Q&A: Dr. Bruce Terry, full-time dentist, part-time mountaineer

By | July 14, 2017
Peak: Dr. Bruce Terry holds the American Dental Association flag at the summit of Vinson Massif, the highest point in Antarctica.

Peak: Dr. Bruce Terry holds the American Dental Association flag at the summit of Vinson Massif, the highest point in Antarctica.

Dr. Bruce Terry is best-known around the ADA for bringing the Association’s flag to the highest point in Antarctica. At home in his Pennsylvania community, Dr. Terry is recognized as a kind-hearted dentist and tireless mountain climber. We caught up with him to hear about his love of climbing and why he believes all dentists should pursue a hobby.

Q: What inspired you to bring an ADA flag on your climb in Antarctica?

A: Most of my fellow climbers brought a banner or flag supporting a cause or sponsor. I thought it was most appropriate to bring along an ADA flag because I am one of their biggest fans.

Dr. Terry

Dr. Terry

Q: Why did you become interested in climbing?

A: I am an Eagle Scout and have loved the outdoors since I was young. My wife read an article about a man who climbed Mount Rainier in Washington. He was a middle aged weekend athlete – he said he both loved and hated the climb. My wife gave me the article and said, “Happy Birthday, you will love this!” After years of recreational backpacking near home I tested my endurance with a climb of Mount Rainier. It was a fantastic experience of learning, training and climbing on snow, ice and rock. I was hooked.

Q: What has climbing added to your life?

A: Each time I climb I learn about a different part of the world. I can now say that I have been on all seven continents. But the real joy for me is the journey from start to finish – training to be at my best physically. Climbing is a test of mind and body. Some days are not so good. Other days are fantastic.

I also enjoy meeting an international group of people with similar interests, as well as local people, whether it’s in the mountains of southern Russia or the jungle of Indonesia.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for dentists to have hobbies?

A: I think that all dentists need to do something outside of work. We are a patient’s healer, fixer, psychologist and friend. Getting outdoors allows me to see the big picture of life. I would recommend all dentists develop a hobby, because practicing dentistry can be stressful. I love dentistry and don’t get burned out. I suspect it’s because I do so much outside the office.

Q: What are your hobbies other than climbing?

A: I travel with my family – I love to see the looks on my daughter and son’s faces when they see new things. We rock climb and ski together, and tour major cities and learn about others.

I am also active in organized dentistry and have helped with our state’s Mission of Mercy. I am a Boy Scout leader and teach at Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry. I really don’t have enough time in the day for everything I want to do.

Q: What advice would you give to new dentists?

A: Dentistry is a path to other things. Whether it’s sports, philanthropy or growing as a person, we all need to have interests outside of the office. Work is good, but too much can have a negative impact. Enjoy your family, community and take care of yourself.

4 thoughts on “Q&A: Dr. Bruce Terry, full-time dentist, part-time mountaineer

  1. Joseph Cammarata

    I retired but I am not happy not productive. We are snow birds. I want to go back to dentistry, but I am more scared . Have any ideas on how to get back part Time? DR Joe C.

  2. Alekhya Patagarla

    It was so interesting to read through your hobby and inspired me to continue with mine, painting. You are so very right about having a hobby outside dentistry as it gets stressful sometimes. May you have more such joyful moments in your life.

  3. Alan Budd

    My name is Alan and I am a general dentist in ‘burnout recovery.’ Kudos to Dr. Terry for reminding us “it’s the climb.” Dentistry is what we do, not who we are. I benefit, as my patients do, from my participation in organized dentistry and non-dental hobbies. Engaging in outside interests makes me more focused in the office. By taking care of myself, I have more to give.

  4. Pingback: Come sail away: New dentist sails the Atlantic | New Dentist Blog

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