Being a dentist may be #2 on their list but for me, It's #1. Why dentistry is #2 on the U.S News list combines factors such as income, job security and life style; but just because you would like to enjoy these characteristics in a job does not mean that everyone would count dentistry as their #1 choice for employment. I hear patients say things like: How can you stand doing this all day?, How does it feel to hear that people hate to come see you? I think what you have to see and do must be just gross!
My patients often ask, "How did you decide to become a dentist?" I think most of the time they are expecting an answer involving a early life obsession with teeth. Honestly, it was not that well thought out. I planned to go to medical school. In my final year of college, my roommate was headed to dental school, his father was a dentist. He asked me to help him study for the DAT and suggested that I take the test as well. It turns out that I did quite well on that test and more or less decided that going to dental school seemed like a great option; but still with little thought or knowledge of what being a dentist really meant.
Dental school is a combination of studying for exams and learning the medical sciences as well as the hands on training to learn the craft of fixing teeth and restoring smiles. However having the intellect and the skills to matriculate through dental school still are not enough to make a good dentist. The chair-side skills to make a patient feel comfortable throughout their treatment, confident that they are in good hands during what can be a scary and uncomfortable situations is really not something that can be taught. But this is probably the most important difference from someone who graduated from dental school and a great dentist. As a practicing dentist for over 20 years I am lucky to have found a career that fits my personal talents: The combination of people skills, communication skills along with the ability to perform the actual dental procedures allows me and my team to create an exceptional patient experience. I am truly blessed to be able to say "Being a dentist tops my list for best jobs!"