Why I became a dentist as a second career after aerospace
Dentistry is my second career and I love it! I was an aerospace engineer designing spacecraft for 15 years early in my life. Why would someone make that change?
The answer is complex, but really boiled down to these three main reasons: I was frustrated at the slow progress of spacecraft development, I loved teaching and interacting with people, and I wanted to work with my brother. I am so happy I made the switch!
I love applying my engineering knowledge along with all of my surgical and dental skills to help each and every person we care for. I am fascinated by all of the little complex steps and parts, the science and the surgery, and the hand-eye coordination required to do what we do!
But that’s not why I love it.
Every person comes to us with unique needs: functional, physical, emotional, aesthetic, etc. Our job is to take all of that and develop a plan to help our patients make steady progress toward a beautiful, healthy, radiant smile that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives. To give every person the best possible functional and aesthetic outcome that our team can deliver is what gets me out of bed every day. Dentistry for me is all about my love for people.
My Education and Commitment to Continuing Education
I received my BS in mechanical engineering from Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge in 1981, and an MS in the same field in 1983. I was published in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers journal Computers in Mechanical Engineering, in its premier issue in 1983, while pursuing a Ph.D. track in mechanical engineering before accepting a position with Lockheed Martin Manned Space Systems in June of 1985 as a vehicle design/systems engineer. While at Lockheed, I headed several projects involving database and spacecraft design before leaving the field for dental school in early 1996.
I matriculated at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry in the summer of 1996. While there, I was privileged to be my class president all four years of dental school. I received my Doctorate of Dental Surgery from LSUSD in May 2000. At graduation, I received the following awards:
- Outstanding Senior in General Dentistry
- Fixed Prosthodontics Award
- Alumni Leadership Award
- American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology Award
- American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry Award
Upon graduation, I was offered and accepted an assistant professor position in general dentistry at LSU School of Dentistry, and assisted the continuing education department in teaching clinical cosmetic dentistry and occlusion to dentists from all over the world.
I maintained two general dentistry practices in Louisiana which concentrated on complex oral rehabilitation, implant, and cosmetic dentistry, until April 2017 when I sold those practices to fulfill a 25-year dream of practicing with my brother Dr. Keith Long, here in Lakeport.
I am avid about continuing education, and usually take 60 to 100 hours per year. However, from mid-2016 to the end of 2018, together with my brother, we have each taken well over 800 hours of CE, almost all of it in implant dentistry, anesthesia, and sedation dentistry.
I am a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, American Society of Dental Anesthesiologists, and Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation. I am also a graduate of the Misch Implant Institute Prosthetics Residency Program, the AAID Las Vegas Maxi-course in Implant Dentistry, and the Puerto Rico Maxi-course and Residency in Implant Dentistry.
Finally, my brother and I have recently completed all of the requirements, examinations, and case defense to become accredited as associate fellows of the AAID.
Away from the Practice
I am a native of St. Bernard, Louisiana, lived in north Louisiana for 15 years. Now I’m a recent resident of Lakeport, CA. I am married to the former Miss Suzanne Renee Noto and we have grown children: Henry Long, III, a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering (due to graduate in December 2018); Samantha Long, a recent chemical engineering graduate from UC Davis; and Jeffrey Long, who holds a master’s in French and Italian Literature from the University of New Orleans and postgraduate studies at Indiana University.
In my free time, I enjoy flying with my brother (who is a licensed pilot), playing golf, playing finger-style guitar, working my Vizsla bird dogs, and just having a good time with family on the weekends.