After the Day

After the Day’s Work is Done

Cogitations

By  C. M. Quillen, D.D.S.

                I have been thinking considerably and perhaps dreaming a little during these last two hours, sitting there before my fire. It is cold out, an icy wind is tearing around the house and the warmth emanating from the cheery glow upon my heart is a most glad and reassuring thing.

During the interim of time I have thought of many things, rambling from Pierre Fauchard’s time and the progress of Dentistry on up to the present day. I saw the bold, strong face of Chapin A. Harris looking out at me and sensed the strength and far seeing vision of the man as he looked out beyond his horizon and caught a glimpse of the Profession’s far away sun-lit field. He was not doubt scoffed at by the incredulous and less wiser men of his day as he imparted his ideas and ideals to other men, and, too, the word profit might have been often hurled at him by some of those burdened down with ideals or something else but stubbornly on his way he went and better trained Dentists the result of what he did.

I have also pondered this last thought, often at times other than tonight, wondering if the commercial instinct of profit making intrigued these men of early days as other schools began to arise or whether it was the initiative impulse of man which sent him on to better others and the profession of Dentistry of which he was part through the teaching of knowledge and of the principles he knew toward the helping of them in these schools. Methinks, the wise men of these day saw this vision, too, of the wonderful and perfect Adonis, the baby Harris was now feeding would grow into if given food. They gave too, of what they had and knew and free-heartedly, I think, in the initiation toward reality of this dream of long ago rather than with the thought uppermost in their minds of monetary gain.

And Profit or working for gain comes in right here for its share of thought in trying to gauge the correct analysis of it and place the word in its true light. It can be a most confusing word indeed. It can be a most friendly word of warmth and then again it can run riot in virulence and despicable smallness in another meaning of it, a dangerous word to monkey with. The intonation and inflection of the voice even in speaking it on occasions might make a change in the construing of its view point trampling ideals in to the dust and too, often a boomerang coming back to slap the one in the face who hurls it. One has to watch this word.

“You Boys have come a long way since I left you.” It startled me and I suddenly blinked my eyes. Am I dreaming this or is it him, the immortal out into the light? Is it he saying this to me, this man who often worked far into the nights and often into the dawns of the new approaching days, so I have heard of him, in his laboring on to remove a few of the difficulties which he saw and which obsessed him to get out of the way of Dentistry’s progress ahead, as he trod its path before our time?

And the slightly chiding look in his eyes. “The depression scared you Boys, a little bit didn’t it, grew a little afraid of yourselves and lost confidence, didn’t you?”

I look up now. No! It is something else. He is not exactly looking my way nor does he seem to be rebuking me as his gaze seems to be far away and too, not hindered by bounds. It seems to grow into a vast encompassing thing not confined to the room in which I sit nor do the four walls seem to hem it in.

“Financial gloom breeds pessimism and lack of confidence. One loses faith in self and what he is doing. Also in his fellow man. He doesn’t know what to think about him.” An encouraging smile then. “There is nothing wrong. Dentistry is alright and so are its men.”

A flicker! Or was it the crack of the embrace upon the hearth? A sudden flash! Is he gone? No! Is that a frown? I blink stupidly. What is that he is holding in his hand? One of those proprietary journals we are hearing so much about. Is it? No! But is it? Looks like one.

“Are they alright. What is wrong with—-”

I realize now that probably I did not ask him this Perhaps, I did not speak at all on this particular instance as he stood there apparently and as if thoughtfully scanning its contents. My throat felt unaccountably dry and I remember in my haziness that I was ineffectually trying to swallow. He glanced up now and one again that far away unfathomable look cam into his yes.

New Ideas Can’t be Stifled

“No one should ever bar anything which might help. There is too much work to do ahead and nothing should be allowed to disturb those who might have something to give or a story to tell for there is something profitable which can be learned from any thought or act of man whether it be good or whether it be bad.”

Gone! I sensed it rather than felt it of swallowing now and trying to turn my head in the numb lethargy which seemed to grip me as the door slammed or was it the howl of the wind or the sudden opening of this other revealing this other view within.

And I wasn’t expecting this last. It appeared utterly nonsensical this view and the smiles of those looking it over with an apparent rapturous survey of it and Chapin A. Harris casting astounded glances here and there about him in hi survey of this common place every day view of the modern Dental Office of today. What is the matter with him? The Boys all work with tools like these nowadays.

“A long way,” I thought I heard him distinctly say. “A long way since my time, a long way on the road ahead.”

And Schools. His leonine head lifts suddenly. He seems to be deeply interested here. “Schools  –” the sober mien on his brow lightens. “They too, have gone a long way. Farther than we dreamed —” He smiles softly. “The schools of today.”

And that fellow over there. What is the matter with Paul Revere wearing that heavy looking frown that way, as he place this equally as heavy and bunglesome looking set of teeth, a terrible looking outfit if judged with the standards of today, but the best then of the times, and then with a deepening of the frown as he surveys them now in the mouth of the red headed man? And then the sudden startled jump of him and the glad, at first disbelieving look which gives way to credulous reality as he surveys this set of teeth he had pounced upon as it were, and the very first moment he had spied them laying there, this modern artificial set of teeth we have available for Dental Art of the present time, “Why couldn’t we have something like these?”

