Dentists are below average when it comes to happiness. At CareerExplorer, we conducted an ongoing survey with millions of people and asked them how satisfied they are with their careers. It turns out that dentists rate their professional happiness 3.0 out of 5 stars, placing them in the bottom 36% of careers. While patients sometimes fear going to the dentist, dentists themselves often gain great satisfaction from taking care of patients' dental needs.
In general, dentists have a somewhat higher than average job satisfaction. The variety in nature of conditions and treatments for patients, along with the importance of work, contribute to satisfaction. It's a little comforting to know that others realize that dentistry isn't all it's cracked up to be. I'm a fairly recent graduate who realized halfway through the second year that this crap wasn't for me.
But I stuck with it; I thought that all the debt and the time invested in this race, could well be positive and I liked it. A few years later, and guess what, dentistry still stinks. My back and neck hurt, the “emotion” has turned into nauseating stress, and I shudder every time something goes wrong and garbage hits the fan. The discussion here is a lot like the ones I have with friends who are close enough that I don't feel peer pressure to profess how wonderful it is to be a dentist.
If only dentistry defines you and you have nothing else, no other creative outlet could suffocate you. The great thing about dentistry is that you have the freedom to limit and make your own schedule, so having plenty of time free from personal stress is a nice plus. I couldn't help but wonder how we protect ourselves, as dentists, from the crazy patients out there. I have come across some dentists, especially young dentists who have just left school, who seem disappointed and disappointed.
Tavo, the reality is that you don't have to be Michelangelo to practice dentistry, you just need patience not to hit a canvas that keeps moving ruining your masterpiece or that you start crying even before you start painting. I can see why dentistry is the most stressful profession and most likely to commit suicide due to ongoing stressors related to your own practice. Most people are afraid of the dentist and I understand that, because I was also afraid of the dentist before I became one. I had given up dentistry 2 years before because I liked my university and my studies and I thought what happens if I don't like medical school, what happens if I feel stuck there.
The retention rate of dentists is lower than in other medical fields, so there may be a shortage of dentists at this time. I've realized that while it's important that I try to overcome my perfectionism, it just means that my personality isn't made for something like dentistry, it's too difficult for my psyche. In their discussion, the authors noted that most of the studies they analyzed had been conducted in high-income countries, limiting their understanding of the levels of job satisfaction among dentists in low- and middle-income countries. One thing I've learned from reading and commenting on this blog is that you need the right personality for dentistry or this career will leave you dry and make you feel miserable.
I realize that dentists don't change people's lives, but restoring a smile that looks good and works well is rewarding.