My Mentor, Teacher, and Dad DR. ROBERT FERBER I’ve been a dentist for 36 years, and I absolutely love what I do. You may have heard the saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and for me, that’s true. I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work in this profession from such a young age and to have taken part in it for so long. My introduction to the dental industry came when I started working with my father, Dr. Robert Ferber, at his dental practice when I was 14. Far from cleaning teeth or filling a cavity, I started at the bottom of the barrel. My dad had me filing paperwork, vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning the office, and even developing some X-rays. Eventually, Dad started to teach me some things about dentistry, such as how to wax a crown and how to cast it. He showed me many different things, and it was because of what he taught me that I started to develop dental skills of my own. When I first pursued dental education, I was trying to get into dental hygiene, but I quickly realized hygiene wasn’t the path meant for me. Instead, I decided to go to dental school. At first, I didn’t tell my father about the switch because I thought he’d be disappointed if I wasn’t able to get in. But once I was accepted, I knew he was proud of me. When I graduated from dental school, I joined my father at his practice and had the opportunity to work with him for nine years. Dad was a terrific mentor, and I’m fortunate to have worked with and learned from him for so long. Dad had a lot of experience and was a master in patient management. He knew how to set people at ease when they came in for an appointment. No one wants to go to the dentist, but he was able to get them to relax. He used humor, which is huge when building relationships and taking the anxiety out of a dental appointment. I never forget how much trust it takes for someone to sit back in their chair with their mouth open for me to work on. Many patients have heavy amounts of baggage they carry with them into my office. They have had bad experiences in the past with other dentists who treated them poorly, and it’s not easy to overcome that trepidation. Whenever I see patients, I try to help them overcome this. I want to give my patients better experiences and, hopefully, help them
regain trust in the dental industry as a whole. It’s unfortunate that there are so many damaged people out there, but I hope to help them overcome that mistrust.
Since I took over the practice in 1992, it has really evolved. When I first got out of dental school, I had basic skills. School might help you learn about the dental industry, but it doesn’t really prepare you for actual practice. Working with my
father is when my education truly began. Once you find an area that fits with what you do, you can continue your education within your interests. For me, that has taken a turn toward sleep medicine and treating people who have sleep apnea but can’t tolerate a CPAP. Through the years, Stumpf Dental has changed locations twice. Even if we move, though, our history stays with us. I still see some of those patients my father treated; many of them have been with us for 50 years or more. These people become more than patients — they become friends over the years, and I’m thrilled to continue what my father started. The practice has an incredible history and legacy that I value every day.
-Dr. Janelle Ferber-Stumpf
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