What are your New Year’s resolutions?

Dentists share their hopes, motivations for 2024


The arrival of a new year leads to many promises of lifestyle changes: More exercise. Save money. Lay off the sweets.

For dentists, the same vows are made, but are not limited to just those. The ever-changing nature of the profession carries with it demands to continue delivering optimal care for all patients while still looking for ways to improve on the great work they do every day of the year.

The ADA News asked dentists from across the nation what their professional resolutions for 2024 were, and the answers showed how much professional goals and personal hopes are intertwined – all with eyes on the betterment of the patient.

Emma J. Guzman, D.D.S., New York City
My resolution for 2024 is that my professional career will look much different than what is has looked like in the past. I am going through a transformation and focusing on what truly makes me happy and makes a difference outside of clinical dentistry. I am taking the steps now to increase my involvement in organized dentistry through my roles in the 2nd District Dental Society. I am going on a dental mission trip to Jamaica in January with the Jah Jah Foundation, starting off the year with service, and I plan to continue to immerse myself in service work, as I have always been passionate about it. I also plan to teach and speak professionally. 2024 is going to look very different, and I look forward to the professional change. 

Steve Carstensen, D.D.S., Bellevue, Washington
In 2024, my resolution is to help more people breathe better every night. How I plan to make this difference is to encourage dentists, physicians, physical therapists, speech pathologists and others to find ways to be part of the breathing solution. The more health care professionals know about breathing problems, the more impact we can all have on community health.

Margaret S. Gingrich D.D.S., Big Rapids, Michigan
Find an associate and hygienist; learn to say no when prioritizing my needs versus the needs of others; continue learning and implementing new technologies to keep up with the fast-paced growth of dentistry; using laser for more applications like frenectomies; and get the staff to agree on one office temperature.

Hal S. Jeter, D.D.S., South Point, Ohio
My New Year’s resolutions for 2024 are to continue to pursue excellence, share what I’ve experienced with others and strive to make a bigger contribution to the lives around me. This includes pouring more of myself into my family — my wife, my children and my beautiful granddaughters. At the end of the day, my legacy in them is the most essential.

Jennifer A. Keegan, D.M.D., Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma
My 2024 resolutions include working to increase efficiency while maintaining excellent dental care, as well as working to improve on third molar extractions and endodontics. I also want to strive to be excellent at explaining dentistry so that my patients are educated and informed. As a captain in the Air Force, I aim to work hard to be a respected and approachable leader to my fellow airmen and coworkers. Doing so would help us to work as a team to accomplish our mission of providing dentally ready military men and women who are safe to deploy.

Ansley H. Depp, D.M.D., Highland Heights, Kentucky
For 2024, I have a couple of new resolutions.  After taking on a new role at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry as ethics course director, I want to continue to help this new generation of dentists see all of dentistry through an ethical lens. The ADA has a great opportunity to emphasize their Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct with the students and new dentists. It's a joy and privilege to work with the next generation of dentists to help them understand the positive impact we can have on each patient and the responsibility we have to impact patients and communities positively. My second resolution is simple. I want to appreciate the positivity in each day.  After my Dental Dilemmas podcast interview with ArNelle Wright, D.M.D., I realized that I needed to try to be my best self each day, no matter what the day brings. So, I'm going to focus on positivity not only in my dental career but my daily endeavors for next year. 

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