I love being a dentist. It's as simple as that. I get to wake up each morning, drink a cup of Community Coffee with chicory, and come to my office to help people day in and day out improve their lives and their health. In truth, I'm a people person who loves to work with his hands. I don't think that I could enjoy being a general MD such as a family practice physician or internal medicine specialist as it's nice to see a final product whether that be a new denture or a small filling. Also being a surgical MD such as a brain or thoracic surgeon would be hard as their patients are usually knocked out, and these doctors don't get the chance to maintain long term relationships with their patients. Now please understand that I'm not disparaging my medical counterparts in the least, but I'm rather just explaining why I'm a DDS and not an MD.
One of the main reasons that I became a dentist was that I have always had a good experience at my dentist's office. In fact, I had the same dentist (Dr. Jim Tomaszewski) for 20 years and now I see his son (Dr. Steven Tomaszewski). Yes, even us dentists have to go see the dentist on a regular basis. I also always really enjoyed seeing the same dental hygienist (Pam) every single time when I was growing up. I cannot tell you which pediatrician I visited nor can I tell you where the office was. I honestly don't know if I saw the same pediatrician every time or if they changed over the years.
Gretna Dental Office
I have found in my own dental office that I enjoy the relationships that I build with my patients. My most memorable patient was actually one of my first denture patients Ms. C and I treated her my 3rd year of dental school. Ms. C was a sharp older woman who loved to smoke and had the voice to prove it. She had been wanting dentures for years and had hated the way her teeth looked. She had difficulty finding a dentist who would remove her bad teeth and give her a denture that she wanted. After a few appointments, we were able to take out her remaining teeth and place a healing denture into her mouth. I remember when I saw her the next morning after surgery to check on her. I was thrilled about how much she loved her new dentures. She felt that she could finally smile again. Her lower denture was a bit difficult to wear initially, but that's a very common complaint. She was determined to learn how to wear the dentures.
Summer started and school was out. My wife and I took a small vacation to avoid the New Orleans heat. Over the course of the vacation, I had found out that Ms. C had passed away after only having her dentures for two weeks. I was devastated as it was the first patient that I had ever lost. The only true solace I had was that she passed away having the smile that she wanted. I attended her wake, and although I had only known this woman for a month or two, I still cried as if I lost a good friend. I'm actually tearing up while I'm writing this post.
The reason I do dentistry is the same reason that I cried at Ms. C's passing. I can't imagine too many other jobs where I can literally give people smiles and make friends along the way. The joy that chain-smoking woman got out of her new teeth is what inspires me to serve the denture patients of my community. I love being a dentist.