THE STRAIGHT UP
You may have noticed there are no TVs in any of the Pitner Orthodontics offices. Believe it or not, this detail has nothing to do with budgetary constraints. In fact, about 10 years ago, a salesman came into the office, and he offered to give us a free TV in exchange for running ads for the company he represented. When our front desk girl came back to tell me about the free TV, I declared, “That’s the last thing I want! I am morally opposed to having TVs in this office.” Apparently, SHHH ... The Sound of Silence
I declared this a bit too loudly, because we haven’t seen that salesman since.
Plato once wrote, “A wise person speaks because he or she has something to say; a fool speaks because he or she has to say something.” Appreciating sound as communication or entertainment is wonderful, but how often are we guilty of using noise as a crutch because we can’t stand the silence? Our aversion to silence might actually be bad for our health! A study from Duke University found that two hours of silence per day for mice encouraged cell development in the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory and the senses. Enjoying some silence might help our brain cells regrow! Last year, when I visited a friend of mine in Australia, the best part of the trip was the time I spent at Jamberoo Abbey, which is home to Benedictine nuns. The hours of silence were so peaceful, and my brain had the opportunity to calm down for the first time in a long time. I spent the days just laying on the front porch like a cat, letting myself be present in each moment. A decade ago, if someone told me I would spend a few days not talking at all, I would have told them my head would explode. Now, not talking or hearing unnecessary noise sounds amazing! If anyone knows where I can spend time with some Benedictine nuns, let me know! I’d love to get some silence in.
I’ll admit to being a bit dramatic regarding my “moral opposition” to television. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of TV, and we certainly have one at my house. However, I’ve always assumed that if a dentist has a TV in their office, it means their patients have to hang out for a while. I don’t intend to let my patients be trapped in the office long enough to watch TV!
“APPRECIATING SOUND AS COMMUNICATION OR
ENTERTAINMENT IS WONDERFUL, BUT HOW OFTEN ARE WE GUILTY OF USING NOISE AS A CRUTCH BECAUSE WE CAN’T STAND THE SILENCE?”
More importantly, I believe we don’t need to be assaulted by noise all the time.
I love silence. It’s become harder and harder to enjoy a moment of quiet in this crazy, loud world. When I’m by myself, I don’t turn on the TV or the radio for background noise. I just want to enjoy the quiet. All day long, we’re surrounded by noise. Ads break through the music on the radio, there are TVs in restaurants reporting the most troubling news stories, and the phone rings with work calls even when we’re on vacation. When do we have a moment to stop having our attention dragged every which way, and instead, just focus on ourselves?
–Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225
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