Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Why I love Dentistry and why I left the practice.

I don’t talk a lot about the last decade of my career as a dental professional here on the blog. I think most of you are aware of it, but…I don’t really share much about it. No particular reason, just that it's part of the last chapter of my life so to speak. But, that's not to say that it didn't profoundly shape me as an individual and as an employee. And there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss it! I miss my patients, my co-workers, "selling" health, and having a concrete, structured, and routine day job. Today, I want to discuss what it is about Dentistry that I love, and why I decided to leave the profession.

Dentistry is one of the few areas of health care that focuses more on prevention rather than the treatment of symptoms. That is the number one reason why I love the Dental field. It's so encouraging to see an entire industry focusing on education and prevention! What a beautiful thing to have been a part of! If we could get that mentality to cross over to the general health care  industry that would be the beginning of an amazing paradigm shift in this country. People may begin to realize that we create our disease, anxiety, and general malease. Then, the collective could learn how to prevent these terrible conditions through being educated on the causes, rather than focusing on the symptoms. 

I'd like to share with you so not so obvious life lessons I learned in my ten years as a dental professional

If one continues to repeat a negative habit, it will yield negative results. 
(IE. if I eat a lot of starchy or sugary foods and do not brush properly, I will get caries (cavities)

If one does not take the extra step to finish the job correctly, it will again yield negative results. 
(IE If I do not floss, I will get periodontal disease (gum disease)

Shortcuts will not go unnoticed 
(IE if I tell my hygienist that I've been flossing, and I haven't. She will most certainly know that I am lying.)

If one does not take the time to address the whole, the whole will not be one. 
(if I do not take the time to visit the dentist twice a year, I could develop periodontal disease, which in turn can lead to diabetes and heart conditions. For, the oral cavity and the body are one. One certainly always affect the other)

Things aren't always what they seem. 
(IE  Some "Vitamin" Waters and Sports drinks have heaps of sugar and have caused a pandemic of caries nationwide even though it is marketing as a healthy alternative, that doesn't always mean it's good for you!)

Some people are just really hard to deal with and that's just the way it is. 
And some of those people will never change! 


Well, with all that said. I decided to move on from Dentistry, despite my love an passion for it. I was faced with two options to move forward in life; become a Dentist or an Apparel Designer. I chose the more creative field. The reason why I say more creative field is because, believe it or not, Dentists are Artists. True story! They are Dent-tists! Really, it takes a lot of hand eye coordination and hand skills to be a Dentist. It is no easy feat folks! 

I miss my job in Dentistry everyday, but it just didn't fill my soul with joy the way designing does. And that is the reason why I switch careers at age 28.5. -Ruth- 

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At August 7, 2013 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous Charlotte said...

I had no idea! How interesting to read more about it. :)
I switched careers at 27 too, and even if I miss some of the thrills that offered my old job (aka actress/theater company director), I'm quite happy right now too.

At August 7, 2013 at 3:26 PM , Anonymous Sarah Mc. said...

Thank you for sharing! I, like a lot of people, have overcome a fear of dental work and now very much appreciate my dentist and her staff so very much. I just wish I had money to fix everything that's broken in my mouth... That's another story altogether.

At August 8, 2013 at 9:28 AM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

Really!?! I thought I talked about it all the time, but, I guess not! I think my Dental experience might help to explain my love for working with metals. The laboratory work I did as a dental professional and the tools used in the profession are basically EXACTLY the same! I'm so glad your also happy with your shift in careers. I think it's pretty common these days for folks to switch careers through middle age!

At August 8, 2013 at 9:31 AM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

Sure! So glad you've overcome your fear of the Dentist! I know it is tough. Your mouth is an intimate cavity, similar to another one I can think of ;) and no one likes people poking around! It's pretty common once folks find a practice they can trust, to stay loyal! And, for the record, dental insurance sucks! It hasn't changed since the 70's and it's more like a coupon, rather than insurance. They do that "we cover 80% of usual and customary" when U+C is never what the doctor actually charges! It's best to use something like care credit, or to really space out treatment throughout the year!

At August 8, 2013 at 12:27 PM , Anonymous Sarah Mc. said...

Ugh, it does suck! I wrote a little about my problems here, actually:

After insurance, I have about $2000 worth of work that needs to be done, before $5000 worth of orthodontic work (not covered by insurance) can be started, and then surgery that will be about another $1000 after insurance. Those numbers make me choke! My dentist is always asking me when I'm going to get it done, and I just have to say, "As soon as you sell your Lexus to help me out a little." Haha!

At August 8, 2013 at 1:00 PM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

I can really relate to your story. Ironically, as a child I had really misaligned teeth. They called me "Ruth the tooth". Which turned out to be a great nickname once I became a dental assistant! It wasn't until I 17 that my folks could afford orthodontic care.

Through malfunction, orthodontics, and a series of blows to the jaw I developed TMJ (which I suspect you have due to your misaligned bite). I began to get these debilitating headaches or "migraines". So debilitating that I could do nothing but try to sleep. Coincidentally, or divine intervention, I eventually got a job as a dental assistant. My second job happen to be with a TMJ specialist, where I learned the origin of these "migraines". I was fortunate enough to be treated for the condition. I am forever grateful for that experience because I am happy to report that I am now 95% better!

Sounds like you have been dealt a tough hand. Having enamel and functional problems is not easy. If you ever need some advice, or someone to chat with...please let me know. I am here for you!

While I left Dentistry to pursue more creative endeavors, I have since discovered a hole in my soul. I genuinely miss being able to work with patients (like yourself). I loved being able to help people, physically and mentally! Also, I have heaps of great advice on how to deal with TMJ headaches!

At August 8, 2013 at 4:02 PM , Anonymous Emma Kate said...

I completely agree with you and think that dentists and surgeons are artists. It takes so much skill to do those jobs! It's really neat to hear about time working in this field, but I also love that you chose to do what felt right for you and became a designer!

At August 9, 2013 at 8:16 AM , Anonymous Kristyn @ Milk + Crown said...

What an interesting career switch! I love that you say dentists are artists, I think that's true. They are very skilled at their profession! :)

At August 12, 2013 at 4:27 PM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

Thanks Emma! It takes a special person to be a Doctor or a Dentist. It's a not so glamorous job!

At August 13, 2013 at 8:04 PM , Anonymous Alli Maxwell said...

Wow, I had no idea you were a dentist! I'm happy you have been able to enjoy both your career choices and be so sure of your choices. You are a real inspiration.

At August 14, 2013 at 9:20 AM , Anonymous RuthLoiacano said...

Well, I wasn't a Dentist! Just their right or left hand! Like I said, I miss Dentistry so much, but I love designing and creating more!


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