Samuel S. White is close by. And the sunshine of successful reality gleams forth for the porcelain tooth. No more is it a nebulous or frustrated dream.

Suppose, too, we dispense with the narrating of the turmoil, the indefagitable labor and perhaps the years of frustrated effort he might have endured. It doesn’t make very good reading anyway and one had rather consider profit as a more pleasant thought than one of arduous before an idea will sometimes behave and crystallize into the real “McCoy”, but whether so or not or whether this man worked stubbornly on with the though of profit in the forefront or background of his mind, he gave to us in concrete reality the first successful artificial tooth, to grow in to the almost perfect one of today.

A profit was made and success with further progress. The rosy hue, Buoyant and clean for worthwhile things whether for the progress of Dentistry or anything else and filling the needs of Dentists with the near perfection of the modern Dental Office of today. And of course this has to be and must be for if it is not the initiative impulse inherent to man and to the men who are so gifted to be stirred with it and conceive worthwhile things and make a success of them must have monetary gain incorporated within or their ideas would die aborning with them. No business can make the grade without this. No profession can survive nor could the Dental profession for the Dentist is not a rich man.

True, and also, no one would deny this fact either. A great many of our Dentists would labor diligently and free gratis, accepting the challenge of combat for the love of it, to work in this field the ultimate in creative and most useful of arts as it allows him the ultimate initiative to play in the constant call upon his adeptness and creative ability on each and every operation he may perform or do since each and every one is in a way dissimilar and different from all the rest with each one done an individual complexity entirely its own but the Dentist has to buy his bread and butter too, along with the working out of these multitudinous problems which beset his field. He has to eat to live and his Kiddies have to be fed. Thus he has to make a profit if he survives regardless of idealistic or altruistic dreams or what have you to take the place of it.

Dentistry Needs Encouragement

Too, on account of the complexities of his profession and the constantly arising difficulties, with its multitudinous phases, he encounters in practicing it the Dentist needs all the help he can get. He needs the best of equipment he can afford to buy and all the knowledge of the principles of practice he can possibly acquire to more successfully cope with it. Helpful things should never in any way be denied him and encouragement give for a greater stir of impetus to the initiative impulse of those who might have something to give or a story to tell.

The principles of practice are not rote or exactly stable today. They are constantly changing and tomorrow some of them out moded again. And Dentistry grows the manufacturers to fill the need must be as constantly bringing out the new appliances to fill it, and a most close correlation between the Manufacturer and the Dentist develops, an interdependence between the two, almost personal, unique and different than of any other art or business. And for the Dentist a voluminity of unknown principles to be learned if he keeps abreast of the tide onward.

Too, in the eruption of new things, new modes and new methods of practice constantly being developed and brought forward for improvements in the progress of Dental Art as time moves onward it is a wide open field to give rise to credulity and a belief of merit rather than of disbelief in an untried thing or method or new mode of practice while it is being proved. Thus the Dental profession could most readily believe an incredulous advertisement concerning something new as well as having foisted upon them, unknowingly, an untruthful advertisement by an unscrupulous manufacturer. Still, we should never forget the fact that the manufacturers are in the whole men of honor and the equalization factor relative to good and bad things. The worthwhile ones will survive. The bad will not repeat.

Dentists are Intelligent Thinkers

This equalization factor, too, will also stand if past history is a criterion for the success of good and bad things. Personally, I have great faith in it, and in the Dentist being a sensible man and able to judge for himself, more or so perhaps, than other groups of men. He is an educated man, the highest to the most lowly a college man, gifted with a great deal of common sense and trained in adeptness and creative ability beyond par, which makes of him a thinking man. And this coupled with the great throng of manufacturers who are honest men will simplify good or bad Dental Products or other things and be a guiding hand to keep them right and worthwhile. Neither do I feel that the Dentist should ever lose his confidence in this or ever become alarmed at a hint of off shade or unsteadiness relative to advertising which some might recklessly fling out into the ether to impress us that par of it might be this way. If such should be the case in some instances, these will naturally fail if not good as all the flowery and the most astounding and audacious claims for an article be it a piece of merchandise or a pill can never make it a success if it should be bad.

The Dental Manufacturers also could do a great good as well as being to help to themselves and the Dentists throughout the land. They could set up a board and a code of ethics for their advertising programs and the true ones carry their approval seal thus marking or throwing the rotten apples our of the barrel if found and dispelling, fear in the Dentist’s mind if one should be disturbed over what to buy.

In the learning of new knowledge and new principles of practice the Dentist as they occur, to keep up to date, must acquire them somewhere and the sources for him to get them are usually through clinics and papers at his Association Meetings, through post graduate courses and post graduate clinics which are at times expensive; through courses and clinics sometimes given by manufacturers as well as other interests and through his reading of the Dental Journals where the information is relayed to him. The association magazines do this last as well as the independent or privately owned journals at present.

