Hari Reyes credits the many skills he's learned as a dental assistant for giving him the insight and energy into starting his own company. He strives to improve the lives of his fellow dental professionals with his inventions.Working as a dental assistant for 12 years instilled certain characteristics in me that I wouldn't trade for anything. In fact, I feel a majority of assistants are instilled with these valuable traits during their careers, such as multitasking, organization, attention to detail, and being personable. These traits definitely helped when I decided to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Looking back at my dental assisting career, I never would have imagined starting a successful dental innovation company from which five unique dental products have been created.
It wasn't an easy road to start down. Working two jobs and trying to gather investments to start a dental innovation company was very hard, especially since I had no experience in engineering or business development. The cost of starting and maintaining Innovative Dental Technologies left me with little money to spend on groceries. I developed deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in my artery), presumably from my long hours of sitting and stressing over the inventions. It is very rare for a 28-year-old to be diagnosed with this condition. I felt like everything was going against me. I even suffered a near fatal car accident right before I decided to pursue this venture.
What inspired me to keep going? Well, my parents grew up in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States with no resources. They always told me stories about how poor they were in the Philippines. They showed me pictures of Filipino children playing in the streets, covered in dirt and dressed in torn shorts, playing soccer with a tin can. Looking at these photos as a child I noticed that these kids were always smiling. Even with nothing they seemed to have everything.
I quickly learned that even though someone may be going through difficult times, it’s our relationships that truly define how wealthy we are. As I went through many difficult times while starting Innovative Dental Technologies, I realized Earl Nightingale said it elegantly when he stated, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” The fact I was trying to make dentistry better through innovation made me a success.
Maintaining strong relationships during this process kept a foundation of true wealth underneath me. Therefore, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. This mindset carried me through the most difficult times. No matter what came my way and what obstacles I faced, I knew that continually pursuing what I enjoyed deemed me successful. Success does not mean arriving at a current circumstance you've envisioned; it’s taking continuous action toward what you've envisioned.
Dental assisting gave me a good foundation and inspiration to pursue my passion. It’s truly an amazing career, with many ways to enter the profession, such as attending a dental assisting program or being trained on-the-job. Dental assisting gave me stability and job security. It helped me network with amazing individuals who still inspire me today. While working as an assistant isn’t always easy, in many practices we’re considered the glue that holds everything together.
Whatever your goals are, just know that being a dental assistant is a wise choice and a great career foundation, and that anything is possible if you keep trying. Just take a look at Innovative Dental Technology’s current products at innovatingdentistry.com and you'll see that anything is possible with the right mindset.
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Editor’s Note: Hari’s products include ReLeaf, which, according to the website, is “dentistry’s only hands-free solution specifically designed for ultrasonic scaling, polishing, rinsing, and restorative procedures,” and LinguaGuard, an “innovative HVE add-on that allows you to retract and protect the tongue during suction by attaching it to the end of your HVE straw.”