THE HIGHER IDEAL IN DENTISTRY.
Steadily, but surely, making its impress on the formidable rocks of time: the re¬
sults of conservative higher ideals in the practice of dentistry must inevitably force
the thinking and conscientious aspirant for the Degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery to
think, time has proven nothing more conclusive than that strict adherence to a chosen
line of methods, close observance of particular nicety of detail, the near as possible the
approximation of nature in performing an operation, holds the essentials of success for
To-day men are living in the midst of transient things. By necessity the mind
is occupied with the affairs of the present. Should one stop here content with the
present methods, or should he have set before him a vision, an ideal, a perfection to
which he must strive to attain? Necessarily, one is compelled to deal with material
things, yet it is possible for him to have set before him something which is immaterial,
that can be considered and used in the working out to its final culmination the one
The difference between the high-minded man, one with this larger thought, and
the ordinal'}' dentist, lies chief!}' in this: the one knows beforehand what he intends to
do, the other works without any plan. The one has studied beauty till he can see it in
perspective, the other only knows it when it is presented to him. The former, having
an ideal, produces it with unerring skill, the latter, having no conception to guide him,
only brings out and actuates deformity.
There once was a time, when the profession was in its period of development into
one of the greater professions, when all a young man had to do to become a full-fledged
dentist was to apprentice himself in the office of some eminent practitioner and serve in
the capacity of assistant till declared by him to be competent to begin for himself.
Under this regime many good and efficient men were developed, yet, as a whole, all
lacked the higher essentials that competent and intelligent practice demands.
To-day a voting man wanting to make the practice of dentistry his life work, has
before him a regular and svstematic course, covering a period of three years, a course
to which he must apply himself in earnest study before he can obtain his degree. The
college of to-day, in addition to teaching the branches, which embrace the essentials of
a necessary working knowledge, have jurisprudence and ethics, which broaden and
amplify the scope of conception, and tends toward the cultivation of a higher order of
dental standards. The one thing most necessary for the student is the full compre¬
hension of a vision splendid, the higher order of an ideal standard, in the significance
of its perfect entirety.
There is a moment of profound discouragement which succeeds to prolonged ef¬
fort; when the labor which has become a habit having ceased, we miss the sustaining
sense of its companionship and stand with a feeling of strangeness and embarrass¬
ment before the abrupt and naked result. Then shall we quit here? The man with
the higher ideal, the golden rule of better accomplishment as the earnest aim of his life
will not succumb to the strenuous and depressing influence of a stringent rule. He
will lav fresh foundations among the ruins of decayed causes and begin again with the
purpose to achieve.
Then, what is this ideal in the full import of its visual surroundings? It should
be the profound secret purpose of his life, the master}' of abnormal environmental con-
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