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Biggest Challenges Of Being A Dentist And Tips on How To Deal With Them

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Dentistry, like any other medical profession, goes through constant innovations, improvements, and changes. However, trying to be in line with these changes and technological innovations puts dentists in a demanding situation. With that being said, dentists – irrespective of the demographics – face a series of challenges that they need to overcome to continue with their practice. So, as a dentist, what is your plan to stay relevant in the evolving world of dentistry? 

Given how easily the coronavirus spreads from one person to another, dentists are in extreme danger of getting the virus. With nations experiencing frequent lockdowns, it can be said that the novel coronavirus will not be eradicated easily. Since dentists have to examine the inside of the mouth (the throat and the mouth are the best places for the virus to multiply), they are highly prone to catching the virus. The patients cannot wear masks at the time of diagnosis or treatment. Therefore, dentists have to take certain measures, like checking the temperature of the patient before admitting them, or asking for a certificate that states that the patient is not infected or has taken the vaccine

#1 Fostering communication with patients 

A lack of high-quality communication is the major issue holding dentists and teams back from growth and greater unity. For dentists new in practice, it can be extremely challenging to lay out a positive communication line with their patients. However, as overwhelming as it sounds, communication can be made easy: you just have to genuinely care about the patient and show that with your verbal communication. The rule is simple for medical professionals – to have great communication, start caring for the patients. Also, you need to be aware of your non-verbal communication. Yes, we are talking about your body language. Your body language plays an important part in whether the patient will openly communicate with you or it’s the last time you will be seeing that patient at your practice. Just focus on active listening, be patient, and ask questions to gain perspective.  

#2 COVID-19 Pandemic 

Given how easily the coronavirus spreads from one person to another, dentists are in extreme danger of getting the virus. With nations experiencing frequent lockdowns, it can be said that the novel coronavirus will not be eradicated easily. Since dentists have to examine the inside of the mouth (the throat and the mouth are the best places for the virus to multiply), they are highly prone to catching the virus. The patients cannot wear masks at the time of diagnosis or treatment. Therefore, dentists have to take certain measures, like checking the temperature of the patient before admitting them, or asking for a certificate that states that the patient is not infected or has taken the vaccine

#3 Patient diversity 

Patient diversity essentially indicates the distribution of patients through different age groups. Oral health is influenced by the lifestyle of the individuals, coupled with food habits. This means that dentists have to deal with a variety of oral health problems, which can be a challenge. Cavity and tooth decay are common problems and might be easier to treat. However, patients often come in with diverse oral health problems, like wisdom tooth surgery, broken teeth, too many teeth (hyperdontia), etc., and that can be overwhelming for a dentist to look into. Practice and experience matters at this stage. However, you need to handle patients with patience and much more care, especially if they are aged. Dentists practicing under senior dentists get the much-needed exposure of dealing with diverse patients. This prepares them for the time when they start their own clinic. 

#4 Finding and retaining patients 

One of the biggest challenges that a dentist has to overcome is finding and retaining patients. While every individual on this planet needs a dentist, it can be daunting to attract new patients. This is true when the practice is new and still has to prove its work quality and reliability. As a dentist, managing to get new clients and building a steady clientele can make or break your private practice career. It is a challenge because of the responsibility to provide excellent care. Nevertheless, it can be achieved with a combination of a good marketing strategy and care. You may find patients, but in order to make them your constants, you will have to market your practices and build a strong relationship from the beginning. Nowadays, many dentists have started giving emergency dental services to patients in need. This is one of the best ways to gain the trust of the patients. Also, a good start is to send your patients gentle reminders that it is time for an oral health checkup. 

#5 Staying current 

As medical science is constantly evolving, new treatment methods, tools and equipment are being developed all the time. In order for a dentist to stay competitive in the market, and provide the patients with quality care, it is important to stay current with the industry. From learning about the new treatment methods to getting to know new equipment, things can get intimidating for a dentist; taking things slowly, one step at a time, can help you stay current and updated. You can visit conferences and webinars where dentists from different disciplines come together to talk about the progress happening in dentistry. This is a great start. 

#6 Motivating employees 

Motivation is important in healthcare, as it makes way for an effective healthcare system. In the midst of the pandemic, it is becoming even more difficult to encourage employees to come to work. Consequently, it is vital to keep your employees motivated to do better at work. The challenges may include frequent increments, providing them with a positive environment, and encouraging them to always learn. It all comes down to how you communicate with your employees. With proper communication, things can be handled easily. If your employees are getting to learn something new every day, then it won’t be a problem. 

Conclusion 

That’s it. These are the top challenges that a dentist constantly faces during their practice. Overcoming these challenges is not easy, but can be accomplished with informed decision-making and good communication. Most importantly, face the challenges with a positive mindset. 

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