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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

Finding my calling

I was talking to a colleague and a friend recently about being a dentist and how we both love what we do. We talked about what job we would do if we weren’t dentists, this is what we up with;

Something that involved interacting with people

Something that helped people

Something that involved some sort of technical skill or ability

Something that carries (just a little bit of) kudos

Something that not anyone can do

That kind of sounds a bit like being a dentist, right?

I watched a webinar recently where Dhru Shah, a very inspiring dentist and founder of Dentinal Tubules (an education platform for dentists), talked about the differences between a job, a career and a calling.

It sounds a bit cheesy, but I have no doubt that dentistry is my calling.

I've always enjoyed my job and considered myself very lucky to feel this way. As I journey deeper into the rabbit hole I'm realising that actually there probably aren't many, if any, other jobs out there that I could do as well as I can fix teeth and help people. It takes me straight to the peak of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and satisfies all the tiers along the way (welcome to amateur psychology 101).

Sure there are plenty of detractors out there and the bureaucratic and litigious sides of the profession can have a profoundly negative impact on morale both to the individual and the profession as a whole.

It’s not an easy job, and that’s one of the things I love. Not everyone can do this job. The technical skills of working in a small space on an often anxious and jittery patient, assessing, diagnosis, reconstructing and maintaining a living organ than is used all day every day is a difficult skill to master and one which I’m more than up to the challenge of constantly striving to improve myself.

Fixing teeth though, is a very small part of being a dentist. To me, being a dentist is about helping people. Helping people to smile, sometimes by giving them confidence back in there teeth and their smile, sometimes just by connecting with them on a human level.

Every patient I see is different, everyone has their own unique impact on the world. Getting to know your patients and helping them, is the real joy of being a dentist.

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