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Step Out of Your Comfort Zone with Dr. Joe McEnhill

Dr. Joe McEnhill sort of fell into dentistry. As a student in Belfast, he was torn between medicine and dentistry. But, he was meant to be a dentist. After all, his sister and both of his brothers are also dentists.

He'll jokingly tell you he's the best of them because he has the most letters after his name. We think he's one of the best because of his hunger for knowledge and skills as a surgical dentist.

Yes, dental surgery can be intimidating. Do you remember how many teeth you extracted in dental school? You aren't alone — we can count how many we practiced extractions on one hand. That's why Dr. McEnhill recommends starting small and simple to build your confidence. The first steps he took into dental surgery were removing wisdom teeth and fixing fractured jaws.

Starting with the basics will give you the foundation you need to build a robust set of skills. Then, build a portfolio gradually and play to your strengths and the needs of your patients. Dr. McEnhill discusses how owning a dental practice in a small town impacted his desire to learn new skills. He advises starting with techniques and practices you can fit into your schedule and space. But when your patients have to wait weeks or even months out for referral appointments, learning how to do minor surgeries for their sake can make a world of difference.

To get dentists comfortable with the surgery side of things, Dr. McEnhill is developing his own dental surgery courses for dentists —The Dental Speakeasy. These video courses come with a hands-on perspective to give dentists a chance to hone basic surgical skills. These courses are for dentists who sometimes get stuck with an ornery tooth that just won't come out. Surgical skills can give you what you need to step back and take a new approach.

Dr. McEnhill offers advice on how to take that leap and the steps he's taking himself to get over the hurdles of imposter syndrome. Some of us will have to step out of our comfort zones if we want to try our hand at dental surgery, but it's never too late to learn something new.

In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • What it was like to grow up in Northern Ireland 2:00

  • How to seize surgery training opportunities in your dental career 11:39

  • Ways dental education has changed after COVID-19 14:17

  • How working in small towns motivated Dr. McEnhill to develop his skills 28:35

  • The art of “speaking easy” to your patients about dental surgeries 39:50

  • Where to sign up for Dr. McEnhill’s training courses 43:52

Some Questions We Ask:

  • How many people in Dr. McEnhill’s family are dentists? 8:58

  • Where can dentists find hands-on video courses to learn surgical skills? 17:50

  • What does Dr. McEnhill mean when he says “conducting” dentistry? 22:20

  • How can we push ourselves out of our comfort zones? 34:40

  • What is Dr. McEnhill doing next to step out of his comfort zone? 37:58

  • What dental slang does Dr. McEnhill use most often? 45:54


Read Dr. McEnhill’s article in The New Dentist: “This Will Feel Like I’m Ripping Your Head Off”

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