Check, checkmate: How dentistry is just like a game of chess


Ever since I was five, Friday evenings were designated as board game night with my family. Games were an integral part of my mother’s early days and she wished to fill my childhood with the ones that contributed most to her life.

She tells me that of all the games I learned, I insisted on playing chess more often and we kept playing until I started winning. As a child, little did I know the impact this game would have on my life. It’s only now that I realize how it has shaped me and my life as a dentist.

The chessboard is the treatment plan, the pieces are the dentists. The rules of the game are what we call ethics and the patient’s molars, our king.

Like a PAWN, we often have to make the first move fearlessly and confidently to protect our profession. Our role is of utmost importance in the beginning of any case in order to get the best and the most desired outcome. The pawn teaches us to make these decisions with courage and caution and there is much to learn from this piece on the chessboard.

As the KNIGHT does, there are situations where we might have to take the path less travelled. The books may not always have an answer. Sometimes an uncommon approach to treating our patients is the most effective solution and we have to drift away from a trend in order to maximize the benefits. Do not be afraid to travel this road. Be the knight in shining armour!

The BISHOP patrols the long distance move on the board and has a far reaching vision. It goes without saying how important this trait is in our profession and the value of treatment planning. Always take the time to discuss your ideas and goals with your patient. This is the key to establishing a successful practice.

The ROOKS form the castle walls and are known to protect the kingdom, especially during war. Just like the rook, our specialists are the pillars we lean on during difficult times and complicated situations. Why do we need them? Because they are our silent guardians and watchful protectors.

Our skills and manual dexterity need to be prioritized and they undoubtedly resemble the most valuable piece on the chess board, the QUEEN. We possess unlimited potential and if utilized correctly, we can defeat the opponent. Make sure you save this piece until the end and victory shall be yours!

All the kings men and the soldiers fight to protect the KING. Similarly, we are always trying to fight bacteria and diseases to save the dentition. We become each and every piece within the game called DENTISTRY. Knowing which move to make comes with insight, knowledge and the experiences we accumulate along the way.

However, working together as a team is necessary for any game. In the game we play, a multidisciplinary approach involving our specialists, a good treatment plan and consistent improvement at dexterity is what it takes for a successful CHECKMATE.

~Bhoomi Kotak, Boston ’17

You might also like:

About Bhoomi Kotak

Bhoomi is originally from India and moved to the United States after graduating with a bachelors in dentistry in 2013. Besides spending time on academic and constitutional development, Bhoomi makes time to travel and visit new places. She enjoys meeting people of different origins and it is her dream to step foot on all 7 continents. Painting is her creative outlet and reading helps her relax. She looks forward to a lifelong involvement in organized dentistry and hopes to leave an impact with her passion and dedication.

You might also like:

Comments (7)

Add a comment

  • (will not be published)

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.