I am an Australian student, about to undertake a number of interviews to hopefully gain entry into a dental science program. In preparation for these interviews, I’ve been reflecting on my reasons for wanting to study dentistry, and I was hoping someone who has been through a similar experience could offer me some feedback or advice. The biggest questions I think I have to answer for myself is; why dentistry? and then, why dentistry over med? My personal motivation to pursue a career as a dentist I think comes from the very nature of the work.It’s diagnostic, technical, and surgical enough to be continually interesting. I realise that like any job, some aspects would become mundane, but with the human form, I feel like there would be enough patient variation to constantly pose a challenge.

Coupled with this is the human aspect. I’m not an extremely outgoing ‘people person’, but I do enjoy communicating. If any practising dentists are reading this, how important are patient relationships in your work?Are they as big a part as they seem to be in my mind? Or, does being a nice person take a back seat to technical ability? Basically I see dentistry as a career in which you require a lot of balance in order to be successful – mostly between technical proficiency and interpersonal skills. Although I suppose that’s true for most careers.

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Can anyone offer advice about any aspect I’ve overlooked? What makes dentistry better than medicine? (I’d be really interested to hear dentists’ opinions on this).For me it comes down to a few reasons – the most notable relating to the amount of work related stress. I can’t imagine a situation where a dentist would be forced to make a life or death decision for a patient, or where a momentary lapse of concentration could lead to a lawsuit. But at the same time, being a dentist is just like being a specialist, so I think succinctly, dentistry when it comes down to it is having the best of both worlds: an interesting medical career, with minimal stress and hassle.I think what it comes down to in the end for me, is the personal aspect. I get the feeling that it’s a lot more difficult to make a patient feel comfortable, and to have them trust your abilities than it is to drill a hole in a tooth.

So how do you do it? I’m sure there isn’t one secret, but what are your opinions on the matter? Thanks to anyone who takes the time to reply, any helpful words or advice would be greatly appreciated!