Here is Michael visiting Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. One of his favorite hobbies is sitting back and watching a baseball game. One of his goals in life is to tour or watch a game in every baseball stadium across the country. Currently he has visited 15 out of 30 stadiums.

Dental Economics Advisory Board profile: Michael Ray Johnston II, BASDH, RDH

Sept. 24, 2023
Our editorial board helps us provide the latest and greatest information to our readers. Here, we visit with Michael Ray Johnston II, BASDH, RDH.

Who has been the most influential mentor in your career?

I had one of the most influential mentors when I was a hygienist newly out of school. I worked with a dentist in a pediatric office, where we ran three restorative columns as well as two prophy chairs. We added in emergency appointments daily. This pediatric dentist had been a didactic and clinical instructor at a dental school, so he had a passion for knowledge and enjoyed sharing it. In passing, he would often ask clinical questions like, “What is the maximum amount of lidocaine with epinephrine 1:100,000 a 60-pound child can have?” He would find little quizzes that made me think and kept me on my toes. Working with him was an amazing introduction to the dental field, because I was able to put the knowledge I had learned during school into clinical practice. I worked with this dentist for about two years, and he continued asking me quiz questions to keep me thinking. This led to my desire to always be learning more about dentistry.

What’s your best advice for keeping the morale of your team up?

Keeping office morale up can be challenging. It’s important to have a good relationship with each of your employees. Make it a point to know something about each of them, so you can connect on something other than dentistry. Learn how they like to be praised or rewarded. Doing little things on a weekly basis (giving praise, writing a thank-you note, or rewarding with a coffee) are great opportunities to show your appreciation. Demonstrating your respect and thankfulness for them in the way they want to be appreciated will keep team morale high.

How do you maintain the best work/life balance?

Having great work/life balance goes a long way in keeping up personal wellness. It’s important to learn about balance early in your career. When new to dentistry, we can often get caught up in working hard, paying off large debt, and learning the ropes on running an office … and this can lead to burnout after a few years. Take the opportunity to do what you love in your downtime. Plan for vacations and take them. Find ways to take a mental and physical break from work and recharge, so you can continue to provide the best care for your patients. Plan accordingly for your time off, find a friend who can cover your appointments and take your calls while you’re out, so you can enjoy your time off without having to stress about work.

What are your favorite podcasts?

I enjoy listening to The Dental Hacks and A Tale of Two Hygienists. Dental Hacks covers a lot of hot and current topics, and they put their personal spin on things, which can be quite funny. They have a unique way of sharing their information through dental panels and sharing honest thoughts we can all relate to. A Tale of Two Hygienists is an extremely informative podcast that covers a huge range of topics. The hosts have a unique way of connecting with their guests, and the interviews feel like friends talking about things they love. Podcast guests range from students to long-standing dental professionals. The hosts find experts on specific topics that capture the audience’s attention.

How can we decide which mission trip is the right one?

There are so many opportunities to share our profession around the world, not just in our own offices. Deciding which opportunity to invest in can be the challenge. It’s important to find one that captures your heart. When you serve, it will give you a joy that can’t be explained in words. Be careful, though, because it’s easy to overinvest yourself in too many different directions. You could donate supplies one year, take time off to provide dental care to others, or give a financial scholarship to a staff member for them to go on a trip. There are any number of ways you can participate in mission trips. You could choose one with a destination to a country you’ve always wanted to visit. Be sure to find that work/life balance and take an extra few days to explore the area either before or after your mission trip. Whatever way you choose to participate in dental missions, you’ll find joy and happiness that will keep you wanting more. 

Editor's note: This article appeared in the September 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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