Into and Out of the Mouths of Babes is a book about inspiration, humor, hope and successes in unexpected places. It is a memoire of an experienced pediatric dentist that spans the time between his own first visit with a dentist to his long career as a pediatric dentist, professional speaker and creator of a humanitarian dental project that provides comprehensive care for hundreds of children in Mexico.
While the book is built around dentistry, the largest part of the book is about the funny, sweet, touching and sometimes tearful interactions with patients and their parents. While many may consider the choice of pediatric dentistry to be an odd, if not terrible one, the reality of dealing with children in the dental setting is usually the opposite. They are far better patients than many adults.
The true stories in this book are included in professional lectures at major dental meetings in the United States and internationally. They always result in hearty responses, which is a part of my reason to believe why they would be popular for a broader audience. The book is about human nature and human interaction. While I was watching the PBS remake of All Creatures Great and Small, it struck me that James Herriott's books dealt with his treatment of animals and their owners. While it was built around his professional experiences, the appeal came from his descriptions of the animals and the people who owned them. I believe people also like stories about children and families. My hope and goal are that this book will paint a very personal picture of the dental profession, which is rarely treated well by Hollywood or comedians.
As a pediatric dentist for 47 years, a speaker for 27 and a volunteer in Mexico for 16, my experiences could fill a book and now that has become a reality. From successful appointments with special needs children to learning Spanish to gifts, pictures and strange pronunciations of Dr. Psaltis's name, the core of this book is all about how simple human contact can be the best form of care. Pediatric dentists are always doing two things simultaneously—treating teeth and caring for children. As the book makes clear, it is the latter that makes the specialty what it is.
The legacy of all pediatric dentists is not the fillings they placed. Many of them will end up under a pillow with the teeth that held them. The best accomplishment by pediatric dentists is always about watching children succeed in a place where their parents think they cannot. They lay the groundwork for a lifetime of oral health by helping children realize a dental office is both a safe place and a place they will continue to go for a lifetime. Those experiences can be very satisfying as well as fun, emotional and memorable. They are also the core of this book.