The specialty of orthodontics is different from any of the other areas of dentistry. A player commented to me while umpiring a Chicago Park District softball game that I had two of the worst jobs imaginable: umpiring and dentistry!
I thought about it and realized he was wrong. It is true that many people see the dentist as nothing more than a repair person, managing to fix problems that occur during a lifetime of use. But orthodontics is different. There is a level of appreciation that comes from every person who I have helped and the lifetime of smiles speaks volumes. The personality changes that frequently occur in patients who previously would never smile are wonderful to experience and mean everything to me. Knowing I have treated them in ways they would not have experienced elsewhere gives me complete satisfaction.
The personal interaction with each patient is very important to me. I want to get to know each of them well, and the manner in which I practice defines that. I utilize no chairside assistants: all clinical work is performed by me, and only me. I have long felt that if people are paying for my expertise, then they should receive it, all the time. And by being the only individual working on each patient, I develop a comfort level with each patient that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.
Education and Experience
I attended Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and received my Bachelor of Arts in 1974 with majors in biology and history. While there, I lettered four years in baseball, two in football, and played in the basketball pep band, all while preparing for a career in dentistry. I received my Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Northwestern University’s Dental School in 1978 and my master’s degree and orthodontic specialty certificate from Northwestern in 1980.
Having been in orthodontic treatment personally for six years and knowing the levels of discomfort patients endure, I continue to explore ways that treatment can be effectively rendered with as little discomfort as possible. This is the basis for the David Doctrine, a personal philosophy that maximizes comfort and results for the patient.
As a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the Midwestern Society of Orthodontists, and the Illinois Society of Orthodontists, I participate in and attend all of the continuing education seminars given throughout the year, as well as review the professional journals published monthly. Every healthcare professional has no higher obligation than to continue to learn in order to provide the best of care to the people who give us the honor of treating them. Being a perpetual student is truly a requirement in order to do that. In addition, I have taught at Northwestern’s Graduate Orthodontic Department for the last 13 years of the school’s existence, and collaborated on many research projects and continued to develop curriculum and techniques that benefited the students I taught as well as the patients I treat.
Outside the Office
I am married to Brenda Dudley Skarin, who has a Ph.D. in speech pathology and has a private practice in Naperville. We have two sons: the oldest lives in Texas, has a master’s degree in interactive technologies, and develops video games (the last one he helped develop was game of the year in 2013: The Last of Us, Naught Dog Studios); the youngest just completed a BA and BS in preparation for dental school, but is putting that career on hold while he develops an already impressive golf game.
When I’m not at work, I can be found on a golf course, coaching baseball at all levels, running batting practice for the local high school team, working with the punters and kickers in the summer and fall, on the ski slopes, basketball court, traveling, and doing projects either at home or at the office. I like to keep busy, stay in good shape, and live life to the fullest!
Most of my community involvement is connected with our church, where I continue to serve in many organizational capacities and use my musical abilities to serve in the choir as well as a substitute organist, an important lifetime avocation.