We have all heard classmates say, “I hate public speaking.” Some might have chosen dentistry with the intent to avoid public speaking. In reality, you will give many speeches throughout your dental school education and career. These speeches may not involve podiums, but the messages are no less significant. On a daily basis, we talk to patients, faculty and our peers. All of these interactions reflect on you as a professional.
From the Archives
After working as an associate for a couple of years, you’ll start thinking seriously about whether to become an independent practice owner or remain an employee for your career. This is a personal decision and there really isn’t a right or wrong answer, unless you make the decision based on bad information. I’ve heard dental students and recent grads share a few misconceptions over the years about what it’s like for those who choose to become business owners. I’d like to set the record straight here. Here are the three biggest myths about owning a practice.
Most students and faculty who organize and participate in overseas mission trips are motivated by the sincere desire to help others. Often they pay for their own travel through combinations of personal assets, donations and active fundraising. I think these mission trips are well-intended acts of caring. However, as a public health dentist I question the decision to spend so much time and money providing services that generally do very little to eliminate the underlying disease process, do not empower communities to improve their health status and waste resources on travel that might be spent in a much more cost-effective way to achieve improved oral health.
One of the most well-known ideas in the business world is: “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” What this really means is that when you decide to do something, there is always something that you could have done instead, but chose not to. The “thing you could have done” is a lost opportunity. You gave up something to do or get something else. This idea is known as “opportunity cost.”
As dental students we have done it hundreds of times already: local anesthesia. It’s may be the only procedure we have 100% confidence in completing. It’s like July 4th fireworks going off in dental brains because the patient’s “lip feels huge” and it is time to start the procedure. Yet, on a rare occasion, when we go through the normal routine with the appropriate dosage of anesthesia, they still have sensation. What gives?
Imagine yourself 10 years from now, running a successful dental practice in your hometown. After a long day of seeing patients, you run through a mental checklist of everything that needs to be done. Did all the lab work get sent out? Are charts up to date? Did the front desk call patients to remind them of their appointments?
What if you also had to figure out what time Kobe Bryant’s helicopter would land outside your office? Or navigate through 20 miles of infamous Southern California rush hour traffic to make it just in time for tipoff ? This is the world of Dr. Jeffrey Hoy, the team dentist for the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.
A fearful patient can pose a considerable treatment challenge, especially for dental students who may unintentionally miss signals that their patient is uncomfortable.
Dr. Peter Milgrom, professor of oral health sciences at the University of Washington and founder and former director of its Dental Fears Research Clinic, believes that students lacking clinical experience “tend to completely focus on technical procedures” or “feel under pressure to perform at a certain rate” because of clinic time constrictions or limited rest breaks.