20 Questions: Chris Lundberg, DDS

Chris Lundberg, DDS, is a practicing orthodontist in Vermont, where he works at Timberlane Dental Group, a multi-specialty practice with four locations, including South Burlington, Burlington, Essex Junction, and Shelburne. Lundberg earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from The State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook. He went on to earn a doctor of dental surgery from SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, then continued his education with a master of dental science, certificate in orthodontics, from the University of Connecticut in Farmington.
Dr. Lundberg is board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, and his various professional memberships include the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontics, and Vermont State Dental Society. He currently serves as a delegate of the American Association of Orthodontics, as well as treasurer of the North Eastern Society of Orthodontics.
When did you first decide to become an orthodontist?
I decided to become an orthodontist while undergoing orthodontic treatment the summer before starting my freshman year in college. I was initially inspired by my orthodontist’s ability to make dramatic changes to my own bite and smile. I ended up spending both summer and winter breaks working in his office and observing patient care, and I quickly became committed to the career goal.
How/why did you choose the school you went to?
I chose the University of Connecticut because it offered the opportunity to study biomechanics under Dr. Charles Burstone, a true master in the field. In addition, my orthodontic mentor in dental school, Dr. Richard Faber, was also a UCONN graduate.
What surprised you the most about your studies?
I was surprised by the diversity of knowledge required to be an effective clinical orthodontist, a fact that was both challenging and extremely satisfying. Areas of study as diverse as metallurgy, physics, biostatistics and facial growth are all part of a comprehensive orthodontic training curriculum.
If you had it to do all over again, would you still become an orthodontist? (Why or why not? What would you have done instead?)
If I had it to do all over again, I absolutely would still become an orthodontist! I feel very fortunate to be practicing in a field I love and touching so many lives in a positive way.
Has being an orthodontist met your expectations? Why?
My expectations have been exceeded. I expected to be able to have a satisfying clinical practice, but I was not aware of the other outlets such as involvement in the politics of organized dentistry that have provided even greater professional fulfillment.
What do you like most about being an orthodontist?
Without question, the greatest gift is the ability to have a positive impact on the lives of my patients.
What do you like least about being an orthodontist?
Sometimes the clinical office days can be very busy! At times, I wish the pace could be a bit slower to allow for more personal interaction with each patient.
What was it like finding a job in your chosen career field? What were your options and why did you decide what you did?
When I completed my training in 1997 there were many opportunities to purchase a practice, start one from scratch, work as an associate, teach, or some combination of those. I ultimately decided to join a group practice, primarily for the camaraderie of working with other dental professionals. (Timberlane Dental Group employs six general and cosmetic dentists, three orthodontists—including Lundberg, five pediatric dentists, and a periodontist, as well as several dental assistants, hygienists, and other office personnel.)
Describe a typical day at work.
I usually start my day with a treatment conference, during which I discuss planned treatment with a new patient and often their parents. The rest of the day is spent seeing patients. I work in a group setting, so I am also often performing consultations and orthodontic evaluations for the patients of other dentists in our group.
On average: How many hours a week do you work? How many hours do you sleep per night? How many weeks of vacation do you take?
I work about four eight-hour days a week and try to sleep seven to eight hours a night. I take two to three weeks for family vacations each year. I also participate in a significant amount of continuing education and seminars.
Are you satisfied with your income?
Yes.
If you took out educational loans, is/was paying them back a financial strain?
I funded my education through work and loans. Loan repayment certainly affected my lifestyle for the first few years of practice, but eventually my income allowed me to service my loan debt and still develop a comfortable lifestyle for my family.
In your position now, knowing what you do – what would you say to yourself 10 years ago?
As happy as you are now, it only gets better!
What information/advice do you wish you had known when you were beginning school?
You will never have more time than you do now to devote yourself to studying your future profession. Enjoy the opportunity to focus on your studies before life gets that much busier.
From your perspective, what is the biggest problem in healthcare today?
The disconnect between patients and their health care professionals created by insurance, government programs and other third party payers. Health care is often considered a commodity to be provided, rationed or purchased. Real health care is a complex interaction between an individual and a skilled clinician.
Where do you see orthodontics in 10 years?
Outcomes for patients will continue to be even more precise and predictable as the profession is driven more and more by scientific research on evidence-based treatment approaches, and technological advancements will continue to provide better tools to deliver care.
What types of outreach/volunteer work do you do, if any?
I volunteer for the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists. I also coach youth lacrosse in my community.
How do you spend your free time? Any hobbies?
I spend most of my free time enjoying my family. Personal hobbies include fitness and the martial arts.
Do you have family, and if so, do you have enough time to spend with them? How do you balance work and life?
I have a wife, son and dog. Perhaps the greatest personal benefit of the profession of orthodontics is the ability to maintain a healthy and balanced life. A four-day-a-week work schedule and adequate vacation time allows me to spend plenty of time with my family and balance my personal and professional goals.
Do you have any final piece of advice for students interested in pursuing orthodontics as a career?
Orthodontics provides a special opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Dedicate yourself to your training and you will be rewarded with a professional career that can exceed your expectations.