What 5 dentists wish they knew before starting their careers

While dentistry can be a gratifying career for practitioners, the industry comes with many challenges some dentists are unprepared for. 

Five dentists recently spoke with Becker's about what they wish they knew before entering the field.

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What do you wish you knew before starting your career in dentistry?

Myron Bromberg, DDS (Los Angeles): I never realized that the private practice dental profession I was entering would be so gratifying, satisfying and pleasurable for me, with terrific relationships with my patients, staff and colleagues, all the while affording me an enviable lifestyle. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it exactly the same way. Sadly, someday I will have to stop doing this. It will be a sad day for me indeed. 

Jordan Cooper, DDS. Cooper Family Dentistry (Jacksonville, Ark.): I guess I would say that I wish I had known more about dentistry. I was accepted into dental school as an alternate on a Friday before the semester began on Monday after returning from Spain with a Spanish degree in the summer of 2006. I feel like context makes the educational experience that much more profound, so if I had more experience shadowing dentists or working at a dental office, the dental school education would have meant more and conveyed a deeper learning through the context of my previous experience.

Michael Davis, DMD. Smiles of Santa Fe (N.M.): I harbored under a very flawed assumption as a dental student and recent grad. I believed one could practice an outstanding level of dental care in any demographic, while making a good living doing so. It was the old "build it and they will come" philosophy.

I could not have been more wrong. I formerly practiced in a small town setting with a compromised income and education base. Although I loved the multiple outdoor activities, I was intensely frustrated by the value the local populace placed on dental healthcare. 

Solution: I eventually relocated to another state and a community which supported the level of dental service I felt comfortable delivering. Today, I not only love my clinical work, but enjoy a whole new range of outdoor activities.

Reuben Moyana, DMD. Fort Mitchell Dentistry (Fort Mitchell, Ala.): I wish I knew insurance companies would unfairly deprive you of the money you work so hard to produce. 

Michael Perpich, DDS. Northland Smiles (Deerwood and Little Falls, Minn.): The one thing I wish I knew was how much business knowledge I would need to run a successful practice. I had clinical mentors for dental issues but it was pretty much trial and error on the business part of dentistry. That is why if I was starting out today, I would join a DSO.

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