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Like All Careers, There Are Advantages and Disadvantages to Being a Dentist

Dentistry is a rewarding career, both professionally and personally. It offers an array of career options, including working in private practice, public outreach, research, technology, and education. Some dental professionals enjoy the aspect of being a dental owner, while others prefer working in an office as an associate. The dental career offers a good work–life balance and can be financially rewarding as well. However, like all careers, there are advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of a Dental Career

Most dental professionals can agree the field has several advantages. If you have an eye for the arts and sciences, dentistry is the perfect career where you can design and sculpt to create “mini” masterpieces and help others. There is a scientific and biological component of dental work that is intellectually stimulating as well. You also get the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people. You are treating a person as a whole and not simply just treating teeth.

The most common benefits of choosing a career in dentistry include the following.

Job Stability

There is no doubt that people will always need dentists for preventative and restorative needs. The dental profession has always been a very dependable career and is typically ranked as one of the highest-paid and lowest unemployment rates in the United States. Dental professionals can educate and treat people from toddlers to geriatrics and, with the advances in technology, will continue to offer patients high quality of care. With more and more people looking to invest in cosmetic dentistry like teeth whitening because of social media, there seems to be a stable future for dentists.

Income stability is a significant factor for people choosing to become dentists. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental professionals of all specialities surpassed the six-figure salaries.

Respected Healthcare Professional

Dentistry is regarded as a highly respected profession in the healthcare community. A dental professional is trusted by their patients and peers, where they are relied upon to provide dental education and high-quality oral healthcare. Most people view dental professionals as role models in the community. In fact, the community trusts dental professionals as service-oriented professionals because they help others by improving and maintaining their self-image and function to eat, smile, and laugh.

Balanced Lifestyle

Many people opt to go into the dental field because it offers a balanced lifestyle compared to some other areas of medicine. Dentists can choose to work as an associate or practice owner and dictate the amount of time they work in a week. Some dental professionals will work full time, while others prefer to work part time or teach in a local dental school. You can work as little or as much as you desire, which can influence your income and lifestyle.

Autonomy

Dentistry is one of the greatest healthcare professions that offers clinicians the ability to work for themselves. Dentists can choose the type of practice culture they want and have the freedom to make decisions without anyone managing them, unlike in medicine. This is one of the top reasons people opt to work in the dental field.

Dentists have the flexible option to practice general dentistry or specialize in a specific field. A career as a dentist is rewarding because you can limit your practice to your preferences, whether you choose to have a more preventative focus or a surgical one. Some dental professionals decide to practice general practice orthodontics where they can provide comprehensive preventive, restorative, and orthodontic services.

Downsides of Dentistry

Like any career, there are disadvantages to being a dentist. While there are likely more positives than negatives, these are factors to consider when choosing to become a dental professional.

Physically Demanding

Dentistry can be taxing on the body. It can take a physical toll because of the difficult positions dentists have to work in to make sure their patients are comfortable but in order to successfully have a good field area to work in. The constant high-pitched sounds of dental instruments can cause hearing problems, and there is a chance you can accidentally get a needle-stick leaving you susceptible to blood-borne illnesses.

To combat any physical or health conditions, it is important to take care of your body by working in a proper ergonomic position, using four-handed dentistry, and building strong core muscles. Exercising and getting massages are excellent ways to help strengthen your body to sustain a long career. Wearing custom earplugs and protecting yourself with universal precautions can also help keep you safe.

High Education Costs

Between college and dental school, it’ll take at least eight years to become a dental professional. Dental school is expensive, and many dentists take student loans to be able to go through higher education programs. Don’t let this deter you, though. There are many flexible ways to pay off your student loans, and many dental professionals choose to specialize in advancing their careers and incomes. Many general dentists will incorporate orthodontics or dental implants into their practice to help make more income and pay off any debt.

Office Production Struggles

Like any profession, dentistry is a major responsibility. You are in charge of someone’s health, but you also operate a business where you need to manage and pay staff, overhead, and rent. If you are struggling financially, you are not alone. Many dental professionals are not prepared to manage an office because it is not a course taught in school. It takes life experience to successfully run an office.

To meet your financial goals and even surpass them, consider incorporating orthodontics into your practice by taking the Premier Straight Wire Orthodontics Course. Many general and pediatric dentists collaborate and refer out orthodontics when they can easily treat their own patients. Orthodontics can help improve financial productivity and provide better patient care because you can treat patients that already trust you.