If you find yourself reading this post, we will assume you are a dentist who is disabled or is questioning themselves about a future disability. You may even be totally healthy, and just curious as to what life may hold for you after dentistry. In either case, a serious question may arise as to where you should go from here.
As the title line emphasizes, you might be contemplating changing careers or positions within or out of the dental field. First, remember you have time. No great decisions are made in haste. Sit back and write down your goals and needs. See if the fields you are researching line up with those parameters.
Commonly we are faced with the problem of why you need a job. Do you need a job for financial reasons? Do you need a job to retain a sense of value and self-worth? Or Both? These are serious questions that we see daily. Start with asking yourself these tough questions. Do you really need to work? Or would volunteering be just as rewarding? Maybe you’re concerned about just being bored; all are legitimate reasons to ask about working in the future.
Maybe we should go ahead and use that “4 letter word”. Retirement. Yes, some of us have paid our dues and are ready to hang up our hand-piece and ride off into the sunset. That number is almost always small, but there are some. In any case, you may find yourself volunteering in any number of fields to remain active and enjoy life. For those of you approaching this point, understand NO ONE DIES REGRETTING THEY DIDN’T DO ONE MORE CROWN. This may be over doing it to make point, but being blunt is often effective in these situations. It’s your life, make good decisions. YOLO
For the vast majority, a dedicated search for a new or transitional career is in order. According to our search history, many are seeking dental claims adjuster jobs. The true scope of fields eligible for a dentist are huge and please look at the prior posts on this website to get solid ideas on job opportunities. We often strongly encourage education and consulting as our 2 top transitional fields. There are so many others to include law, real estate, small business administration, government positions, and political positions are just a few.
Going back to where we started, money is often a huge factor. Take it to the bank, you will likely earn less in non-clinical fields. The financial rewards of being a dentist are great and matching them is very difficult. Accepting that fact is an early step in being successful in your search. As far as maintaining your sanity by getting back on the horse that threw you off, finding a position that gives you a sense of self-worth is much, much easier. Whether it is a paid position teaching dental students/assistants or a volunteer position in a local community college; we have found that maintaining ones sense of value critical to long term survival.
Yes, we are talking survival. Not all of us make it, and putting things into perspective is very important. Dentistry may be your life, but it doesn’t have to be your death. We appreciate your perseverance in either making sound decisions to survive. Focus on what is important; your family, children, and faith. Your patients and practice will move on without you. That may be a hard pill to swallow, but it is the truth. None of us is irreplaceable and accepting that fact is a key component in your search for a new meaning in your life. See our postTEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY to get a better perspective on survival.
We strongly encourage dentists to seek the best medical care and get better. If you can return to clinical practice, you are to be commended. Even if you are only able to function in a reduced capacity. We know that long term disability is a reality and many of us need to transition out of patient care for our mental as well as physical health. This is nothing to be ashamed of, and just moving on to the next phase of our lives. We often hear dentists describing their transition out of direct patient care as the best thing that ever happened to them. You can still find valued positions that impact peoples lives as a teacher, consultant, and or volunteer. Believe me, this will allow you to retain your sanity in a cruel world.
There is no quick fix for a disabled dentist, unless you choose a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Yes, your disability may be permanent; but the shock of it is only temporary. It is easy for me to say that now. It was near impossible before. The realization that dentistry is likely in your rear-view mirror can be catastrophic and extremely disheartening. The light at the end of the tunnel is hope. Hope is a good thing, perhaps the best of things. We didn’t give up during those hard years of dental school and putting our heads down and moving ahead is in our blood as dentists. They don’t call dentists Type-A personalities for no reason.
Whatever your decision; continuing to work, transitioning into a related field, or volunteering to train the next generation……….you have made the right decision, because you have systematically made good decisions. Ask your peers, friends, and family for suggestions and ideas. No one gets through situations like these alone. Sit down and research your options. Focus on where you have the best chance for success. Don’t be afraid of failure. You have time to try and try again till you find the best fit for your situation.
Please go back to our website at http://disableddentists.org for numerous detailed ideas on jobs, transition, and survival. As always, we are available 24/7 for free consultation. We never charge a cent, and our only reward is your survival and success. We have dentists who have survived cancer, heart attacks, strokes, car accidents, depression, and drug addiction that can speak to you directly. Who better to talk with than other dentist who has been there and survived? We know the mistakes and pitfalls to avoid. We also know the smart decisions to make now that will lead to a fruitful, productive and happy life.
WE ARE DENTISTS HELPING OTHER ILL AND INJURED DENTISTS