There are three absolute truths about dentists:
• They can make a good living;
• They have a regular schedule compared to their medical counterparts;
• They really have to work hard to make sure people like them.
After all, with the drilling, discomfort and the fingers-in-mouth they so generously provide, it’s easy to see why Walt Disney didn’t pick one for face of the franchise.
“No one wants to go to a grumpy dentist,” says Dr. Jasmin Fitch of Stouffville, Ont. “A lot of it is about making sure the patients are happy and comfortable. You have to be a people person.”
Fitch, 26, has been working up in Kirkland Lake, Ont., for the past 11 months upon graduating from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry. She admits that most of her patients may not necessarily like what she does, but she takes the necessary steps to ensure they like her.
“You want to make it a memorable, fun experience for them and not just about the work itself,” she says. “It’s important to take their minds off the work I’m doing.”
Whether she’s got a five-year-old in the chair for a check-up or a 55-year-old saddled up for a root canal, her approach is the same — find some common ground, be fun and have a good time (or as good a time as possible).
She finds staying current with TV shows ranging from Dora the Explorer to American Idol help this, as does randomly breaking in to an impromptu radio sing-a-long. After all, she wants to make sure she has an enjoyable day, as well.
With a child of her own due in mid-summer, she also appreciates the schedule dentistry allows her. A self-admitted “Monday to Friday, nine-to-five kind of girl,” she likes the way she can book appointments during the weekdays and leave her work at the office in the evening.
For someone considering a career in health sciences, this is an important consideration.
Fitch points out that as opposed to a medical doctor, she did not have to do a residency, will never be on call 24-hours a day and can work a consistent schedule. It was these lifestyle factors that greatly helped when choosing which avenue she wanted to pursue in the life sciences.
Set to return from Kirkland Lake in early June, Fitch is excited about getting her career rolling in the GTA. She feels she now has the experience under her belt to enter a more competitive market. In fact, the reason she went all the way up to Kirkland Lake was “to get the most experience as possible in the shortest amount of time.”
Working at the only clinic in hundreds of kilometres, she was able to book patients to fill her days months in advance. With the concentration of dentists in Toronto, she says, the same opportunities for young dentists simply don’t exist.