April 10, 2015
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
There is a huge demand for dental professionals across all specialities in dentistry. While cleaning teeth, assessing oral health, taking X-Rays, filling cavities, performing root canals and educating patients are some of the typical duties of a dental professional, it takes more than just technical expertise to excel in this field. You also need to be patient, have excellent people skills and enjoy working in a team.
Before you spend several years in dental school, it is a good idea to establish whether or not this profession is a good fit for you. For this, you need to need to do a self-assessment to determine if you possess the required technical and personal proficiencies.
If you have the technical ability and the personal skills required in dentistry then this profession might be a good fit.
As a dental professional you must be comfortable using a wide range of devices and machines, from basic medical tools such as thermometers and blood pressure cuffs to highly specialised dental equipment such as probes, scalers and polishers, which are used for cleaning and caring for teeth. You also need to know how to operate X-ray equipment or lasers. Care and precision in using these devices are vital to patient safety, for which meticulous attention to detail is essential.
Good eyesight, excellent manual dexterity and the ability to delicately manoeuvre dental tools in a relatively small-sized oral cavity are important attributes that all dental professionals must possess. Cavities that cause excruciating pain can sometimes be as big as a pin head. You need to have outstanding eyesight to identify the cavity and steady hands combined with excellent manual dexterity to clean and fill the cavity without causing more pain or damaging the adjoining teeth. It’s no mean feat.
Describing complex procedures in a way that your patients understand, listening to your patients’ concerns and soothing nervous patients are all important aspects of being successful in this field. Most people are naturally afraid of going to a dentist and are hesitant to explain their symptoms. Others may offer vague descriptions of their symptoms or they may be in too much pain to be able to speak clearly. How you interact with your patients will play a key role in their decision to come back to you for future treatments. To deliver what your patients are looking for and to put them at ease and gain their confidence, you need to have a lot of patience along with excellent communication and people skills. Communication skills also come into play when it comes to patient education, whether it is teaching basic hygiene skills, explaining dental health issues or providing instructions on the correct use of tools and supplies for good oral health.
A dental care team typically consists of an assortment of dental professionals with different skills and academic backgrounds. Irrespective of which dental field you choose to specialise in, you will have to work together as part of a team in order to provide your patients with the best possible dental care. To have a successful career in dentistry, you will need to have strong interpersonal skills and enjoy working as part of a team.