Neil Singh installed as first New Dentist Director

Singh-NeilA new board director position, set aside for a New Dentist (a CDS member under the age of 40), was approved by the CDS Board of Directors in 2020, and its inaugural office-holder has been sworn in to serve in 2022.

Neil Singh, an endodontist who is a member of the Englewood Branch, was selected to serve in the one-year term in a position created to recognize the importance of getting younger dentists involved in leadership early.

Dr. Singh had served as president of the Englewood Branch and was nominated by Englewood Branch Director Joseph G. Unger with consultation of fellow Englewood member and incoming CDS Treasurer Denise Hale.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Unger wrote that Dr. Singh had shown himself to be “an enthusiastic go-getter and problem-solver” in his time as branch president and officer and is a “team player and has a very strong desire to continue to give back to our profession.”

Dr. Singh earned his DMD degree at Nova Southeastern University, College of Dental Medicine, in June 2014. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Miami. The one-year, non-voting term will rotate through the nine CDS branches with the nomination being approved by the CDS Board of Directors at its summer retreat. Duties include attending the Illinois State Dental Society annual session and Capital Conference and serving on the CDS Membership Committee. In keeping with his “go-getter” reputation, Dr. Singh opened his endodontic practice at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and has worked hard to make it successful. He grew up in the northwest suburbs and moved back to the Chicago area from Florida.

Being away for 12 years meant he did not have any professional connections and saw it as imperative for him to become involved in organized dentistry, Dr. Singh said. That move led to his first associate position, and he decided to strike out on his own in 2020.

“The more and more I’ve gotten involved (in CDS), it’s done nothing but help me, help me spread my roots and make new friends,” he said. “I’m happy to be part of it.”

Although there is a positive social aspect to being involved in CDS, he said the benefits help him professionally.

“The more I got involved the more I realized that this is more than just a place to grab dinner and drinks with a colleague in the same field,” he observed.

That is one of the selling points he thinks some early career dentists are missing, but he sees things changing. With heavy student debt to consider, some recent graduates focused on making money to pay them off as quickly as possible. But his generation is also becoming more socially aware, he noticed, and that will bode well for organized dentistry to attract younger dentists.

“I feel like things are starting to take a turn more toward social media, more people getting involved,” Dr. Singh said. “There was a small lull where nobody knew what anybody was doing, everybody graduated with $100,000 to $200,000 loans and the whole culture became about … forget the CDS, forget all these memberships … you don’t need that, you just need to make money.”

If younger dentists do that, he said, they won’t find happiness and will miss out on the camaraderie component of dentistry, which he sees as “a big part of the profession” and helps with career growth.

“I think a big message that needs to be sent to the newer grads is that it’s actually fun to get involved, and not only is it fun, but it helps your career grow quite a bit,” Dr. Singh said.