Visiting Dentist: How I Have Chosen My Future Career
After I graduate high school, I plan on pursuing a career as a pediatric dentist. I chose this because I enjoy children and would love to get the opportunity to help them; this career can help me do that. I want to be a pediatric dentist because I know how important dental hygiene is, and I want to be the one who helps these children and makes them enjoy going to the dentist. I want every child to experience the dentist as I did, an exuberant place. Not a place that is frightening to them.
Ever since I was younger I always felt as though I would want to become a dentist and that I would be a good one. Visiting my dentist and seeing how he would help so many children for them to have a better life, fixing cavities, putting in fillings. I also think this would be an interesting and exciting career. When I look at someone one thing I’ll notice is their smile or teeth. I want to help children have healthier teeth and maintain healthy teeth in order to prevent them from getting cavities so they can feel confident about their smiles.
When I was younger, my visits to the dentist would always be enjoyable; I loved visiting the dentist. I can still remember sitting on the couch waiting to get my X-rays. I always had to wait a little while because we would do our X-rays from oldest to youngest ( I was the second youngest out of my five siblings). Then when it’s finally my turn for an X-ray, which they just called it pictures not to scare us, they would put the seat down and help me up. Then they would slowly crank it back up and put the vest on me. After taking my “pictures” I would then sit on the couch again and wait my turn to get my teeth cleaned. Finally, when it was my turn I’d sit in that seat waiting for my dentist to come to look at my teeth. I’d answer the same questions every time “Are you brushing at night?”, “Yes Sir”. “Are you flossing?”, “Sometimes”. Then they’d proceed to tell me to make sure I floss at least twice a week. After getting my teeth checked and polished I would get to pick out my toothpaste. There were so many choices, yet I got the same one each time, bubblegum. After they were finished brushing my teeth I got to pick out a toy. This was probably why I liked going to the dentist so much because I knew every time I’d go I would get to pick out a toy I wanted. There were so many options to choose from: bracelets, bouncy balls, little rubber ducks, cars, etc. You name it they had it. I also enjoyed going there because they were very nice to me, and always made my time there fun. These were life-changing experiences for me that made me want to become a dentist. My dentist inspired me by the way he was able to help so many children.
A dentist examines and treats disease or injury to teeth and gums. There is always going to be a need for a dentist because everybody has teeth, who do you go see if you have a bad toothache that doesn’t go away or if you chipped a tooth? A dentist. “There will always be a demand for primary care physicians, nurses, and dentists, but one distinguishing factor about dentistry is that generally speaking, fifty percent of the population does not have a dentist in three years. That means fifty percent of the population is underserved by a dentist; that figure presents a huge opportunity for professional dental growth.” This was said by Gregory Cumberford, DDS, GPR. Dentists make a high salary, so if all of the people who weren’t visiting the dentist would make appointments, this would raise the amount of money they make, and in return, there would be a larger need for dentists. They are also expecting the demand for dentists to grow about sixteen percent by the year 2022 because many dentists are expected to retire in the next decade.
The salary of a dentist is relatively large compared to other occupations. The salary of a dentist in Louisiana ranges from $125,300 to $164,090, with the average being about $140,324. Salaries can also vary depending on the city you work in, your education, certifications, other skills, and the number of years you’ve spent in that profession. A Pediatric Dentist’s median salary is about the same as a regular dentist’s, it’s $142,350, while the high is $241,995. Being a dentist has many benefits, one of them is that once you become a dentist you can specialize in whatever area of dentistry you want to. You also have a bit of freedom and flexibility most dentists are their own bosses and make up their own schedules.
Most people say that they would never want to be a dentist, much less a pediatric dentist. Having to examine and clean teeth when they may not be clean, or their breath may stink. Also dealing with children, they may get scared, cry, or they may even bite. However, I was never one of these people, we don’t ever really think about how much we need our teeth. We use our teeth to eat our food, and also we use them to speak. If you try saying thirty-three thieves thundered through thick thorns, without your tongue touching your top teeth; it’s hard. This is why we need to take care of our teeth.
When I was younger I never had any cavities thanks to my doctor. That really helped my self-esteem knowing that I had healthy teeth. I must admit being a pediatric dentist may be hard at times though. When your patients are adults you can ask them questions and they can respond and let you know what’s wrong. When working with children it may sometimes be harder because they can’t always tell you what the problem is. Being a pediatric dentist you have to deal with the parents, and sometimes the parents think they know what’s best for the child. Even though you may think a certain treatment might be better for the child, you have to respect the parent’s decision.
Pediatric dentists provide services such as teeth cleaning and polishing. They administer dental sealants and fluoride treatments that prevent tooth decay; also they diagnose future problems the patient may be at risk. A full-time pediatric dentist spends around thirty-six hours a week at work and thirty-three of those hours are spent with patients. Most people who are going to be a pediatric dentist first get a bachelor’s degree which is four years, then attend a dental school which is four years, and then go for an additional two years to specialize as a pediatric dentist. Admission to dental school is very competitive and there are only sixty-six dental schools in the United States. “The two to three extra years of training focuses on the treatment of developing teeth, child behavior, and psychology, making children feel comfortable, child’s physical growth, and special requirements of children’s dentistry.” They also receive training for special needs children.