Trade Journals. I am thinking of them too, and of the ones if a situation should develop to leave them uncontrolled, as I sit here before my fire tonight contemplating my seventeen years in the practice of Dentistry and practically all of these as a member of my Association. I believe in my Dental Association and believe that all ethical men should be members of the organization for in unity sameness and all together for a common cause which is good for a fellow as he mingles absorbing its atmosphere and wisdomic help from others. Here too, he meets old friends and makes new ones.

And the thirty thousand or more Dentists who do now belong the Dental Associations. I, also, cannot help but think of them, too, and feel as no doubt, do many others that they should belong and if they were, it would of course, too fulfill an idealistic dream. But they do not and their reading material pertaining to the Dental Field is confined to the proprietary or independent journals as they do not receive the association magazines. Will it help then any if these are barred or prohibited to them?

This question of course is senseless, as nonsensical perhaps, as asking if night follows day as there are good things to be found in these magazines and of aid to all Dentists including the association men. We all need help, all the knowledge technical, economical, nutritional or otherwise that we can possibly acquire for the betterment of ourselves. Nor and curiously, too, perhaps this thought considering the present trend of bugaboos erupting themselves into our times, I as well as a good many other Dentists no doubt, are considering the fact that we haven’t enough magazines in the field today.

Is Dental Journalism Adequate?

Am wondering too, about the Association magazines. Would they be able to publish all the magazine writings? Could they do this and would they be financially able to exchange State Journals to other members of the National Association who would have only the American Journal and their own state journal to read if we didn’t have the independent magazines? Would there be extra fees for them and would they be technical in scope or grow that way into a monotonous sameness of it or the monotonous sameness of other phases or something else under one group control of policy or would they publish other worthwhile articles and the variety we have today under the wise guidance of the experience Editors who rule the various editorial policies of them? And, what would be done with these lonesome Non-Association men of the profession who would have nothing pertaining to their field to read?

And reaching the last. I am wondering why changes should be in the set up of our present or a different conception toward control from the wide open sway of disseminating and distributing knowledge which has been heretofore the history of Dentistry’s progress to date and incidentally the “Open Sesame” which has made it the great profession is it today? Would it be much ado about nothing or why should anyone ever wish to inhibit the thought or act of any man who might have something to give or something to say to help it and underlying superficiality and getting down to the bare bone of it to reach the primeval reflex or the first impulse to stir one what is the root or basis of it that would stir one or a group to start something of this kind of to harbor a thought that the traditional way of letting Dentistry grow in its unfenced pasture field and without hedged in boundary lines was not the right way for it to sail on down the line? Have we grown up or has Dentistry grown big enough to dispense with anything or everything except controlled knowledge by one or a group of minds or what would it be to induce a situation of this kind?

Would it be fear? Fear of what and fear of whom? This is a bad little word, fear is, and I realize that I should not be promiscuous with it as he is a two sided rascal, and treacherous, and it is hard to tell what he might do. Also am not using it here but it is probably one of the first if not the primeval instinct of man. It will also make one nearsighted. He will lose sense of values, of his faith in the goodness of worthwhile things, in himself and his fellow man as well as in what he is or to him. In other words the one obsessed with fear thinks everything is rotten. He forgets the good and sees only the bad.

And fear again. I suddenly jumped as I sensed a cold clasp around my neck and the scare heads across my Evening paper which had disturbed me as I read, abruptly now crossed my vision and I remember shivering hugely in the throes of this clammy tattoo running up and down my spine. Pictures of men marching, Dictatorships and folks who lived under them and who thought and acted only through the command of some one. Whether it be constructive thought or whether t be bad man is not allowed to express himself under a regime of this kind.

We have always been a free people, free of thought and free of speech to express ourselves. We have never been oppressed nor has the profession of Dentistry been hampered on its way to the wonderful thing it is today. Its men have always let well enough alone until with wisdomic sagacity they have found through trial and error something better to take its place. Nor have they tried in any way to still the initiative impulse inherent in its men.

And now! Huh! Yes, huh! I caught myself smiling, yes  smiling now, after a bit, as I turn over in bed. It was really a humorous thing and my smile broadens here in the dark just as big or more so, as it might have had in the brightest of a sun shiny day. That scare head when I jumped with that cold clasp around my neck and the fear and shivering which I had is all gone now. It was the icy tentacles of the wind slipping in across my window sill as the fire upon my hearth had gone out. But the bed in warming up and my fee are warming up too. Everything is alright. The profession of Dentistry is alright, Its high standard are alright. And its men. They are O. K. and those that are not smiling now, will get their sense of humor back and go back to work again, smiling at little things which might have been done or said, forget them or repeal them and let Dentistry go on its smiling way with a helping hand from everyone who can, the big man and the little man, the college professor and the rank and file, the one with the high hat and the one who wears a cap and when we lay the sceptre down to the generation following us we can do it without a blot of the tradition of it, that we in no way have tried to hinder or in any way tried to stop the initiative impulse inherent to man for its success. And if we do we will have helped it along on its journey and left it a little better perhaps, than when we entered in for the profession of Dentistry and the future growth of it is really and truly a virgin field for any one who might like to work in it.

Reynolds Arcade Bldg.,

Bristol, Va.