The first dental school in northern New England accepted its first class this year at University of New England College of Dental Medicine. Among the faculty teaching Clinical Dentistry 1 is Dr. David Pier of Mount Pleasant Dental Care in Rockport.

Pier is one of only a few part-time adjunct professors hired to teach first year clinical dentistry at the new college of dental medicine.

“I have always enjoyed teaching,” says Pier. “I have taught seminars all across the U.S. on various topics relating to patient care and leadership so teaching clinical dentistry one day per week was a natural addition to private practice.”

University of New England College of Dental Medicine’s concept of dental education is focused on developing students with excellent clinical skills, solid science background, and a desire to reach out to underserved populations. With this goal in mind, the college is relying on experienced practicing clinical dentists to augment the full-time faculty.

Among the first class of students admitted to the College of Dental Medicine are 24 residents from Maine.

“It is exciting to be able to help motivate and develop the next generation of dentists to serve the state of Maine,” says Pier.

In his letter of introduction exploring the opportunity of joining the faculty at UNE, Pier outlined his five passions for teaching aspiring new dentists. First it is to instill in students a drive for continuing and never-ending improvement. Dentistry is changing so fast that if dentists are not taking above and beyond the required amount of continuing education, they will not be able to offer the best modern dentistry has to offer. Second it is to help aspiring dentists realize their purpose is to serve their patients with dental health, and it is both a privilege and a joy. Focusing on serving patients rather than just completing procedures leads to passion number three: to instill in UNE students a commitment to excellence that rises above the norms. Passions number four and five relate to the topics Pier has taught for more than 15 years – Listening and Leadership. In order to fully serve their patients, dentists need to understand not just the dental problem, but also understand the patient’s individual concerns, fears, history, conditions, etc. Only through active listening and excellent communication skills can a dentist be sure the treatment recommendations are best for each individual patient. Finally, through developing leadership skills, these new dentists will be able to build a future team with the same commitment to excellence and service.

“I have been lucky to have studied under some of the best dentists in the world,” says Pier. “I want to share my experiences with the students at UNE.”

Pier plans to teach only one day per week while maintaining a full-time schedule at Mount Pleasant Dental Care.

“What gives me credibility and relevance is the fact that I do this every day in my practice,” says Pier.

The timing was perfect as Dr. Rebecca G. Laliberte (formerly Dr. Rebecca Groves) joined Mount Pleasant Dental Care last year.

“I spent a lot of time looking for the right person to join Mount Pleasant Dental Care and Dr. Laliberte is that person. She shares the same philosophy and commitment to excellence to serve our patients giving me the freedom to spend a day in Portland knowing our patients will be well served,” Pier said.