I grew up in a very poor part of Appalachia, and dentistry wasn't an extremely important part of life there. We had some good dentists, but there wasn’t a lot of access because of cost, and people didn't have a lot of money. So, that added to, I went to college, I studied biology, and I love biology, and I love doing things with my hands, making things. When it came time to look for a profession, it was ... I didn't grow up wanting to be Hermie, wanting to be a dentist, but when I put all the things that I enjoyed together – just working with my hands, biology, physiology – all of those things came together. It made sense to go into dentistry.
The most rewarding part is actually finishing up a large case or any case, and moving the patient from someone who is in need, who has dental problems to someone who can stay in a stable healthy state for a long time.
I did my undergraduate training at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. It's a teeny little private college. Dental school, University of Louisville, and it's Louisville. Great school, very challenging in many ways. And I stayed on there after dental school and did the residency, Advanced Education in Prosthodontics, two years full time. And after that, I went back to my hometown of Inez and practiced for three years. Then got into a great program in Buffalo, New York.
There's a big movement now that dentistry should be evidence-based, not just something that my mentors taught me. And it's very important that you stay current, you stay up with the best journals, like get the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, the Journal of Prosthodontics, the Journal of American Dental Association, the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants. And these are monthly or bimonthly publications, and they really help you to stay up on what's going on, that and meetings, courses across the country. I go to Los Angeles periodically for a course with Nobel Biocare, the original implant company. I work with them a lot of ... I'm working with them since 1989.
Staying current is very important, but there's a balance between staying current and cutting edge. Cutting edge is great for research, and it's a great way to learn, but my philosophy is that you don't use cutting edge on your patients, because it isn't proven yet. So, I try not to use any treatment that's not fully proven.
Dr. Rick Jude practices restorative, denture, and implant dentistry (prosthetic dentistry) in Olympia. There, he earned his certificate in maxillofacial prosthetics. This field of dentistry is referred to as prosthodontics. It is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
There are several reasons why Dr. Jude is qualified to provide this type of dental care. After earning his dental degree at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1989, he completed two specialty dental residencies. The first was in advanced education in prosthetic dentistry. Successful completion of this two-year training program, also at the University of Louisville, earned him a certificate in prosthodontics.
The second residency was in advanced education in maxillofacial prosthetics and dealt with treating people who had cancer, traumatic injuries, or congenital defects in the oral and facial area. Dr. Jude completed this one-year program at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, which operates in conjunction with the State University of New York at Buffalo. There, he earned his certificate in maxillofacial prosthodontics.
Dr. Jude has also lectured all over the U.S. and as a full-time faculty member, teaching dental students and dentists about dental prosthetics at three different universities, including the University of Washington.
Outside of the office, Dr. Jude takes care of his chocolate Lab, Piper, and his newest addition to the family, Moose, a golden retriever. His hobbies include reading and coffee. He constantly strives to make the perfect cup of coffee and is an avid collector of antique espresso machines.
Originally from Eastern Kentucky, Dr. Jude has found his home in the cool and lush Pacific Northwest. Autumn is his favorite season, and you will never hear him complain about the rain!