Leaving Dentistry…Finally

Leaving Dentistry I’m leaving dentistry, finally. It was not an overnight decision to get out of the dental field. Quitting dentistry by simply saying, “Bye, I quit!” and walking out the door with my head held high was not an option I was able/prepared to do. The decision to leave dentistry has not been emotionally driven.

A lot of deep thought and time went into my final decision to quit dentistry completely and begin the process of a new career path. Initially I had thought and considered the possibility of staying in dentistry, but changing positions to where I would no longer work directly on patients in the operatory and at the front desk, to a new position as a regional director overseeing office production of many corporate-owned dental offices, with my focus being on the business management side of dentistry.

I interviewed for, and was offered the job as regional director by two different dental corporation management companies in the area. After listening to their 15-minute long speech about what exactly I would be expected to do in my role as their regional director/manager, I immediately turned both job offers down, despite the fact that the salary offered was at least double what I’ve been making.

As I listened to the interviewer detail the responsibilities and duties of their regional director, my heart sank, my stomach turned somersaults, and I felt a strong urge to get up and tell them they are out of the freaking minds and how DARE they do this to their patients, dentist employees, hygienists and office staff! Two separate dental corporation job interviews, one week apart, and their spiel was virtually identical.

Basically, it would be my job and my responsibility as their regional manager to regularly visit their various dental offices in my assigned region, evaluate the dental treatment production numbers in their logbook and apply “needed” pressure to (especially) the dentists to “get their production numbers up” regardless of how high those dollar amounts already are.

Dentists and hygienists are to be told to increase their treatment recommendations to patients with a variety of “upselling” techniques cloaked inside “needed treatments” wording. If the dentists/hygienists don’t continue to raise their production numbers, the pressure (by me as the manager) will increase, they’ll be “written up”, and quite possibly fired by their corporate owners.

Making “upselling” suggestions or recommendations to patients that their less-than-perfect smile can be essentially perfected with (of course) expensive elective cosmetic dental treatments is one thing. Elective, cosmetic dentistry is very lucrative, and patients who can afford it can certainly choose to go that route if they want to. But, telling unwitting, blindly trusting patients that they “NEED” x,y,z mandatory, necessary dental work done (which, of course, will be expensive) when there is NO proof the “need” exists?!

No, I won’t do that to the patients, nor the dentists, nor the hygienists. No, I refuse to sell my soul to the devil-ish corporate dentistry profiteers with their corporate greed. When my two separate interviewers finished their sickening spiel of what my job responsibilities would be, their final sentence of “But we really care about our patients” didn’t ring true or genuine at all. I felt disgusted, and I couldn’t wait to leave. My heart broke for the patients who go to these dental offices, not knowing they’re corporate owned, and not knowing what they’re getting themselves into.

My years of management experience, and years of dental practice management experience, would have handed me either of those two positions. I said “No”. I said, “I cannot, in good conscience, accept the position and be able to live with myself. I cannot perform those duties on unsuspecting patients, your dentists and hygienists, so I must decline your offer”. And I left.

It took me some time, several months actually, to finally figure out what my career move would ultimately be. Where my passions lie. What my knowledge, experience, and heart was pulling me towards.

I’m halfway through completing two diploma courses, where I am becoming a Natural Health Practitioner and a Holistic Nutrition Practitioner. Once I have my two diplomas in my hands, I’m leaving dentistry behind for good, and moving forward into a truly rewarding field of health and healing.

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