As part of our senior project, we were required to job shadow a person in the particular profession we would like to go into. I had the opportunity to shadow some of the dentists/ dental hygienists at the very own dentist’s office I have been visiting since I was younger, in Opelousas. I observed several different people while they worked with patients, one of them was Toni Torres, a dental hygienist. She had to help take x-rays on the children, first, she explained to them what they were going to be doing. She then proceeded to fix the machine so she could get a clear picture of their teeth. They had trouble with one child, it was her first time taking x-rays and she was nervous. She would move her tongue and bite down too hard causing the picture to not be visible. After a couple of tries, they eventually got a clear x-ray. She had to be patient with the little girl while trying to take the x-rays; she also had to make sure the little girl wouldn’t get scared because that would cause her to cry, causing a larger problem. Most of what Dr. Torres did was polish teeth and administer fluoride to children’s teeth.
I also had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Whitney, a recent graduate of dental school, who went two extra years to specialize as a pediatric dentist. I looked at x-rays, while she explained to me what I was looking at. She showed me x-rays of a patient from that day and then from six months ago; you could see where the cavity was now and how it wasn’t there six months ago. While I was there a child came in who needed a filling and two silver caps. She started off by numbing his mouth, she told him she was about to squirt her water and he needed to close his eyes so she didn’t get it in them. She then proceeded to give him a numbing shot, they tell them it was water not to scare them. After about eight minutes his mouth was numb and she started working on the filling. Once she put the filling in I handed her the LED curing light I was holding, and she turned it on and put it over the filling. The curing light makes the filling hard so it doesn’t fall out.
After doing the filling it was time to work on the silver caps, she had to try several different caps to find the ones that fit perfectly. Once she found the right ones, they put the glue on them and pushed on the teeth. While doing these the little boy moved a lot and would try to close his mouth so it took Dr. Whitney a little longer than usual. After she was finished she talked to me about schooling. She said how she had to go the two extra years to get special training for children and the two extra years allowed her to be able to put the children to sleep while she was working on them if she needs to.
Some of the pros of being a pediatric dentist are that you have a good income, and you get to be your own boss. Also, you get respect, dentist are generally highly trusted and respected. If you like to work with people, being a dentist is a great job for you because you have a lot of patients to work with. Being a dentist you do a variety of different jobs that may be challenging and interesting; no two days are the same. There is always excitement, while working with children there is never a dull moment. Being your own boss you are able to make your own hours, so you will be able to work the hours you want. Pediatric dentists get the chance to offer solutions that can fix problems with their patients. Creativity is often used while trying to solve problems, most pediatric dentists are creative. Being a dentist there will always be a demand for dental services.
Some of the cons of being a pediatric dentist are that the education you need to become a pediatric dentist takes ten years. The schooling is long and getting into dental school is very competitive. The costs of the ten years of school are fairly expensive; you have to pay tuition at college for the four years it takes to get a bachelor’s degree, and also the four years of dental school plus the two years to specialize in pediatrics. Being a pediatric dentist comes with high responsibility, you are in charge of a child’s health; this can also lead to stress. Having the keep the patients happy, and having pressure on you to do your best can be very stressful and overwhelming at times. Opening up your practice can be expensive, this is part of the reason why it costs so much to go to the dentist. Being a pediatric dentist you have to deal with some patients with bad breath or gross mouths. After you have been working a while you will get used to it, but at first, it can be challenging.
There are several physical stresses and risks that come with being a pediatric dentist. It takes a toll on your body, you’re either on your feet or sitting in an uncomfortable chair. Pediatric dentists are trying to work and see in small places and they are often contorted for long periods of time. Hearing the constant high-pitched buzzing sound of a drill can lead to hearing loss in some dentists. However, there are stretches and daily exercises to help with the muscle pain, and massages help heal the muscles. Also to prevent hearing loss dentists can wear earplugs, although several of them do not.
Surprisingly dentists have one of the highest suicide rates, up there with farmers. This might be due to the fact that a study in 2015 by the American Dental Association showed that “eleven percent of dentists responding were diagnosed with depression, while the rate for the general population was 6.7 percent. Six percent of dentists surveyed had an anxiety disorder while only 3.1 percent of the general population did. Four percent of dentists reported panic disorder, while only 2.7 percent of the general population reported the same.” Several dentists suffer from stress, this stress can lead to depression, anxiety, panicking, and other emotional problems.
Before deciding to be a dentist many people don’t consider all the pros and cons. Many people only get to see the good side of it; maybe because that’s all the dentist wants you to see or maybe not. It’s not always happy and stress-free, being a pediatric dentist you have to love your job. You can’t just be in it for the money, you have to be in it to help people. Working with children they can tell if you don’t want to be working with them, so you have to always be cheerful and interact with them and make them feel comfortable.
After graduating high school, I plan to attend Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. In my freshman year, I will live in a dorm because incoming freshmen have to. After I plan on renting an apartment with a friend or friends. While attending LSU, as of right now I am planning on getting a bachelor’s degree in biology, but there are other majors I may consider. If I get a biology degree it will take me four years to achieve that degree. After graduating from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, I will be going to dental school in New Orleans at the School of Dentistry at LSU Health. I will move out to New Orleans while attending dental school, which is four years plus two extra years to specialize as a pediatric dentist.