For many, parents serve as first role models. Many grow up to adopt their parents’ more personal attributes, while others adopt their more professional ones, even finding themselves working in the same field. As a younger child, Dr. Steven Schmid spent a great amount of time at work with his father, Dr. Rick Schmid. And now, Steven also works in dentistry, often collaborating with his father to better serve their patients.
Dr. Rick Schmid has been practicing oral and maxillofacial surgery in Melbourne for the last 37 years.
“When I was a kid, I was fascinated by medicine. I had a good influence with orthodontics, and I wanted to be an orthodontist until I got to dental school and discovered that I didn’t like bending wires,” said Rick. “But I was fascinated by anesthesia and surgery and I was a general dentist for four years before I decided to enter a surgical residency.”
When asked about what has kept him practicing dentistry for so long, Rick said: “Well, first of all, I love it. My parents taught me that if you pursue a passion, and choose that as your profession, you’ll never work a day in your life, and that’s the way I feel.
“On a more personal basis, my father had multiple sclerosis, and he had to retire when he was 40. He would give anything to work as long as I have,” continued Rick. “So that made a difference in me – I never get tired of going to work.”
His son, Dr. Steven Schmid, followed his passion as well, and has been practicing prosthodontics since 2017.
“My siblings and I all worked for [our dad] in high school, and when I realized the blood didn’t bother me I thought, ‘maybe I can do this,’ and being my dad’s son, I was kind of cocky and I was thinking, ‘well if he can do it I can do it, too,’” Steven joked. “But when I got into dental school, that’s when I realized that he makes it look really easy and it’s not, and I realized that I didn’t give him enough credit – he’s a phenomenal surgeon. Now that I’m here, I enjoy working with him.”
Though the two focus on different specialties and work in different practices, the father-son team often has the opportunity to work together and oversee the same patients in different stages of their care.
“Probably, the best way to explain it would be, I do all the surgery, he does all the reconstruction,” said Rick. “So, I’m responsible for: placement of implants, bone surgery, removal of teeth, reconstructive surgery, and then, anytime the dentition is restored – I don’t do any sort of crowns or bridges or fillings or anything – he does all of that.”
“One of the analogies I like to us is that, if you’re building a house, you need a really strong foundation,” shared Steven. “He does the surgical side, which is basically building the foundation, and I build a house on that foundation. Most of what he does is not as visible – he’s placing the implants in the bone, and then I place the teeth on, so we complement each other.”
Steven continued to say that an added strength to their professional relationship is their personal one. The two talk as father and son every day, and they talk about patients all the time, so they are always collaborating, communicating and staying as up to date as possible in order to provide their patients with the highest quality of care.
“We learn so much about each other’s specialties, too,” continued Steven. “I feel like my surgical knowledge is broadening because he teaches me so much.”
“It’s a two-way street,” added Rick. “I’ve learned so much about prosthodontics. There are things where I just say, ‘leave it to Steven, he can take care of it and do it better than I can.’”
“He is doing all the latest stuff,” said Steven about his father. “Even though he’s getting up there in age, he’s not slowing down and he’s better than ever – it’s amazing. I hope to be doing the same thing.”
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