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Why are some people in the dental profession indifferent to self-improvement and genuine caring about their career?

Is it stress that makes people in the dental profession indifferent?

This post was inspired by many conversations I had with participants during the recent CMS Nashville Ultimate Occlusion Level 1 course. Conversations that I’ve heard time and time again over my own teaching career.

The Dental Profession: Why I Teach and Why People Listen

In any profession like dentistry, there’s a segment of the workforce that goes through the motions, doing the bare minimum to maintain their certifications, and caring very little about bringing a modicum of joy to their career.

I don’t think this is because they’re bad people who got into dentistry only for the money. I think it just hasn’t clicked for them yet.

More people seem to be indifferent about the dental profession.

They have families and responsibilities. They don’t have the energy to care or they look down upon those who do. They haven’t found a community of people who talk honestly about the good and the bad, the realities of the dental profession that only other dentists can understand.

But what is so wrong with caring? What is so wrong with wanting to wake up in the morning and actually be energized to go into work? To continuously make an effort to create meaning and value for yourself and your patients?

I get it.

There was a period of time when I had three young children at home and I decided to quit dentistry for two years because I had lost my passion. When I returned, I knew I needed to change how I dealt with stress and built relationships. I had to find a reason to keep improving my skills.

Teaching CE and learning revitalizes my passion for the dental profession.

CE does that for me. It’s partially about the techniques I learn that consistently challenge my abilities, but more than anything it’s about the community of people I meet who all want more out of dentistry.

Teaching CE functions in the same way. If I can reach just one person in a room of dentists who believe they know it all or are messing around on their phones, then my time was worth it.

What gets you excited about being a dentist? Is it CE, satisfied patients, a stable career, or a combination of many things? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!