Think of this episode as a love letter to the Protruserati. We share the same struggles, and this episode could easily have been called the 6 STRUGGLES of a Comprehensive Dentist.
Here they are:
- You take your work home with you
Dentistry was either mis-sold to me, or I was just naive. When I was a Dental student I read a young dentist magazine. It had a segment dedicated to interviews with DF1 Dentists who had finished their first year in practice.
‘What do you love most about being a Dentist?,’ was one of the questions. One answer caught my eye: ‘I love that I do not take my work home with me.’
I loved that! But after almost 8 years out of dental school, I can tell you (and my wife can testify!) that I find it impossible to be a comprehensive Dentist and NOT bring my work home with me.
Treatment planning, organising photos, letters to patients, clinchecks and the list is endless – it will be a longer list for practice owners!
- New patient examinations will drain you
It takes a lot of emotional energy to see new patients. There is a difference between the 15 minute new patient exam and the 45 minutes or 1 hour new patient exam.
The longer appointments to learn what the patients goals are and help find the right solutions can be extremely challenging and require intense focus, and dare I say, showmanship.
As my principal (Hap Gill) once taught me, we are in show business.
- You have more to give and more to say
The classic sign of this is that your Nurse is always nagging you that ‘you talk too much’.
You just want to make the patient’s experience as valuable as possible!
- You dont earn enough money
Controversial. I know. If I could double your income but simplify your Dentistry and limit you to single tooth dentistry – you would probably say no. THAT speaks volumes.
You do it for the bigger picture and for passion.
Yes the comprehensive Dentist MIGHT gross more, but the amount of money you spend on equipment and courses can be eye-watering. That, and your hourly rate from all the work you do it home is ever-diminishing.
- Patients always say ‘you are the first person who told me this’ or, the more sinister cousin, ‘why has no dentist ever told me this before?!’
I never know what is the right way to handle this. I just smile and say ‘I love my job so much, that sometimes I care more about a patient’s mouth than they do!’ To clarify, I am suggesting I care more than the patient (not more than any previous Dentist – we should never throw our colleagues under the bus).
6. If someone ever stole your laptop, they would be so dissapointed
Admit it. Your phone and laptop is full of forum screenshots, lecture photos, teeth, abscesses, shade matching photos (heaven forbid) and the odd bitewing for good measure!
If you enjoyed this episode, you will also like 12 Rules for Dentistry with David Bretton!