazing dentistry in their own four walls, never thinking they have something to share. Along with this is our digital side. Many people now are not drawn to print initially. They do all of their reading, research on products, CE, and more online. Dentistry Today has a robust infrastructure including our website, a terrific app, and what I would call “push” information.
Also, as many people know, one of my personal strengths is one-on-one conversations. I have done countless videos with the help of our own Director of Content and Digital Sales Matt Goldfinger as well as Prepress Manager Joe Blakely and hope to create more content that way. There is also an opportunity for podcasts, webinars, and other visual media not only by me but many of the people in the dental profession. I like them short and to the point, which was obvious during my Ten@10 video series earlier in the year.
Q: You still practice as well. How does that regular contact with patients influence your work as an editor?
A: I would not be able to do any of this without my patients. Almost all of my writings are based on my own practice experiences. People sit in my chair and always look around the room and ask what new gizmo or process I will be working with. I document most of my work with photos—even the simplest of cases. The patients always ask me if I will be showing their teeth in one of my lectures or articles and then give me permission. On their next visits, they will ask where in the world were their teeth being shown. They love to travel vicariously with me.
And of course, as I said, it gives me a hands-on ability to evaluate a submission to Dentistry Today.
Q: Do you have anything else you would like to add about your new role or about the state of the profession?
A: I have been asked many times by my friends, “Why are you doing this now? Why don’t you slow down?” My answer is simple. I am still enthusiastic about what I do in the dental practice as well as running around looking for information. For some reason, I feel a responsibility to share my information with everyone who will listen. At least right now, my candle is burning bright.