Bill Zortman: Siouxland Oral Surgery, Dr. Lou George, and you’ve brought some “show and tell” people today. Would you share who this guy is that played baseball?
Dr. Louis George: Absolutely, Bill, good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here today. I’m honored to bring along my good friend and in my opinion, the best baseball pitcher in the major league, and I’m proud to say a patient now, Dwight “Doc” Gooden of the New York Mets and New York Yankees.
Bill Zortman: Dwight “Doc” Gooden, can I call you just “Doc”?
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: Yeah, that’s fine.
Bill Zortman: Ok. You came for a birthday party, but you made a little stop in Iowa before you got here. It must have put you in the mood for this guy who is a crazy baseball fan.
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: Oh, he’s incredible, and I’m honored, like he mentioned, to call him my friend. If you’d told me 15 years ago a dental guy was my friend, I would have thought you were crazy. But I was in Iowa, playing in a charity softball game at the Field of Dreams where Kevin Costner shot the movie. We had to come out of the corn field and do all that, and his wife contacted my agent about coming to his surprise birthday party, and so I said, “Yes, I would do that.” So, I came to the birthday party, met him and his family — very nice people. I mean, they welcomed me just like I was one of theirs, and we hit it off right away. I had a great time at his party. I told him I’d come back; he didn’t think I would. I said, “No, I enjoy you, and I enjoy your family.” And this is my third trip back, and come to find out, I need a lot of dental work — he was the guy. I mean, he made me feel really comfortable because as a kid, I had a terrible experience where the dental guy thought his assistant had numbed me, but she really didn’t. So, I ended up getting my tooth ejected without Novocaine. So, from that day on, I always had a fear of the dentist, but he has helped me get over my fear. I still get a little nervous, but with him, I know I’m in good hands with him and his staff. The way things worked out, the way God has things work out sometimes, you don’t understand it. But not only is he my guy, my dentist guy, he’s also my good friend.
Bill Zortman: Dr. Lou George, you don’t know how lucky you are that his three kids, boys, all start with “D.” And you’ve got a partner that is Dr. Denis Miller. You’re Dr. Lou George, so you should feel very fortunate that you’re able to help him. Now, what’re you going to be able to help him to do?
Dr. Louis George: Well, we took out some teeth on Doc. We’re going to be doing a little bone grafting now with some implants. And then he’s going to come back and have those implants restored by my good friend Dr. Mark Berdahl of Sensational Smiles. So, between the two of us, we’ll keep the third doc, Doc Gooden, out of trouble and get him back some nice teeth and good confidence, regarding that.
Bill Zortman: Dr. Berdahl, you’re going to be doing some work with Doc: what’s your thoughts?
Dr. Mark Berdahl: My thoughts are it’s exciting to meet this gentleman, all the history that he has, and just very honored to have the opportunity to help Dr. George in helping Doc getting his bite back so he can chew all the good foods that are coming the way this summer — with barbeque and all that good stuff. We’re going to give him some confidence back and hopefully give him the opportunity to see dentistry in a different light than he has in the past.
Bill Zortman: One of the things Dr. Lou and Dr. Denis talk about is working with athletes. They talk about the fact that, make sure you get your glove up. That’s an important thing if you’re playing baseball, whether it’s the Cleveland Indians or the Yankees or that other team that’s on the other side of New York, the Mets.
Dr. Louis George: Alright now, Mets first; Mets always first.
Bill Zortman: But, injuries in sports do happen, and it is important that you have a team that can make sure that your smile is good. Your smile is good today, but it’s going to be even better.
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: Yes, that’s the most important. Your mouth, to me, is your foundation. Now that I’m a retired baseball player, a lot of my work is dealing with the public. I think it’s very important to have a good smile, and also, it brings confidence when you have that, and I have a lot of trust in these two guys. I’m looking forward to them putting it together and us working together as a team.
Bill Zortman: Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a long way from Tampa, Florida or the places that you’ve played baseball. How do you find Sioux Falls?
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: I find that I like it. Nice people, very nice people. Like I said, I met Dr. George at the birthday party. I met his family, I met a lot of his friends, and I’d never been here before that time, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I love it. A lot of times now, my family says, “You’re going where?” And a lot of my ex-teammates, I’ll tell the guys and they’re all like, “What’s he doing out there? There’s no black people in South Dakota.” But to me, I don’t see color. I was raised with a good family, and we’re all brothers and sisters, and these guys make me feel comfortable. Like I said, they helped me get over my fear, and not only did I come here to get work, but I met genuine people. These are my friends, and like George, he came to my thing I had a couple weeks ago — and with him, I call him family, and it’s very rare in this day and age that you can meet people and you get along, and you click like that, besides on the business part. I’m just very fortunate, very fortunate to have good people in my life.
