Confessions of a Recovering Dentist
Confessions of a Recovering Dentist
After 10 years in practice, I was so burnt out that I could no longer practice dentistry. This blog shares my experiences to inspire other dentists to find career happiness-- whether in or out of dentistry.
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10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too (Anniversary)

10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too (Anniversary)

11/24/2021 11:47:08 AM   |   Comments: 0   |   Views: 16

Help me celebrate the 10-Year Anniversary of 10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too!

On November 17, 2011, I turned in my last key to the last dental office I ever worked in. It was a momentous day. I had spent 10 years as a dentist and hated dentistry and my life. For years I felt stuck in the wrong career, and I didn’t know how to change. I thought I had no other skills besides being a dentist. Couple that with the fact that no one in the field ever mentioned they hated dentistry as well. Thinking I was the only one, I kept this a secret for most of the 10 years I was in practice. I always did my best at work, and I felt ashamed for what I thought was a failure.

I didn’t know where to turn, but I knew I couldn’t stay where I was. In my process to change, I began blogging. I blogged about food and travel– 2 things that I loved. The truth is, nobody read my blog. Then one day I came across a blog post titled “10 Reasons I Hate the Dentist.” The post was meant to be funny and silly, so I thought I’d have a little fun with it and show the author the other side of the coin.

I had no idea that my blog post would go viral overnight.

It obviously struck a chord. It has been 10 years since I wrote this post. It was originally written on November 28, 2011. Enjoy!

10 years ago I left my career because I hated dentistry. I cut some dead weight out of my life, and when I wrote this post, I felt ready to look back and have a laugh– or just finally be able openly bitch about it.  So here’s my confession: I hated being a dentist. A few months prior to writing this, I came across a funny post titled, “10 Reasons I Hate The Dentist.”  It appeared right when I was in the thick of my career transition.  It inspired me to write this, so, RedHead Chronicles, thank you for the inspiration. If you hate the dentist, you might be surprised to know that your dentist hates some of the things you do too.

hated dentistry

10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too

1.  The first thing you say when you sit down in my chair is, “I hate the dentist.”

Really?!? Did your parents teach you any manners? Did they ever teach you that it is impolite to tell someone you hate them the moment you greet them? What I really want to say back is, “aww, I hate you too.”

2.  You come to your appointment, and it’s obvious you haven’t brushed your teeth in days.

I’ve had some people with great hygiene come in and apologize because they’ve just eaten lunch and couldn’t brush. This is not what I’m talking about. I mean food and thick plaque everywhere. After 10 years of seeing blood and rotten teeth and some really nasty things, this is still the 1 thing that makes me dry heave. You know when you come to us that we have to be in your mouth. Would you clean your home before having company? Additionally, I have spent hours literally bending over backwards repairing your teeth. Could you at least pretend that you are caring for the work that I have struggled to complete for you?

3.  After we have spent hours of meticulously repairing your teeth, you complain about the bill.

Would you walk out of the grocery store with a bag full of groceries and expect not to pay? I’ve just helped you continue to smile and eat comfortably, two pretty valuable things that help your quality of life.

4.  I tell you that you have a cavity and you need a filling, and you wait months or even years to get the necessary work done.

Eventually the tooth starts hurting. Two weeks of pain go by, and you call me on a Saturday night while I am at dinner with friends because your tooth that needed a filling a year ago and that started hurting 2 weeks ago is suddenly an emergency.

5.  You come to me so I can help you, but you make it hard for me to do a good job.

You wince and make faces when it’s not hurting. The idea that I’m hurting you makes me just as uncomfortable and stressed as you are.  If it hurts, please tell me, and I can help you with that. But if it’s because you don’t like the whole experience, you are only causing me to work in undesirable conditions, making it harder to do my best. And when you push your tongue in the way, or you don’t open wide enough, it makes it physically impossible to get my work done. Don’t you want it to be easy for me to do the best job for you?

6.  You call and say, “my tooth didn’t hurt before you worked on it.” You came to me with a cavity.

I did not put it there. You did. I am simply fixing a rotten hole that was in your tooth. To do so, I must use a tiny drill to cut the rot out of your tooth. If I took a drill, cut a hole in your femur bone, and then filled it in with a foreign material, don’t you think it might be sore for a while? Same concept.

7.  When we try to take an x-ray, you won’t bite down on it. We have to do this to see what is going on with your tooth.

Without knowing the problem, we can’t properly treat you. I know, in some cases some people really can’t do it; but some people could and won’t just suck it up for 15 seconds. I’ve had x-rays too, and they hurt and dig into my gums, but I just do it.

8.  You tell me that you bought my car for me after having a crown done.

Contrary to how it seems, you actually didn’t buy me a car. You bought yourself a crown. I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education, and have spent hours making this crown fit precisely in your mouth, so maybe you helped me make a tiny portion of a student loan payment. But you certainly didn’t buy my car.

9.  You no-show an appointment or cancel last-minute.

Some things are unavoidable, but when it’s because your hairdresser got a last-minute cancellation, and you had to take that appointment instead, this is just rude. Not only am I unable to fill the 2 hours of my schedule that I reserved specifically for you, but someone else who wanted to get in had to wait 2 weeks for his/her appointment.  And on that note, when you have the first appointment of the day, and you show up late for your appointment, I am late for every other patient the rest of the day.

10.  When I tell you that you grind your teeth, you deny it, as if I am accusing you of having a horrible disease or being a baby murderer.

It’s not that bad to be a tooth grinder. I’m just pointing something out and maybe offering a way to prevent more problems in the future. This observation is concluded from signs or symptoms that are based on real science, not myth.

And along those lines… bonus #11. You tell me a diagnosis I make is simply wrong without listening to me. If you know so much, why are you coming to me? You do the filling or root canal yourself. You obviously don’t need me.

Aaahhh… this vent session helped a lot back when I hated dentistry!

If this isn’t you, I am sure your dentist loves you. You are probably the bright spot of his/her day. You should feel great knowing that if your dentist hated dentistry, you were the one bright spot in their career. You were the reason they kept going. But it makes you wonder, how do you behave when you go to the dentist? And most importantly, are you making it easy for your dentist to give you the kind of care you want and deserve?

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