The most recent statistics state that 8 out of 10 people hate their jobs. So it really is not surprising when I get asked the question, “So do you like what you do?” The answer to everyone remains the same no matter what’s going on in my life or career, “I love my job.”
It took me a very long time to really be able to appreciate the fact that I never wrestled with the uncertainty of what I was going to do with my life. As cliche as it sounds, I did not pick dentistry, dentistry picked me. It picked me at the whopping age of six. I can remember driving far away from my house and heading over to this cute stone building with grand windows and pretty flowers on the outside. My mom would open the door and the dental office “smell” just slapped us in the face each time- I loved that smell. This was Dr. Nick Limbert’s pediatric dental office. His wife, who worked front desk, always greeted us warmly. His assistants always called you by name and had the greatest knack for striking up the most interesting conversations with kids of all ages (a skill I am jealous of to this day).
One thing people talk about all the time are the old fashioned bite tabs used to take X-rays. Yes they hurt, but I remember always being complimented that I was one of the kids they never had trouble with. Of all the things I heard as a kid, that for whatever reason stuck with me.
His dog Struddle waddled freely through the office, neither eager nor disengaging. The dental chairs were green and all faced the window to view the back “yard.” I can remember the glass always being so crystal clean. The assistants came over and put my over-sized bib on and leaned the chair back with the bright overhead light which made me think of outer space.
The hygienist would clean my teeth before Dr. Nick came over and shoved his sausage fingers in my tiny yet mighty mouth. Looking back he didn’t have the peppy personality of the pediatric dentists I know today. For the most part he never spoke, and we never had a real conversation until I was 17.
But it was all the little nuances of those dental visits that made me grow to love being in that office and wanting to be there more often. My teeth grew in rotten from my parents giving me a bottle to sleep with, so I spent more time at the dental office than the average healthy mouth child. I was never scared or had anxiety about going despite having underwent a lot of invasive work but never once did I have a negative experience in that office.
So from six to nineteen I wanted to be a dentist to be in a cool office setting (I’m the weirdo that loves the sound of the drill). When I started shadowing at the age of twenty I saw firsthand how these dentists were actually helping people.
My junior year of college I met a dentist from Brookview Dental that I began shadowing. I spent well over 100 total hours at his office and participated in an event called Dentistry from the Heart, which provided free dental work on a first come first serve basis.
I love connecting with people on a one to one basis, which opening up my own practice has allowed me to do. I have worked in offices that had me bouncing from room to room and not only was it exhausting to me, but it’s a disservice to the patient. I can do the type of dentistry now that is in the best interest of the patient and not some higher-up that is not even a doctor.
There was a point in time where local doctors and dentists were seen a respectable figures in their communities. Due to a lot of unethical behaviors over the decades have left a bad taste in the mouths of the general public towards us. I want to try to change how people feel about their dental experience and show them that ethical practitioners still exists.