When I tell people I work with my father, they always seem to say, “Oh … how is that?” I’m always astonished by the question and the uncertainty in their voices. Partnering with my father straight out of dental school was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. In fact, it was a no brainer.
I started working in my father’s office when I was in high school and fell in love with the profession, the practice and his work ethic. He taught me how to be compassionate and strive for excellence. My father says he knew dentistry was a good fit for me from an early age, but he never pushed me to follow in his footsteps and for that I am forever grateful. He knew if I chose dentistry it would have to be because I loved it and had a commitment to the oral health of our patients, not because it was his profession.
The road wasn’t always easy, and I can remember calling him in tears while in dental school, worried that I wouldn’t be able to be the kind of practitioner that I wanted to be … but he was always there to listen and talk me through it. He knew just what to say and has always believed in me, even when I would question what in the world I was doing.
Thankfully my father’s faith and work ethic was passed down, and I did make it through dental school and the transition into private practice. He helped me to succeed, but in my own way, by encouraging me to travel my own unique path.
So for me, when people wonder what it is like working with my father, I tell them I am living the dream. Not only do I have an amazing family, but I am doing something I absolutely love everyday with someone I couldn’t imagine my life without. Thanks, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.
Dr. Danielle Riordan and her father, Dr. Mark Zust, operate Family Dentistry of St. Peters in the St. Louis area.