When you are injured or recovering from a severe illness, you may be limited by the scope or pace of a very active dental practice. If you choose to remain in the dental field, there are many opportunities available to a skilled dentist. Your injury or illness may limit you, and transitioning into a different type of dental practice may appeal to you.
Simply reducing your hours is always an option. You may decide to work fewer hours each day or less days each week. This is a very personal decision and will be dictated by you health, finances, and inclination for change. Adapting to your new reality will be difficult, and the rehabilitation process can be lengthy and arduous.
Transitioning into one of the many ADA recognized specialties may be of interest. Understand that most specialties require significant training to advertise yourself as a specialist. Many now offer generous stipends during training to offset your sacrifice in time and effort. One option you may consider is exploring the possibility of dental prosthodontics. Basically there are two main paths that can be followed in this field currently.
Your first option is to gain board certification through one of the many CODA approved residency programs. In this effort you will specialize in all prosthodontics care to include implants, crown/bridge dentistry, prosthetic care, and total mouth reconstruction. Many times with very difficult cases. Oral and Maxillofacial Prosthodontic Specialist training could be included in this option. This will likely include 2 to 3 years of intense graduate training.
A second more simple option is available. Consider limiting your care to prosthetic/denture care only. Many states now license denturists that only legally fabricate dentures. As a dentist you offer the public a much better trained and experienced professional for their denture care. In addition you can restore and maintain implant cases as well as provide hygiene care with a hygienists for partial edentulous patients. Many dentists avoid denture cases and are likely to refer them, even to non-board certified practitioners. They will likely hold on to their other more profitable patients and avoid the stress of denture cases. Your office hours can be limited and your office overhead can be significantly less than a general practice office. Your dental lab will need to be great and will greatly decrease your workload.
If your health prohibits operative dentistry, this is a very attractive option. Whether you have a dexterity problem or diminished physical strength; making dentures can be an option to stay in the dental field. Make no mistake, denture cases can be very challenging and the patient pool is often filled with anxiety and unrealistic expectations. You know this going in and should be prepared.
Be an entrepreneur and hire denturists and hygienists to work for you. As the supervising dentist you may have more energy and less stress each day. You have run a dental practice before and know the ropes. Most communities have a DENTURE DENTIST. The financial rewards can be less than a general practice, but depend entirely on the amount of effort that you put into your business. You can slowly taper your financial needs to match your health and still remain in the field of dental healthcare..
Of course , prosthodontics is only one of many transition options that are open to a dentist who has had an injury or who has been limited by illness. Consider teaching, consulting, or volunteer dentistry. These are just a small sample of what you can explore. Doing nothing is not an option. Keep moving forward and add value to your life and hope to your family. Look at our many postings on career options and adapt/survive This is just one. CAREERS IN CONSULTING FOR DENTISTS.
“we are dentists helping other sick and injured dentists, we care.”