“I try not to judge potential suitors by the incredible amount of tartar, chipped tooth or stained filling they display”
Dentists are commonly perceived as eternal liars because there is a big scope for lying in the practice. One can lie about cavities as patients have no real way of ascertaining the truth. I know a dentist who always ran late with his appointments. So he would fool his patients by prescribing some phoney gel to ease the tartar out and pack them off early. Another dentist only dealt in bridges and caps as they made him the most money.
A successful dental practice is mostly about smooth talking. One must communicate with patients, make them feel comfortable, talk about their day without looking hurried and answer all doubts.
I’m sure you’ve noticed how a male dentist will have female assistants and vice versa. It’s common for dentists and assistants to have affairs. Many insist on hiring only pretty assistants. Looking young is an occupational hazard. One gets a lot of extra attention from patients too, who will try to use your number for useless conversations instead of emergencies. I try to be professional. However, a patient farting or burping really upsets my calm disposition. I have to work hard on suppressing my giggles.
Dentists practice poor personal hygiene themselves. Many smoke and chew on paan. (I myself often forget to brush at night.) In the dentist fraternity, bad debt is the money patients owe you. All big dentists have big bad debts, which each year they have no choice but to write off.
I have one big professional problem. When the patient is in pain, I need to either talk them through it or halt. I remember being very scared when I did my first root canal, although it was one of the reasons why I took up dentistry—to help others. In some situations, though, you have to ignore pain and go on. It’s tough being a dentist who can’t deal with pain.
When I tell people I’m a dentist while socialising, it’s a real conversation starter. They either complain about their dental issues, which I’m not interested in, or use it as fodder for pick-up lines like “I was wondering why you had such a pretty smile”. So, sometimes, when someone asks me what I do, I lie. I also try not to judge potential suitors by the incredible amount of tartar, chipped tooth or stained filling they display. I just casually enquire why they haven’t gone for a cleaning yet.