Left is Me circa 2007, school clinic
I have been working in the dental field for about seven years. I've been a certified dental assistant (CDA) since 2002 and chair side assisted for one year before that. This last June 2008, I graduated from Dental Hygiene school. Standing at the point I am now and looking back, I feel that I have a total love/hate relationship with Dentistry. I wanted to be a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) since I was 12. With the competition for getting into a hygiene school being so high, I did CDA to make sure I wanted to be in the field. I fell in love very early on, I did well and cruised through CDA school and loved working in the field for a good year. It took a few years for me to really see all the politics and such that occurs behind the scenes. Also, finding out how much your career as an assistant depends on the personality of the dentist you work for (as you are basically their sidekick/slave) and also the environment of the office (co workers etc) left me feeling trapped and totally not in control of my career. This drove me to really pursue hygiene.
To make a long story short, and I'm probably writing from a place that is very in the now, but, everything that I have gone through to work through Dental hygiene school feels like so much more work than it was worth. I'm not gonna lie, I hated the program and I hate the process it takes to obtain your license. The only thing that I liked, and the only thing that made me feel that it still is a good career choice for me is that I really enjoyed clinic time working on clients when my teachers weren't breathing down my neck and (metaphorically) slapping my wrists when they didn't like that way my scaling looked.
I feel it is unfair to go on a complete RANT about my experiences through school. In actuality my grades were good and I did well, especially considering that I did the whole thing basically kicking and screaming because the entire process was ridiculous.
I have come to the conclusion that Dentistry having the highest rate of suicide and substance abuse than any other profession definitely has to be true, because I undoubtedly feel that the profession is known for chewing you up and spitting you out.
Life is too short to dwell on such things, all I have to say is that dentistry fell short of what I expected, in another lifetime, having gone through what I have (mums the word.... for now) I would probably feel that I would have never given it the time of day. Saying this I do feel saddened at the difference in how I felt when I was a newly graduated CDA, but like lots of things in life, it can't last forever and nothing is perfect.
Over all, I feel like my focus definitely needs to now be on what makes me happy and what I enjoy doing. Hopefully one day I'll feel that way about dentistry again.