What explains the extraordinary success our 40 Under 40 dentists have achieved at such a relatively young age? More than you might think.

FOR 11 YEARS, we’ve proudly lauded some of the top young dental talent in America, both generalists and specialists, via our annual 40 Under 40. One of the most frequently asked questions we get about the doctors on our lists: What’s their recipe for success? This is something we want to answer once and for all, especially for young up-and-comers who want to fumble less and emulate more.
Is hard work the reason they’ve achieved so much? Hard work is a given, but hardly a guarantee. Passion? Of course, but again, we can all point to people whose love of their profession doesn’t translate into uncontroverted achievement. Attitude? Certainly positivity trumps negativity any day and is far more sustainable over the long term. Mentors? Given that many feel dental school still doesn’t adequately prepare young doctors for the real world, a solid support system can be invaluable.

With all that in mind, then, we asked ourselves: Where do all these key elements intersect? Looking back on more than a decade’s worth of honorees, plus countless follow-ups over the years, we think it comes down to one thing.

Giving back.

Don’t believe us? Visit IncisalEdgeMagazine.com and look at our past honorees. All of them—yes, all—were more active than average when it comes to philanthropy. Some talked openly and enthusiastically about their charitable endeavors in the hope of inspiring their colleagues. Others’ efforts have been more personal in nature, and as such we gave them a measure of privacy. Yet over 11 years, giving back has been more of a constant than anything else.

We can only speculate as to why. However, as the only dental magazine that continually tracks the nation’s top practitioners, we feel we can offer some insight. True hard work, genuine passion and relentless positivity don’t quit at the office door. Our 40 Under 40 exemplify this in the way they live and breathe dentistry with the same generous spirit at work and when they’re providing services and treatment pro bono. Perhaps because philanthropy attracts the most driven practitioners, it’s no wonder that men­toring and networking opportunities are especially fulfilling. Great mentors ensure that we grow up faster and smarter as well as wiser—a pretty solid recipe for success if we’ve seen one.

Finally—and this cannot be ignored—a signifi­cant percentage of our honorees throughout the last decade-plus have been especially active in giving back through the nonprofit Dental Lifeline Network (dentallifeline.org), which is dedicated to treating disabled, elderly and mentally fragile patients. When so many doctors share the same dedication, it’s worth noting, and we’ve done so in this year’s feature, which begins on page 37. We heartily endorse the Dental Lifeline Network as a challenging but equally rewarding opportunity for doing more good and contributing to your professional development along the way.

Congratulations to this year’s 40 Under 40. Despite the rigors of school, the difficulties of practice and the vagaries of a pandemic, you’ve come through it all undaunted, and with an undiminished passion for giving that has fueled your rise.