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‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ Dr. Patrick E. Taylor Shows Some Teeth

By Elisabeth Lisican

You might consider him a nice guy with a “No More Mr. Nice Guy” moxie. Incoming President Dr. Patrick E. Taylor looks forward to his AAE presidency with lots of energy and a no-holds-barred attitude towards elevating our specialty.

Dr. Taylor is on the affiliate faculty at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, where he teaches in the graduate clinic on Wednesday afternoons. His dental career spans 18 years of private practice in Bellevue, Wash.; and prior to that, 21 years in the military, serving in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps, last serving as the executive officer of the Naval Dental Center, Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Taylor is a Diplomate and past president of the American Board of Endodontics. He previously served on the AAE Board of Directors from 2003 to 2006. Dr. Taylor also sits on the Foundation for Endodontics Board of Trustees.

Dr. Taylor did not start out in dentistry; his background includes a B.A. in physiology from the University of California, Berkeley.

“I thought I wanted to be a chemical engineer, but I took a biology class and loved that, so biological sciences seemed like a better fit for what I enjoyed doing,” he said. “My older brother is a dentist, and my older sister is a pharmacist; so, I thought, this is really where I belong — in the biological sciences.”

Dr. Taylor received his D.D.S. from UC San Francisco. His endodontic residency was at the University of Washington, where he earned his Certificate in Endodontics and an M.S.D.

After he became a dentist, endodontics just seemed to make sense.

“I was in the military at the time, and you mostly do restorative work, but you can do a lot of other things; and endo really resonated,” he said.

Early in his career, mentorships were important to him.

“I had some mentors who I wanted to be more like,” he said. “In my initial application for specialty training, I said, ‘all the endodontists I know are nice guys; and I want to be a nice guy, too.’ There were some great women endodontists, too — Drs. Billie Jeansonne and Sandy Madison come to mind — I just did not know them yet.”

Things continued to fall into place for Dr. Taylor. “I knew people who were good role models and they helped me make my way. I have pleasant memories of residency at the University of Washington. The endodontists who were my mentors are still around. They’re not actively teaching so much anymore, but I see them regularly.

“I am very much in their debt and often reflect that I should have listened more.”

Dr. Taylor said that he had many endodontic heroes, but two in particular who had a great influence on him were Dr. Gerry Harrington, the first Bender Award winner, and Dr. Clyde Sabala, from Dr. Taylor’s early Navy days.

Another mentor is AAE Past President Dr. James C. McGraw – whose former practice Dr. Taylor went into in the 1990s. The two plan to catch up at AAE18.

He stays close to his old practice, too. “I still go by the office; I love to chat up the two folks that bought my practice and see what they’re doing. They keep me current.”

When asked what might be the theme of his AAE presidency, he got a bit theatrical.

“Get involved! We can save the world, one root canal at a time! We need to be involved at all levels of the profession: local, state and national – even international, if we can. Collaborate with our specialist colleagues. Go to dental meetings. Come to endo meetings. Contribute to the Foundation for Endodontics – this is our future.”

Perhaps Dr. Taylor’s dedication to the Foundation stems from his own commitment to lifelong learning. He has fond memories of research in neurobiology while at the University of Washington (he won first place in the resident Poster Clinics) and is pursuing a review and continuation of those projects. He has been active in his local dental societies, having served as president of both the Washington State Association of Endodontists and the Seattle King County Dental Society. Fellowships include the American College of Dentists, International College of Dentists, Pierre Fauchard Academy and Omicron Kappa Upsilon.

Dr. Taylor is an avid reader and supporter of the King County Library System, serving on the KCLS Foundation Board and is a past president of that organization. He is also a past president and board member of the UWSOD Deans Club.

Dr. Taylor and his wife Frances live in Kirkland, Wash., and enjoy hiking, gardening and cooking. Their son, Brian, is a physician in the Navy, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, and has an infant son, Luke. Dr. Taylor’s daughter, Katy, is an elementary school teacher in Camas, Wash., and has three children: Chloe, Carter and Claire.

Make no mistake, Dr. Taylor is certainly a nice guy, but when it comes to advocating for our specialty, he suggests perhaps it’s time endodontists cut their “Mr. Nice Guy” routine.

“In the past we’ve always been the nice guys, [telling dentists] ‘you guys should be doing more root canals,’” he said. “I’m of the opinion that it’s time to say, ’No, save the difficult ones for us; enough of this encouraging you to do difficult molars. We should be doing the molars.’

“I’ve had three root canals; they were all done by endodontists … We need to demonstrate more convincingly that root canal treatment done by endodontists is better, faster, less painful and lasts longer.”

Elisabeth Lisican is integrated communications specialist with the AAE. She can be reached at elisican@aae.org.