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Do you need a rewrite? – New Dentist Blog

“Dr. Vaughn. I wanted to ask you. . . do you enjoy dentistry?”

“Interesting,” I thought. “What a simple, straightforward yet completely complicated and intricately loaded question I have just been asked by this bright-eyed, good-intentioned college student.”

Dr. Vaughn

“Y-Yeah. . . I do.”

I paused. I could feel the sweat accumulating on my forehead. Could he feel my unease? He appeared content with my answer. However, I knew that he was seeking out something more spunk. He was there shadowing me to determine if applying for dental school was the right decision for him.

It is the truth. . . This is something I hesitate to admit right now. . . was that I didn’t.

I didn’t enjoy dentistry All.

It wasn’t dentistry as a profession. It was not. Really. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the Idea I loved being a dentist. It wasn’t that I enjoyed too much of it either though. It was the fact that I felt extremely unhappy and dissatisfied with the dental practice I was a part of at the moment. The only reason I felt the need to keep going was because most of my friends were doing it. AlsoDentists who AlsoThey hated their jobs.

Perhaps you have a similar story.

What was it? It is supposedYou would say it anyway? I find every day that I have a drill in my hands my favorite day. That he’ll pay off his $400,000 student loan with incredible speed and ease? That upon graduation, he’ll hang a sign out front of a building and have patients busting down his door to shove wads of cash in his hand? That as long as he gets good grades in school, he’s guaranteed to be successful?

Because that sounds exactly what it’s like to be a young dentist in 2022, right?

No, I think the secret’s finally out of the bag. The U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Jobs” annual rankings may have only just now figured it out, but we’ve known dentistry hasn’t been the nation’s “best career” for some time. Sure, we’re still earning top spots on national lists, that’s true. But I’d argue that “highest loan payment” isn’t a trophy I want on my shelf.

Seven years after graduating from dental school, I have learned quite a bit about the profession. The most challenging lesson and one I wish we had shouted out loudly is the stark disconnect between what we expect from our profession and what we actually experience in the first few years. Dentistry for many of us in my generation has not turned out to be the rewarding, respected “golf-every-Friday” career I had heard so much about in college. For many, it hasn’t been the guaranteed return on investment with “99.9% success” that I was promised by corporate bankers in my dental school practice management course. It hasn’t been a career that rewards you with happiness, contentment, and purpose simply because you work hard. This disconnect can have a devastating effect on our mental health, particularly early in our careers.

What I’ve learned along the way though, and what I must occasionally remind myself of, is that we have a say in how our own story is written. You’re the author. You are the author of your story.

Happiness does not come as a reward. It’s a consequence.

It’s a product of our actions, of our decisions. Purpose, happiness, fulfillment. Whatever you’re searching for, it happens when you make a conscious decision to not “just deal with it,” but to Make a change!. It took me a few years to learn that it’s OK to Not be in love with dentistry. It’s OK to not enjoy your job. But what’s notIt’s okay to pretend you do, and accept that this is what it takes to be a dentist.

That’s the prologue to a very sad story.

Yes, it could be our profession.IsChange is inevitable. Perhaps the golden age of medicine is over and we will never be able to get it back. But just because the profession is changing doesn’t mean that You can’t find your absolutely perfect place within it.

My job was no longer a good fit for me. I’m back in school now. It’s a different feeling being a resident. I’m literally thousands of miles away from my general dentistry days, but it’s the very first time in my career that I’ve felt content in an operatory. It felt like everything was in its proper place.

Not everyone needs a complete rewrite. Sometimes you just need to move on to the next scene. My favorite truth of dentistry is and always has been that there’s something there for everyone. It’s just a matter of finding the right place.

So if you’re like I was and maybe you’ve hit a stretch of those dark days of dentistry, don’t give up. Whatever your situation may be, and whatever your story. Today, tomorrow and every day after. Never settle for less than happiness.

Dr. Joe Vaughn, an endodontics resident at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia is currently. In 2015, he graduated from dental school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He then moved to Seattle to finish a GPR program at University of Washington. Since 2015, he has been a member the American Dental Association.He has held various leadership positions at every level of the tripartite. He is passionate about organized dental care, writing, and interacting with dentists to discuss the many challenges we face in today’s profession. He is available at. jkvaughn44@gmail.com.


Do you need a rewrite? – New Dentist Blog

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