How to Stay Excited for 40 Years and More in the Dental Profession

In Inspiration by Anne Duffy

I often hear people asking, “My, how time flies?” or, “Where does the time go?” Well it is true that in the blink of an eye, you start to look back on your life more than forward! I found myself doing that lately as I turned 60 and realized that I have been in dentistry for 40 years! Most would call a job you have for so long a “death sentence” or wonder how you could deal with the boredom.

I have to say, though, that I have been unwaveringly stimulated and passionate about this profession for all these years. How is this possible? I attribute it to personal growth, with a desire to learn and contribute to other peoples’ lives.

I graduated from an Expanded Duty Dental Hygienist program in Canada at 21 years old. I always had a mind to be my own boss and one day own a Hygiene Clinic. I became a very valuable hygienist, as I was quite curious and dove into all aspects of dentistry, in turn, expanding my skills set. I was fascinated with restorative, as well as the business aspect of our profession. I made sure that everything I did was with excellence. My patients loved me and rarely declined my recommendations. I realized it was all about communication and being compassionate to your patients. I was lucky to balance my personal life with my career and only work three days a week. Moving to Florida, I was unable to continue with my expanded duties and was bound to the chair with my scaler in hand. It was not long that my body gave in and I was unable to continue without pain. At that point, I was looking at switching chairs and looking into the administrative side of dentistry. I mastered that as well, and the schedule was always full and our collections skyrocketed. I also pursued endeavors like Listening courses and Vision Development. All of these assisted me in my profession.

I wanted to make more money, and I realized a paycheck alone was not going to make me wealthy. I joined a company part time to recommend dental related products that I loved and used myself. I created an additional income stream for myself. I was becoming confident and loved to help others do the same. How many dread going to work, not because they hate the work, but they do not like the gossiping and backstabbing team members. I realized I didn’t like partaking in such activities, so I took coaching and leadership courses, read books and started to influence the people around me to become positive and focused.

I was hired by a dentist nine years ago to help him manifest his vision of owning a facility that will influence the world of dentistry.

Staying positive and always being solutions-oriented actually motivated my two children to become dentists. After my son graduated, he continued to lecture on leadership and motivation to dental students around the country. My daughter decided to become an oral surgeon. They both want me to consult for them in their new ventures.

I often wonder when I will retire. I thought at 60 I would be ready, but my body is healthy and my mind is growing. Dentistry is forever evolving, and the technology is so fascinating that there is always something to learn. There are so many branches in our lives that we can grow to make ourselves very valuable if we look hard enough. New dentists and employees are looking for our wisdom and how to create a career in dentistry. Check in with yourself daily and ask, “Am I coming from a place of passion and love for what I do?” If not, then take a step back and ask yourself, “What you can do to change that?” Become curious and look into your gifts and what you can share and create. Staying excited and healthy in all that you do will soon become your Fountain of Youth.

Michelle Amiel
Delray Beach Florida.