5 reasons why you don’t suck at dentistry

You spent a fortune on school.  You stayed in and studied while your friends were out having fun. You tolerated all kinds of craziness for the promise of work/life balance, a great salary, and the professional title.

Dr. Wehking

This is it. You made it through the toughest time in your life, and you’re an actual REAL. LIFE. DENTIST! And you feel like you totally suck at it. You might feel like you picked the wrong profession and that you’ll always be a lousy dentist. Keep reading if you’ve had a rough week and need to hear why you’re amazing. You don’t suck!

1. You care

You care about people and that makes you not only an amazing dentist, but an amazing person. This is 95% of the battle. You’ve made the decision to be your best for the people that are counting on you— your patients, family, friends, and team members. Give yourself a pat on the back and make sure that above all, this doesn’t change.

2. You’ve failed

Dental school did not make you an amazing dentist. School provided the framework to get you excited about learning. You learned, got excited, failed and continued to learn anyway. You are developing your skills and knowledge through time and you’re proud of what you’ve learned because of your failures. Yay! You are rocking it!

3. You’re still shadowing and staying open to new ideas

You’re learning from your surgeons and your friends. You are learning little things and doing your part to share what you’ve learned with others. You are seriously kicking butt!

When we help each other, we’re doing the profession a great service. Everyone has different ways of saying things, a new technique to share, or a cool idea that might be what takes your dentistry to the next level.

4. You’re growing and taking CE

You’ve had a few “Oh $h*t” moments to make you realize that you need to step up your game. You’ve taken these moments and transformed them into becoming an even more amazing dentist.

While similar to #3, I feel strongly about taking time out of your life to intentionally grow. I’m not talking about your state required minimum amount of continuing education hours. I’m talking about going to a course that spikes your curiosity and teaches you something you didn’t even know that you didn’t know.

You’ve met dentists who shared their favorite courses and your journey developed. You’ve shared your favorite courses with other people. YES! You are killing it!

5. You’re taking photographs

You put your pride aside, took some photographs, and blew up your restorations to the size of a head. You felt bad, saw what you needed to correct, and became better because of it. Woohoo! You’re amazing!

You care more than the average dentist, which is why you’re even reading this article. You’re at the top of our profession, and I’m so proud of you! You don’t suck! You’re an amazing dentist!

Dr. Dawn Wehking graduated from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 2010. She is a member of the American Dental Association, Colorado Dental Association and the Boulder/Broomfield County Dental Society. She was awarded Master status with the Academy of General Dentistry, has been published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry, and she serves as visiting faculty at Spear Education. Dr. Wehking is also an ADA Success Speaker, teaching dental students about life after dental school. Dr. Wehking owns a small private practice in Lafayette, Colorado. On her days off, you’ll find her with her furry children, enjoying Colorado’s great outdoors.

11 comments

  • Wow. I really needed that. 14 years in and I regret my decision everyday. I also tell my children that I will not allow them to become dentists. When you compete with a row of other dentists and have poor demographics you can take all of the classes on the newest materials and techniques but when you have to deal with people who don’t want to pay and your practice is built on insurance, you can’t possibly look forward to going to work everyday handcuffed by patient max benefits and insurance companies dictating treatment. As a single dentist owner with one hygienist and an overhead of 80% the future looks daunting. No wonder why single dentist family practices will be non existent in 10-15 years. I can’t wait to pay off my practice so I can sell and move into a group where I can get a salary and not deal with ownership.

    • Hi Vin! Send me an email, I promise it can get better! dawnwehking@gmail.com

    • My husband practices in Western Wisconsin. We are begging for dentists in our rural counties, and have been underserved since the 1980s. Yet we have made great money, been valued in our community and what a great place to raise a family! And now that young dentists can learn in corporate dentistry before private practice, even better! Location location location!

  • Gary Klemons DDS

    The problem is that unlike Medical school that after 4 years your education begins for the next 4 5 6 years are spent in apprenticeship that’s where the real learning occurs if MDs had the same education as Dentists the streets would be littered with dead bodies Fortunately I grew up in my Dads dental lab where I got my foundation in dentistry and went through Dental school through the eyes of an experienced dental Tech from the time I was 12

  • R. J. Grambeau, Jr. DDS

    6. Having a very good memory (or you would NOT have made it through Dental School) you recall clearly every procedure you did the past week, month, year… Being a perfectionist and because of Dental School, you dwell on the one out of 100 cases that went poorly (your fault or not) and forget the 99 that went great! Do the math! You do not “suck” when you’re killing it “almost” all of the time!

  • Since I was seven I decided to be a Dentist! After my first visit Dental experience and having a tooth pulled, as a Mexican girl in the 60’s I had several cavities… when I got back home, my Dad asked me How did my visit to the Dentist turn? I remembered the fear, the Doctor’s big hands, the needle… all this while being under my Mom’s eyes and the instruction to behave… my answer was I’m going to be a Dentist when I grew up! And after graduating in 1984 I continue to practice, love my colleagues, staff, my office, my patient’s smiles and gratitude. I work about 35 hours a week, today Friday I can say I’m tired but love Dentristy!
    I continue to earn CE as a member of the Mexican Dental Association and the ADA.
    Thank you Dr.Dawn Wehking for your words, what a great way to end the week!

  • SignatureSmile – Dentist in Washington
    Yes, This is right. You really nailed it.

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  • Thanks for sharing this information. This was very informative especially “You failed” this point. This is really helpful for all the dentist professionals. Good going. Keep on posting sharing this kind of article.

  • Thanks for the article Dawn. I’m also a Uof MD graduate (2001.) I believe strongly that it’s still a great time to be a GP in private practice. I find that with one associate and another co-owner dentist we are still able to keep busy in sw WA. Yes we take insurance but we don’t allow insurance to dictate treatment. I find that if the patients are educated then they will be willing to pay out of pocket for dentistry that they want and need. If you are in private practice and not doing well consider moving to another location where there is a greater need for dentistry. Also visit with older dentists that have put in their time. Many are happy to serve as mentors if asked.

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