Bill Zortman: He’s Doc Gooden. Did he tell you that they also work on tiger animals at the zoo? Does that bother you a little bit that they may mix you up?
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: No, that’s good; he’s very talented. I gave him a nickname — “Dr. Dolittle” — once I saw that. But he has a lot of talent, and the main thing I admire is that he has a good heart and his family has a good heart. Very good people.
Bill Zortman: So, Dr. George, we’ve said all the nasty things we could about you. We tried to get him over to Dr. Denis being that his boys are named with “Ds” and your daughters with “As,” so it’s interesting to be able to look at that. But I know you appreciate this patient, and you appreciate all your patients.
Dr. Louis George: Absolutely. This is something that, as an oral surgeon, we’re privileged to take care of so many folks and meet so many interesting people every day, and a lot of the stories, like Doc had said, are very similar. People come to us; they’re afraid, they’re nervous, they’ve had bad experiences, and we get a chance to turn that around for them. All the great dentists we have in the community, our many friends, like Dr. Berdahl here, same approach — taking care of people, taking care of the person first. It’s not taking care of the dental issue or concern, it’s getting to know folks as people. So, Dr. Miller, my business partner, we’re very fortunate and honored to have folks come to us from down the street and very fortunate to have folks like Doc Gooden here come all the way from the East Coast to visit us for treatment. You know, Dwight Gooden is the reason I became a baseball fan, so here I am all these years later having the opportunity to help him with something — it just blows my mind. It’s a blessing.
Bill Zortman: They’re behind the Cardinals this year. I got my Cardinal tie on, my Cardinal watch today.
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: I see that; that’s very nice.
Bill Zortman: But I do appreciate a good baseball player — somebody that has spent all the time. You still believe in the game. You still talk about it. What’re you going to tell people about Dr. Berdahl and Dr. Lou George?
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: The main thing, like he mentioned, not only are they there to do the work, they’re there to make you feel comfortable because different people come from different experiences and different backgrounds. Like myself, having a fear, I could tell you first hand if I could come here and do it and be comfortable, anyone can do it. Because my mom, and I’m not embarrassed to say it, my mom, before she passed away, she actually would bring me to the dentist as an adult, as a professional baseball player. [Unintelligible] But here I am today by myself, and my sisters, they still can’t believe, they go, “You going to be alright by yourself? You going to be okay?” And I say, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” You know, I look forward to it. That’s something that tells you I come a long way to this place, but it’s because of these guys. They make me feel comfortable, and they go through each procedure. They tell you exactly what’s going to take place and make sure you’re relaxed as a person, that you’re in good hands, and I recommend to anybody to come here, and it’s worth the trip to come here.
Dr. Louis George: You have to understand that’s very humbling for all of us to hear that, and Denis would agree with me if he was here. I know Mark does, Mark Berdahl here with me, that here is a guy who is not afraid at all to face the heart of a batting order — in the World Series — and ring them up, strike them out, not a problem, sit them down. But here he is, you know, nervous to walk into our offices, and we just kind of, you know, think of ourselves as normal average people. So that’s very humbling to hear that and that we could make a difference in his outlook on the profession of dentistry and oral surgery.
Bill Zortman: Dr. Lou George, Dr. Mark Berdahl, and Doc Gooden. Thanks for visiting. Make sure you open your mouth, and if they say they want to rinse it out, let them rinse!
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: Oh, he stays on me. He calls, “Did you rinse? Take your meds? It’s very important; make sure you take care of that.” That’s just good, though. Stays on me with that because a lot of times, those are the important things we take for granted, and if you’re getting that type of work done, and these guys put in the time to do it, you have to take care of yourself afterward as well.
Bill Zortman: When you look in the mirror after they finish with you and you see that beautiful smile, I want you to think about what he has done and what you’ve just done for dentistry as well for all those kids that were scared. Your mama, she’d be proud of you today.
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: Yes, definitely, she’s smiling right now. She can’t believe it; she’s tickled to death that she doesn’t have to hold her little boy’s hands anymore because I’m in good hands, and I recommend these guys to anyone. No matter where you have to come from, you have to go somewhere where you’re comfortable, and they take care of you, and they care about you as a person first. I think that’s very important.
Dr. Louis George: God Bless.
Dwight “Doc” Gooden: Thanks, buddy; thanks for having me.