I often hear a patient or an acquaintance ask me some variation of the following questions:
- “Why on earth did you become a dentist?”
- “I could never look in people’s mouths all day, that’s disgusting. What would make you want to do such a thing?”
- “I hate dentists. Did you know that most people don’t like what you do?”
As a college freshman, I faced the daunting question that everyone gets asked dozens of times: “What’s your major?”
The two main subjects I enjoyed in high school were math and science. Both my dad and my brothers ended up at desk jobs. With many interests, I wasn’t sure what to do; however I knew that I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day.
I was trying to fill up my schedule after dropping an uninteresting class and my roommate told me to join his Career Exploration class. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose.
The rest, is history. I discovered the field of dentistry, worked hard, and accomplished my dream as I walked across the stage to accept my dental degree in May 2012.
Why I Enjoy Being A Dentist
While it’s true that there are some not so great things about being a dentist, but overall I enjoy what I do. Here are some reasons why:
I get to meet great people. I love getting to know my patients. As I talk with the people that sit in my dental chair, I learn a lot and get a new perspective on life.
I help make people smile. Literally! Some people hate how their teeth look. Being able to help them smile once again is very rewarding.
I can relieve pain. Before I was a dentist I remember waking up in the middle of the night and pounding the drywall in our hallway. I had a toothache. The pain was excruciating! Being able to help get rid of that kind of pain can be very rewarding.
Gain an appreciation of the human body. Teeth were engineered to come together perfectly to accomplish the different functions of chewing. The front teeth tear food, sending it to the back teeth to grind it so it can be swallowed. Dr. Pete Dawson, a world-renowned dentist I have learned a lot from stated this when dedicating his textbook:
To My God – The designer of the masticatory system who programmed a complete set of instructions into every living cell using the alphabet of DNA. It is only because an element of love was integrated into that design that the masticatory system is also the organ of speech, expression, and beauty that is reflected in our smiles.”
Dentistry is an Art Form. Building teeth after they’ve been attacked by decay or worn away by grinding is a complex art form.
Continual Learning. There’s so much to learn when it comes to different ways to treat complex dental problems. I am a member of an online dental community where dental professionals come together to learn from each other.
I can Serve Others. I got my start in dentistry assisting in a dental clinic for those going through difficult times economically. Dental clinic in Martinsville. Dentistry from the Heart.
I Get to Be My Own Boss. While it can be daunting at times to manage a business, it’s nice to know that at the end of the day, if there’s a problem, I am able to fix it without going through any red tape. The buck stops here.