By Toothbrush History
Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a dentist is really like? Dentists work very hard to earn their DDS, and then continue to work hard at building their practice. A day in the life of a dentist is not as easy as you think.
During your dental visit, your dentist is likely running back and forth between patients, on their feet the entire time, and working hard to provide the personalized care that each patient deserves. Let’s take a look at a day in the life of a dentist to see what it takes to manage this profession.
A day in the life of a dentist is spent caring for people. When we say caring we do not only mean using the latest technologies and skills to keep up with oral health. Dentists are not only caring providers for your oral health, but they are also educators. They spend a big part of patient care educating their patients.
For example, they talk to patients about:
Dentists have to be able to effectively communicate a lot of information to their patients. A day in the life of a dentist can mane many hours of sharing information with patients.
Patient care does not end with information sharing and the actual procedure, a dentist has to be able to calm a patient’s anxiety. They spend a part of their day calming fearful patients and establishing themselves as an expert that their patients are safe with.
Remember, all the while they are in discussion with patients they still need to remain focused on the procedure and moving along to the next patient. Patient care is an art form that requires expertise to develop.
Another part of the day in the life of a dentist is dealing with people that are not necessarily in the best frame of mind. Many patients show up at the dentist in pain, which in turn puts them in a rather bad mood. Sometimes patients can be combative with the dentist for no other reason than they are in pain and lashing out.
Dealing with irate patients is never easy, but the dentist understands that pain does strange things to people and can affect their behavior, so he or she, just keeps moving to help the patient get out of pain. However, it can be very trying and stressful when you are on the receiving end of the situation.
Luckily dental school is a very intense few years, it helps to prepare a dentist for the hectic pace they will have in their own practice. The average dentist can see between 5-30 patients per day. Typically, the number of patients is around 15. Can you imagine seeing 15 people a day every day that needs everything from simple exams to complex dental health care?
Keep in mind the average dentist that sees those 15 patients a day has to spend anywhere between 15 minutes and 1.5 hours with those patients depending on the procedure. A good dentist does not rush through the processes even though he or she may feel rushed to get to the next patient.
Most dentists arrive at the office around 8 a.m. and get right to work. While you may think that your family dental care dentist, has someone available to do everything for them, many dentists take a very active role in managing their practice. On top of providing exceptional care, they have to be concerned with the business end of their practice.
Of course, once the patients start pouring in, the dentist’s focus is all on providing excellent care, but their day does not end with the last patient. They have plenty left to do.
Part of your dentist’s responsibilities is to ensure that their office is well-staffed with highly qualified people. They also have to make sure that their practice is successful financially. They often will meet with people that help them to build their practice after hours.
They have to deal with not only staffing their office but there are other concerns that they have to deal with. The physical setting in their office and ensuring everything is in working order. They may have to stick around to meet with commercial plumbers to deal with plumbing problems that crop up. They have a really full day.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the life of a dentist is that they are all just filthy rich. The fact is most dentists leave dental school with student debt. While the cost of orthodontic treatment may seem costly to you, and highly profitable, it is not.
The best orthodontist not only has spent a lot of money on dental school, but they have had to spend even more time and cost, becoming an orthodontist. On top of that they have to pay for all the supplies for their office, their staff, and more.
When you consider the cost of braces and all the things that are going on behind that one set of braces you can see that the profit margin for your dentist is not that great. The life of a dentist is like anyone else’s life. They have bills to pay, and financial obligations that they need to meet.
Here are some of the examples of the costs that an orthodontist incurs:
Every treatment that the dentist offers requires equipment and materials. Whether it is TMJ treatments or full-on reconstructive dentistry, there are costs that are associated with it.
The life of a dentist is often dedicated to budget meetings and meeting with vendors to find the right materials at the right price. Of course, every office also needs to evolve with the times and add new equipment from time to time. For example, a water purifier installation can easily cost a couple of thousands of dollars but it is necessary to keep the practice current and competitive.
Yes, a dentist can find financial success, but it takes time and really hard work. Imagine being on your feet all day and dealing with patients for as much as 10 hours a day, then having to run a business as well. That is exactly a day in the life of a dentist looks like.
A dentist makes money, but do not confuse that with an easy way to make money. They work very hard for every dime that they earn. Of course, many dentists do pro bono work. Pro Bono means “for free”. Many dentists will volunteer part of their time to free clinics or travel to countries where dental care is not available. Most of the time they dig into their own pockets to cover costs for pro-Bono work.
Whether it is a general dentist that focuses on family dentistry or it is a dentist that specializes in reconstructive dentistry services, some of the days in the life of a dentist are dedicated to keeping their skills sharp.
Finishing dental school and being awarded a degree and passing licensure exams is not where their education ends. As a matter of fact, education for a dentist is a life long journey. Often after seeing patients all day, a dentist will head to a class, or sit for long hours and pour over professional journals to keep abreast of the latest innovations in dentistry.
In order for your dentist to provide you with the best in care, they have to dedicate some of their time to learning new skills, evaluating new technologies, and learning about new materials. The life of a dentist is a commitment to constant learning to improve patient care.
A day in the life of a dentist can be difficult to manage. Imagine caring for patients, managing a business (dental practices are small businesses), meeting family and social obligations, and finding plenty of time to study. At the very least it is a hectic lifestyle.
The day in the life of a dentist does not end with seeing the last of the patients, attending to office management duties, and keeping their skills sharp. They also have families. They have kids that need their support, spouses, parents, siblings, and other family members just like you.
After a 12-15 hour day a day in the life of a dentist often includes:
The life of a dentist is not different than yours when it comes to trying to find work-life, home life, balance. As most people know, home life can be a full-time job in itself. Your dentist is striving toward the same goals you have. They want to be successful in their career and they want to find time for family and friends. It can be a difficult task to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
A day in the life of a dentist can be busy from sunup to sundown trying to ensure that they can meet everyone’s needs, all while trying to provide the best care to their patients. Next time you visit your dentist, consider all the things that they have to cram into the life of a dentist.
Training to become a dentist is a lot like training for a triathlon. A day in the life of a dentist typically starts a few hours before they get to the office. Many dentists have an exercise regime in place that they partake in before their day at the office starts.
As professionals, DDS’s understand that there is a physical and emotional toll to caring for people day in and day out, and one of the ways to ensure that they can provide the best in care, is to care for themselves. Exercise is typically on the agenda somewhere during the day in the life of a dentist.
Exercise helps to reduce stress and beef up the immunity. Working around people all day, and reaching in their mouths is a biological hazard and can expose dental care experts to a higher incidence of colds and flu than other care providers.
Emotional exhaustion from worry and burning the candle at both ends, can also put anyone at risk of getting sick. Most dentists realize that their ability to care for patients is linked to their ability to stay healthy.
After reviewing a day in the life of a dentist you may be wondering how they are able to fit in all their responsibilities and find time to sleep. The fact is, time management is a key skill set that most dentists have developed. They may sacrifice doing things that the rest of us enjoy like watching TV or sitting around with a good book. They give it their all every single day until they are well-established, and able to have more free time.
Any health care professional’s time is consumed with taking care of others. It can be mind-boggling how much time they do not have for themselves. “Me time” is a rarity and typically left on the back burner for many years. It is not easy being a dentist, but most of them report that they are very satisfied with their profession and would not change a thing.
The next time you visit your dentist and you have to wait an extra 10 minutes past your appointment time consider all the things that the dentist is trying to get done in the day of the life of the dentist. Be compassionate to their level of dedication.
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