The pay may be good, but it is ill-advised to dive into a career in dentistry, without knowing if you will be able to develop the qualities essential to overcome the challenges that this job role can pose.
Master the Poker Face
The best dentist will have to face several patients on a daily basis, who will have questionable levels of oral hygiene. He or she will therefore need to cope with and contain any feelings of disgust, in order to be able to carry out their job and prevent offending their patients. This requires a certain level of maturity and understanding, in order to not show any outward reaction to the foul breath emanating from a patients mouth or the decaying food particles trapped between yellowing teeth. A dentist that shames or insults patients instead of giving them the help and advice they need, cannot be a good one, and most certainly will not be a popular one.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Your Hands Dirty
Dentistry is a very hands-on job. Day-in and day-out, you will have to use your practical skills to inspect, clean, and perform routine dental procedures inside patients’ mouths. This will include yanking out teeth and filling in cavities and fixing broken teeth. As such you need to have a strong stomach that can handle dealing with blood, gore and saliva. If all this makes you extremely squeamish, this may not be the career for you. Everyday could end up seeming like a nightmare rather than a dream.
Be Human, Be Humble
This doesn’t always seem to be the case with doctors these days, but being a good mouth care practitioner requires a good dose of empathy. When a patient climbs onto your dentist chair, they are putting their trust in you not only to solve their medical issues, but also to treat them with care and respect. Whether are they crying children, dawdling senior citizens or scared adults, you will need to demonstrate patience and understanding.
There is a level of vulnerability that we all choose to accept in laying back on that chair. Accordingly, treat your patients with kindness. Keep them informed about every step you are going to take, especially those that may cause pain or discomfort. Be willing to take the time and effort to answer medical questions in layman’s terms. Respect that that even though you may be the expert, your patient has a right to be in control of what happens to their body.
Take the time to understand the demands of this job role and to understand yourself, in order to make sure it’s the right fit, before you commit.