What it is like to work as a Dentist?


I thought it might be fun to talk about what it is like to work in the dental profession. I am going to use contributions from my own experiences. Perhaps in the future I can have some of the other awesome team members we have here at PV Dentistry, describe what it is like to work in their profession. I am truly blessed to work in a rewarding (and demanding) industry, with a highly trained, competent, hard-working and caring team who are committed to providing you with the best for your oral and systemic health!

I have a unique perspective because I have worked for large companies, small companies, a private office and now I own my own practice locally! Owning your own practice truly is the most challenging of all these, thus far. As a private practice owner, you are a businessman as well as a doctor - and maintaining a balance between home and life, as I am sure many other healthcare professionals can attest, can be a tough but rewarding challenge.

Being a dentist typically requires a 4-year undergraduate college degree, a number of courses as pre-requisites mainly in the sciences, a number of hours volunteering in the community, and a number of hours of observation in a dental office. Being a dentist also is a little bit of an art and requires working with your hands, so experience in these disciplines can be very helpful. If interested in being a dentist, you should talk to the pre-professional counselor in your college or university, as well as your local dentist. Feel free to come talk with me!

I thought I would describe my day-to-day life as well. Lately, what works for me is to get up at 5:30 to 6 a.m. to prepare for seeing patients at 8 a.m. Most of my team and myself get at the office at 7 a.m. to prepare for the day. I have a checklist I follow, and if I don't get here at 7, then I buy lunch for the whole office. I had to buy many lunches before I finally established that habit of consistently getting here at 7 a.m. or before, and lately I've been doing pretty well! I strive to get out of the office by 5, but sometimes I'm here until 7 p.m. (I usually feel pretty worn out on those days.)

I prepare for the day by reviewing the schedule and looking through each patient's chart to identify any health concerns and review the dental history. As one of my professors from dental school said, preparation improves performance! All doctors are human and it serves us well to try to always be conscious of the health history of all of our patients, because dentistry can and does impact the entire body!

We have our huddle at 7:45. I start the huddle in a fun way where a team member chooses a YouTube video to watch for a minute. Each team member prepares something for the huddle where we review our patient's information and treatment, as well as office goals.

I make an effort to greet each new patient in the lobby when they arrive. We want each patient to have a great experience. We are serving YOU and we want you to be fully informed and comfortable with any dental treatment we propose. We like to adhere, whenever possible, to the KISS philosophy. (Keep It Simple Stupid) We try to make sure that you know that any dental treatment decision is yours. I will give you my honest opinion about what I would do in your situation (or what I would propose to my mother, if she were sitting in the chair), but I will not judge anyone who doesn't do what I think! I just want you to be aware of the risks, benefits and alternatives and give you the best and latest information possible.

We see patients for dental treatment: fillings, crowns, root canals, dentures, implants, and tooth removal throughout the day, and I have a well trained team that helps me make sure we are efficient and thorough, and we are always striving to improve. We help those who have anxiety relax, and address any challenges along the way.

At other times, I am working in the lab, maintaining the office and business side of things, or taking continuing education credits to make sure I am aware of the latest advances and knowledge in dentistry. Just yesterday, I took two classes online and learned about new requirements for disposing of amalgam waste by the EPA as well as one on electronic payments. I've taken classes on almost everything you can imagine.

It is always rewarding when we can help someone improve their smile. Whether it be veneers, crowns, cosmetic fillings, or dentures there is nothing like being able to give someone the ability to smile proudly. Sometimes we are taking someone out of pain. And sometimes we are helping someone to eat better by giving them the ability to chew the foods they love again.

In the end, at PV Dentistry I decided that our mantra would be "Your Health is Our First Priority" because that is what I would want in a dentist. It is wonderful to work in the dental profession, and more often than not when someone improves their oral health, they've improved their overall health along with it! I feel blessed to be a member of this Prescott Valley community, for our wonderful patients, and a fantastic team!

Written by: Harold Henderson DDS January 31, 2020