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2 Very Powerful Ideas for Better Work/Life Balance as a Dentist


Dr. Bill Robbins  – General Dentist in San Antonio, Texas that has a “very rich life” that has still had his fair share of challenges. He has published over 80 articles, abstracts, and chapters on a wide range of dental subjects and has coauthored a textbook, Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry – A Contemporary Approach. He recently co-authored a new textbook, Global Diagnosis – A New Vision of Dental Diagnosis and Treatment Planning.


Global Diagnosis Study Club –  (Meeting almost every Friday from 9-11 am EST)

Dr. Kevin Groth  – General Dentist in Detroit, Michigan who considers both Kirk and Dr. Robbins as mentors as leaders that have guided his life over the past number of months during these COVID challenges. His favorite part of being a dentist is that every day and every patient is different.


The “WHY” in the conversation is “about the journey”. Not about where you end up at the end but how you get there. The “Pankey Cross” involves a Center that indicates “Happiness” with arms on the cross that say: Love, Work, Play, and Worship. The more you can live your life in balance with these 4 concepts, the more happiness you can enjoy.

The pathway we take may not always be the pathway we originally planned on taking, but that doesn’t mean it is the wrong path. As we go through the journey, we may find that our original plans were not in our best interest. But be sure that as the journey goes on, you don’t forget the things that need to be considered the most important. As Dr. Robbins was receiving a major award, he discusses the moment of realizing his journey had led him to be a highly respected and amazing dentist and teacher, but a lousy husband and father – which is one of the most important moments in his life. He decided to take off a half a day off to be with his family. When he did that one thing, it completely changed the dynamic as his wife was able to see he was making a sacrifice to set his priorities in order. His happiness now is not associated with the successes of his practice but how he lives his life.

The left brain is the Executive part of the brain that makes the decisions and helps us to know where and what to do while the right brain is the Intuitive side of the brain or the “feeling side”. Dr. Robbins discusses how the shutting down of the left side of the brain can allow for the kind and blissful right side of the brain to show through.

You need to be in tune enough to recognize those special times that arise and “be there” when those moments happen. Be aware enough to understand that when you say “yes” to something, it means you are saying “no” to something else.


– We were created to be happy.

– If you are a young dentist and are involved in a lot of debt, living your life in balance is difficult to do and may not be appropriate as we go through certain passages in our lives and we have to sacrifice in some areas.

– If you look at 100 dentists in the US, 2% are masters, 8% are adept, 36% are students, and 54% are indifferent.

– The happiest person I know is my dog Lulu who is happy all the time.

– “You owe it to yourself to be the absolute best dentist you can be” was the old guidance. Although that still holds somewhat true, the guidance is now “Being a good dentist is one part of a great big picture”.

– Dentistry is important but it may not be that important, but Family is WAY important!

– If you want to talk about balance, the Family has to be a top priority.

– If you default to your “normal life” it is going to be a left brain life. Unless you do something to keep that from happening, that is your default.

– Have some way in your life to pay attention to your right brain and listen to it. It can only function in the present time.

– Stay out of the future and live in the moment.

– “I make the rules, I can change this, I control this…”

– Simplicity is not easy. It is a constant battle. Complexity is the enemy.

– There are some liabilities with the drive that you have. Having a great family and a great business competes for time, energy and resources. You need to be your own referee to understand what is going on.

– With technology, it is even harder to “be present”.

– It’s not so much what you say, but what you do.

– We need to give our energy to the things that matter most.

– You learn by continuation and accountability


(5:10) – The Pankey Cross

(6:45) – The Breakdown of Dentists

(16:46) – The Issue of Happiness

(18:42) – Jill Bolte Taylor (Neuroscientist) and how her stroke allowed her to see the way the brain can guide your happiness. Book: “My Stroke of Insight – A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey”.



(34:33) – The Concept of Simplicity

(40:38) – The Ability to Say “No”

(50:50) – Global Diagnosis Education


J. William Robbins, D.D.S., MA., maintains a full-time private practice and is Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School. He graduated from the University of Tennessee Dental School in 1973. He completed a rotating internship at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas and a 2-year General Practice Residency at the V.A. Hospital in San Diego, California. Dr. Robbins has published over 80 articles, abstracts, and chapters on a wide range of dental subjects and has lectured in the United States , Canada, Mexico, South American, Europe, Middle East and Africa. He coauthored a textbook, Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry – A Contemporary Approach, which is published by Quintessence, and is in its 4th edition. He recently co-authored a new textbook, Global Diagnosis – A New Vision of Dental Diagnosis and Treatment Planning, which is also published by Quintessence.

He has won several awards including the Presidential Teaching Award at the University of Texas Health Science Center, the 2002 Texas Dentist of the Year Award, the 2003 Honorary Thaddeus V. Weclew Fellowship Award from the Academy of General Dentistry, the 2010 Saul Schluger Award given by the Seattle Study Club, the Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry 2015 President’s Award, and the 2016 Academy of Operative Dentistry Award of Excellence. He is a diplomat of the American Board of General Dentistry. He is past president of the American Board of General Dentistry, the Academy of Operative Dentistry, the Southwest Academy of Restorative Dentistry, and the American Academy of Restorative Dentistry.

“I am a third generation dentist; my grandfather, father and I have been practicing dentistry for more than 100 years. My grandfather used a foot powered drill to do rudimentary fillings. My father primarily did extractions, dentures, and fillings. Today, my emphasis is on restoring teeth with maximum function and aesthetics. Much has changed in those 100 years and I am grateful to be practicing today. My family is the richest part of my life. I have 2 daughters, 1 son (who is in dental school), 1 foster son, and 5 grandchildren. I am proud of each of them and all they have accomplished. The most important family member is my wife and life partner of 40 years.”


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