Baseball fans will appreciate this quote, especially this year.  Nothing is over till it’s truly over.   You have dedicated your life to dentistry.  Don’t let cancer or a car accident prevent you from remaining valued and relevant.   When you are laying in a hospital bed or struggling to recover, it may seem like that you are permanently out of commission.  Nothing is further from the truth.

Your experience as a dentist has given you a set of very valuable tools to fight back and survive.  You have fought through educational challenges, financial difficulties, and practice management battles.  The skills that you have gained place you far ahead of the general population.  There has never been a better time to be a dentist.  Use your past to enhance your future.

Even if your dental capabilities are compromised, you do have options.  First look to maximizing your recovery with a maximum effort at rehabilitation.  Your medical knowledge far surpasses the average person on the street, and seeking second medical opinions along with new treatment strategies places you at a distinct advantage.  Follow this with a sincere evaluation of your condition only after you given all treatment options  adequate time to work.  You are not alone.  Out of the over 200,000 dentists now practicing in the United States today, over 50,ooo will encounter a significant disabling illness or injury over the next 25 years.  This is a fact.   No exaggeration here and well supported by insurance industry data/records.

Move toward the problem. Don’t back away. Take intelligent risks and only you can decide when to make the right decisions.  If you can’t practice, transition.   Move on to teach, consult, or volunteer.  If you can practice, look at reducing your hours.  Consider becoming and employee and not an employer.  Your most desired option of returning to full active practice is great, but be prepared for an alternative life choice.

Positive thinking has power. You are always going to be a dentist. The exact capacity you use those skills in are entirely up to you. Doing nothing is not an option. Continuing to be relevant and valued is dependent on action.  Only you will decide when IT’S OVER.   Engage and work up a plan.  Just like the treatment plans you have set up for your patients.  Sit down and make smart decisions on your future. Collaborate with your spouse, family, friends, and peers.   A group effort will get the best result.   As in any business decision, you get the best result with maximum input and information.

If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right! Concentrate on the things you can do, not the things that you can’t do.  Perfect is the enemy of good.   This simple phrase is key in the practice of dentistry. Dental practice and life are a series of compromises and knowing when to stop and when to move on are skills you have inherited.  Use this to you advantage and make the best decisions own your future.  We hope you return to practice after your experience with illness/injury, BUT UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGES THAT AWAIT MANY.

Look to our posting on the ten steps to survive disability as a start.TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY. Use the information provided to make smart decisions on your future and survive. Now is the time to act,and postponing important initial decisions on your future may have serious personal and financial consequences.  In retrospect, only time wins the battle in dental careers.   All dentists will transition from active practice someday.  Don’t be the one who dies at the chair doing one last crown. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. LOOK AT WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO YOU PERSONALLY. THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO MAKE GREAT DECISIONS ON YOUR DENTAL PRACTICE AND LIFE IN GENERAL.



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