Is a dentist still a good career?
Dentistry is, by all intents and purposes, an extremely demanding profession. During the initial wave of the pandemic in 2020, several European countries decided to temporarily suspend elective dental treatments. The UK was also one of these countries driven into submission by the flutter of the COVID-19.
It was then, in the midst of shutting down dental offices and considering them “non-essential” for months, that many in our profession began to raise the question of whether being a dentist was truly worth it. We can say that in many ways, dentistry has been caught in the line of fire especially in today’s dental climate when prices are sky-high, litigations are soaring, and stress is compounding within the system.
Due to this, dentistry has been frequently castigated as a “sinking” or “failing” career. It is no denying that dentistry is difficult and there appears to be a low ebb in morale in the dental community in the UK, mostly due to the plight of the NHS and the paralyzing horror stories of the staggering student debts.
Amidst the spasm of professional variety in the country, however, dentistry continues to hold the crown. Here are some pros of joining the dental profession.
We are essential providers
Regardless of the tumult between the government and the dental providers during the initial stages of the pandemic, the profession ultimately withstood this hurricane. According to the latest reports from the British Dental Association (BDA), dental professionals have earned the status of “essential workers” and are actively involved in upholding and maintaining NHS dental care.
It has also been revealed that dentistry would not be affected by viral load. This is why shutdowns are not expected again in dentistry’s future. Furthermore, since dental services cannot be automated, dentists cannot be replaced by advances in technology. This makes the profession essentially irreplaceable and also depicts the value of dental surgeons to the public service sector.
It is, therefore, up to the dentists to keep up-to-date with the latest practices in order to efficiently serve the community.
The opportunity to help others
Dentistry is a closely-knit profession that is truly patient-oriented. You work with patients throughout your career, helping them achieve basic needs and making their lives better. While dentists may not be directly incorporated in a system of “saving lives”, they ensure that their patients’ lives are comfortable and enhanced.
Whether you place a filling to counter tooth decay or prescribe an analgesic for tooth pain, dentists are consistently involved in providing significant improvements to their patients lives. The oportunity to help your patients is one-on-one. You efforts will directly impact their lives. There is a gratification of sorts when you restore your patient’s smile, self-confidence, and ability to perform their daily functions by doing what you regularly do.
It is a respected profession
Dentists are highly respected and valued figures in the community. They are applauded for their work in the public sector and earn great trust and reputation for their contributions. As mentioned earlier, dentistry is a prevention-centric profession, meaning that the career continues to thrive even when the patients do not come in regularly for checkups.
Even though many patients express their distaste for going to the dentist or have had traumatic past experiences in the dental chair that prevent them from seeking out dental aid, people have a good outlook on this profession. In fact, according to a 2021 survey conducted by Maru Public Opinion, dentistry was rated among the most respected professions in the U.K.
Good income, job stability, & flexibility
Dentistry is an incredibly stable career with the lowest unemployment rates in the country. With the drastic rise in cosmetic dentistry, the market for new dental recruits is always open. With dentistry, you can also opt to be your own boss. If you are to open your own dental clinic, you are handed more freedom to practice your passion and make essential decisions to help you further in your career.
You are also provided with a healthy income with a median salary of £31,000 for newly graduated dentists. As a dentist, you are able to dictate how much you make based on the services you provide. It also has higher-than-average flexibility which means that you can pursue a wide range of career paths by choosing dentistry. There is flexibility in terms of hours of the day you open.
As with any other profession, dentistry also has its own sets of upsides and downsides. The field has been met with a good amount of controversy and consternation over the years. We often let the negatives of the profession overshadow the positives and due to this, the dental students have a very misconstrued notion of what being a dentist truly entails.
Many seniors reproach new aspiring dentists from taking the first step towards being a clinical dentist. It is a shame that dentistry’s dirty laundry has been aired out heavily in recent times because it truly is an ever-growing and ever-flourishing profession. However, despite the dentist saturation in the UK, the market has been thriving more than ever with expectations of approximately 15% growth in the next year.
Finally, to answer the hammering question. No! – dentistry is NOT a dead profession. In fact, it is at its very peak.