“I’m just gonna go grab one more thing I think we’re going to need for this,” I say to my patient as I deglove. I walk out of my operatory and, ignoring the supply shelf, walk to my attending with wide eyes and raised brows. Having never actually placed a fiber post in a canal before, I wanted to be sure I was choosing the right diameter and length. Two minutes later, I walk back into the op, smile at my patient and slip back into character, them none the wiser. Showtime.
I’ve done theater my whole life. From the shows my sisters and I put on in the living room every night to consistently performing in high school, college and (once!) in dental school, I’ve loved being on stage, in rehearsals and behind the scenes of a performance. The theater world is creative, technical and, at times, cutthroat. Not dissimilar from dentistry, as I’ve learned. Each interaction with a patient is a performance, and dental school is just like rehearsal before the big, 40-year run of a production that will be your career as a dentist.
After four years in dental school, I’ve learned to approach each patient interaction with the same mindset as rehearsal. All it takes is dissecting the script and translating the experience for the audience, or in this case, the patient.
Finish reading this article in the March issue of Contour magazine.