Full name: Christopher F. Heck, DMD
Hometown: Fairborn, OH
Place of Practice: Cincinnati, OH
Why did you want to become a doctor?
After I completed my undergraduate degree in business, I worked in IT consulting for approximately a year and a half. During that time, it became apparent to me that I needed a career that had not only a direct impact on people's lives, but also one that would allow me to have solid, long-lasting relationships with those I serve. Growing up in a dental family (my father is a dentist and my mother is a dental hygienist), it was a very easy choice. Dentistry also appeals to my individual strengths, including attention to detail, communication skills, personal relationships and adherence to scientific principles.
What sets you apart from other doctors in your field?
I think one of my best qualities is relating to people. I come from a very diverse suburb, with a higher turnover population, an Air Force Base, a large senior segment, and a large blue-collar population. Throughout my life, I have always taken pride in getting to know people, understanding their position, viewpoints and backgrounds. Finding a common ground, a common interest or just lending a kind word or hand makes this life worth living. I try to bring that focus everyday to my profession. I like to think of myself as the "every man's dentist." No matter what a patient might be concerned about or what they need, I can not only help, but also make them feel comfortable and treat them like the friend that they are.
What are your 5 tips for living longer?
- Oral health is more than brushing twice a day, flossing when you remember and going to see your dentist twice a year. It is an investment in your long-term well-being, much like physical exercise is for your body. Some people have the benefit of genetics on their side in that regard, and some do not. Same applies for oral health.Some people have to work harder at it than others if they want the same results. Be educated about your oral health, and if your dentist is just checking your teeth, then find a new dentist! Examinations should always consist of an evaluation of the entire oral cavity and orofacial structures. Oral health issues do not have to hurt to be causing major damage to your long-term health. Technologies, materials and methods are improving everyday to combat the breakdown of the oral cavity. Don't ever feel hopeless – there is a solution!
- Practice your breathing! If you find yourself stressed, triggering your sympathetic nervous system, even though you are not really in immediate danger, trying meditative breathing. Calm yourself by taking a deep breath in for 4 seconds, exhaling for another 6 seconds. This will slow your respiration rate down to 6 breaths per minute. Your body will immediately relax, your mind will clear, stress will disappear. This can reduce your heart rate and your blood pressure as well. The long-term effects are so beneficial for your physical and mental health.
- Help at least one person each day. It will bring a smile to your face, no matter what!
- Engage and learn about others, don't focus on yourself and your needs all the time. Your needs will take care of themselves automatically. The real joy is experiencing others.
- Travel out of the country at least once a year if you can. Experiencing new people, places and things stimulates the mind. The brain is great at adaptation, probably better than anything in this universe. Take advantage of it!