Do you plan to become the world’s greatest dentist? Well, be ready for a little plaque. In other words, may the floss be with you as you embark upon a career of teeth, tongues, and gums – and everything in between. But are you sure this is the job right for you? It could be if you have some of these essential skills needed to survive and thrive this dental industry.
Here are eight skills needed to be a dentist:
1. Dexterity Skill
Dexterity is an essential skill needed to be a dentist. Dentistry is a profession where you need to use both your hands a lot, such as handling instruments, paperwork, procedures, and assistance. With every patient, there are plenty of things every dentist needs to do, no matter how long or short the appointment is. Like a surgeon, manual dexterity is a skill of the utmost importance. It is impossible to only utilize one hand at a time.
2. A Steady Hand
In addition to being reliable with both hands, they always need to be steady. In other words, you can never have the shakes when you’re inspecting or cleaning a patient’s mouth. If you do, then you may risk injury to the patient, or you might not be able to correctly and thoroughly perform the task at hand.
How can you have a better and steadier hand? Here are a few tips to employ:
- Participate in hand strength exercises, like squeezing a ball.
- Complete hand stretches that stretch your fingers and wrists.
- Perform deep breathing exercises.
- Carry anything that is heavy.
Before you know it, you’ll have impeccable strength in your right and left hand.
3. Attention to Detail
How can your patients have sublime fillings or a clean molar if you’re missing important details?
Akin to other technical professions, it is crucial to have incredible attention to detail. By noticing the finer parts of dental health, your patients can walk away confident in their smile and knowing that their dental hygiene is superb. On the other hand, if you’re missing out on the smaller points, then they will be dissatisfied in the experience, especially if it is one of their biggest expenses of the year.
4. Technical Knowledge and Skills
When you’re in dental school, you will be trained in multiple technologies, from computer equipment to x-ray machines to cleaning tools to fluoride applicators. Suffice it to say, you need to be skilled in this technology in order to be a successful dentist.
5. Problem Solving Skills
Let’s be honest: not every patient is the same. You’ll quickly learn this the longer you work in dentistry. Some patients have a horrific gag reflex, while others have an inherent fear of anything dental-related (they have seen “The Marathon Man” way too many times).
It is your job to adapt and problem-solve. So, if a child or even adult has the worst gag reflex you have ever seen, then you need to quickly find a resolution. If not, you will have the worst hour, or you may not even have an appointment because the session needed to be rescheduled to another time.
Every job requires some form of communication. And we’re not talking about chit chat, water cooler talk, or small talk. We mean communicating important information about the patient’s teeth and potential treatments.
As a dentist, you need to talk to them in order to treat them. So, everything from discussing dental care routines to what you’re exactly doing throughout the treatment process.
Sure, you do not need to be a raconteur, but basic communication skills are essential.
7. Managing Staff
When you have your dental practice, you should realize from the very beginning that you are not a one-man band. You have staff, even if it is just one or two other people. That said, they still require managing, supervising, and guidance – you can’t just be autonomous and laissez-faire.
You may not have any business experience, but managing is a skill you need to know how to do, or at least learn how to do.
8. A Natural Learner
One of the most compelling skills of a dentist is you’re always learning. You’re never stagnant, and the industry doesn’t come to a standstill. Indeed, even in the last 10 to 20 years, this health care sector has changed so much, thanks to evolving technologies, public policy modifications, and industry standards.
Once you have officially become a dentist, you will need to keep up. This is why it is important to be a natural learner, someone who always want to challenge his own mind. After a while, your job can become repetitive and dull, but it doesn’t need to be this way. You can always make it fun and exciting with new knowledge.