'There is life after dentistry': 1 executive's advice to future dentists

Matt Carlston, DMD, a practicing dentist and vice president of marketing and partner recruitment for Lakewood, Colo.-based Comfort Dental, connected with Becker's on Aug. 11 to discuss advice he would give to new dentists and more.

Comfort Dental is a network of ownership-based practices.

Editor's note: Responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Question: What led you to choose dentistry as a career?

Dr. Matt Carlston: I believe initially I was drawn to those courses while attending Utah State University. I had several neighbors and friends whose parents were dentists. What really put me into the career path was a discussion that I heard as an impressionable 22-year-old. I heard a dentist speaking about an island that he had purchased! I thought that any profession where I can buy an island is a profession for me. I later learned that his family was very wealthy. I'm still trying to buy my island.

Q: What is your favorite activity to do outside of dentistry?

MC: It sounds cliche, but time with my family is most important. I recently had two boys graduate from high school. We planned around their activities. They were active in basketball, football and baseball. It was a joy supporting them and watching them excel. I still spend as much time with my family as possible or as they will allow. Currently, my role within Comfort Dental occupies much of my time, whether it is traveling to various dental schools to recruit, visiting Comfort Dental offices or promoting Comfort Dental in the community. We also try to spend time on water. We love water and are grateful for any time we get on the lake.

Q: How do you wind down after a long day?

MC: Winding down is hard at times. It seems like there is always something to do. Watching a game of the Colorado Rockies or Utah Jazz is one way that I can relax after work. My dog, Rudy, also helps me come back home mentally after a long day.

Q: What advice would you give to dentists just starting in their career?

MC: Work hard. Take advantage of every opportunity they can to learn while in the office. I would also try and help them realize that there is life after dentistry and they need to prepare for that from day one. Begin planning for the future. Invest in themselves. Don't limit their financial growth by remaining in a professional situation that doesn't allow them to have growth.

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