Love the heck out of dentistry

By | February 1, 2016

My first year as a dentist was discouraging to say the least. As a new dentist I assumed that all dentists cared intensely about their patients and their work. I was heartbroken when I found out that this wasn’t true.

My first job landed me right in the thick of dentists and staff that didn’t care — about our patients, quality dentistry or each other. I was miserable. How in the world could I have made such a terrible mistake in choosing a profession?

Dr. Wehking

Dr. Wehking

Thankfully, I quickly found a few mentors that took me under their wing and showed me what I knew deep down had to be true — there’s more out there. I noticed a difference in the dentists who were life-long learners, and I wanted to be more like them. These dentists didn’t complain about their staff, they talked about how they empowered them to be awesome. They didn’t complain about patients, they talked about how they changed lives. They didn’t complain about debt, they talked about the new procedures and technology that they were bringing into their practices. Choosing mentors and friends that are hopeful about the future of our profession has guided me towards some really exceptional learning opportunities that have changed the way I see my life, my patients, my craft and my team.

For me, there have been a few groups that have really made my heart pump for dentistry. The opening session at my first American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry meeting literally. Made. Me. Cry. I was so blown away by the energy and the passion that these dentists had for each other and dentistry. Another defining moment for me was the first course I took with Dr. Frank Spear and Dr. Gary DeWood at Spear Education in Scottsdale, Arizona. I felt like they were speaking directly about me and my practice, and I rushed home with a new vigor for dentistry. In the past five years I’ve become almost addicted to this feeling of growth, racking in over 1,200 hours of CE and building an amazing team at my office that supports my practice vision. I hope to share more about my passion for education and my blooming practice in future blog posts.

How will you change your practice so that you can enjoy dentistry more?  I’d encourage you to find a mentor that makes your heart pump with optimism. I’d encourage you to find a course that makes your heart pump with curiosity. I’d encourage you to find a team that makes your heart pump with gratitude. And I’d encourage you to love the heck out of dentistry.


Dr. Dawn Wehking graduated from the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 2010. She was awarded Fellow status with the Academy of General Dentistry.  She finished the Spear Education curriculum, a place where great dentists go to learn how to be exceptional dentists.  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 and her husband Jeremy with their furry children, enjoying Colorado’s great outdoors.

11 thoughts on “Love the heck out of dentistry

  1. Mikey P

    Having a mentor is something I cannot say enough good things about.
    No matter what business you’re in, you should look for a mentor who can do things for your career in 1 year that it would take you 10 years to do on your own.

    Great article

    1. Dawn Wehking

      Well said, I couldn’t agree more. Reminds me of the quote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

  2. Andy Kwasny, ADA Third District Trustee

    A great article and thanks for posting it, Dawn. Thanks for participating in our ADA Success Program.

  3. Riley

    Hope everything is getting easier for you. Looking to others for guidance provides a great support system in all different career paths.

  4. Ryan Koenig

    Hello Dr. Wehking,

    A great article! Serving patients with quality dental care should be the primary concern for any dentist. Dentists enjoy many perks in their profession, including respect and income. Earning respect, self-satisfaction and money in the dentist profession is only possible when the patient is happy, healthy and satisfied. We, at Fox Creek Family Dental in the city of Longmont, are known for quality dental care services at affordable rates We believe in satisfying our patients with quality care. We have various patient amenities in our office, which makes our patients feel like sitting at home.

  5. Joanne McKenzie

    As a new dentist they always encouraging their patients and their work. They was never heartbroken for their patients.Our aesthetic and implant dentistry association research about axiomatically surgery. If you love patients life, then this type of cosmetic surgery supports this type. Our extensive clinical research and published many articles of dental aesthetics,periodontics.

  6. Brad Gustin

    It’s so encouraging and heart warming to hear your story. Mentors are truly one of the best assets for any profession.

  7. Yasmine Zazi

    changing a patient’s life through the power of dentistry is one of my big reasons why I love dentistry! 🙂

  8. Pingback: The secret to being a success: The to-do list that never gets done – New Dentist Blog

  9. PV Smiles

    I love improving smiles. I love watching people’s reactions when they look at the work that has been done. Excellent explanation, it’s simple & focus


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