A Day In The Life Of A Dentist

dentist working on patient

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a dentist? What’s it like to be a dentist every day and what do they do at work? Here’s a basic breakdown of Day in the Life: Dentist Edition.

First Things First

Your daily routine as a dentist can vary from one office to the next. Depending on if you’re in private practice, working for a corporate entity, or even if you’re the owner-dentist, business partner, or an associate. The daily responsibilities will vary. Other factors can also be at play, depending on whether you’re in a general practice or working as a specialist.

Starting Off the Day

Most days start off with a morning huddle. During this quick office pow-wow, the staff will go over the schedule for the day, discuss what procedures are planned, and even talk about who might owe money before treatment can be performed. Having a good idea of the day makes it easier to squeeze in an emergency appointment and prevents the dentist from having to read up on every single case before each appointment.

Before seeing patients (and maybe even before the morning huddle) dentists will also return any phone calls from patients or referring providers. They’ll also want to check on lab cases for the day to make sure everything is ready for each patient.

One Patient to the Next

The dentist is responsible for seeing almost every patient that comes in and out of the office that day. Appointments are typically staggered, so that patients can be seated, prepped, treated, with time for the dentist to step out and examine hygiene patients. Since it can take a while for local anesthetic injections to “kick in”, those moments are great opportunities for the dentist to step away for any other exams that need to be completed.

As the dentist walks from room to room, they’ll also take time to get to know their patients, educate them about the procedures they’re having that day, and talk to them about what to expect after treatment.

Most dentists perform treatments like fillings, extractions, crowns, and root canals. But if they prefer, they may decide to refer especially challenging cases or procedures to a specialist.

Daily Wrap-Up

At the end of the day, dentists usually go through all of their patient notes, check on lab work that needs to be picked up/dropped off the next day, finish up any lab work (like pouring models or packing cases) and check on all of the insurance claims before they’re submitted. They’ll also call any specialists to discuss patient referrals and treatment collaboration, if necessary.

After that, they’ll shut everything off, lock up, and leave for the day.

SIDE NOTE: Some of the “housekeeping” type responsibilities may be shared by other staff or the office manager, but in a general small family practice, these day-to-day activities tend to be fairly consistent from one office to the next.

There’s nothing mundane or boring about being a dentist! No two days will ever be alike.

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