Top 10 Ways Being a Dentist Has Ruined my Body
Rants from the Dental Operatory.....So I'm staring at the counter in my bathroom this morning at the buffet of little pills and supplements that I take every day. Some are prescribed....some are nutritional supplements....some are for what I hope will slow down the decline of my “middle-aged mom bod”..... and some are....because of a life in dentistry. I know some of you feel my pain....literally. Does anyone else scoff in the aisle at Target when they see the 25 count bottle of Advil???? Who the hell only buys 25?....That's like less than a weeks supply, even my purse Advil is a 100 count....please girl, bring on the Cosco size! (Full disclosure....yes, embarrassingly....I have an Advil supply at home, at the office and in my purse....don't judge me....just pray for my intestines.) Anyways...it got me thinking of the ways being a dentist has really affected my body....so, I present to you.....The Top 10 Ways Being a Dentist Has Ruined My Body.
- My Feet: I remember in my 20s wearing sexy high heels or cute strappy wedge sandals...now, no more. First, wearing sneakers at work on a daily basis has totally ruined the ability to walk in anything with a heel. If I do attempt to dress up a bit....I spend the first hour walking around like your toddler does when they have an extra special present for you in their diaper. I wobble side to side, my hands always out at my side to brace my fall...it is not graceful, nor sexy in the least. Secondly, some mornings I wake up with the wonderful gift of plantar fasciitis in my right foot. This gem was bestowed upon me due to the constant.... yet inconsistent pressure we depress on our rheostat! Varying our handpiece speeds to different RPMs is a talent we all achieve....but not without consequences....think it caused my bunion too...yeah, let's blame that dentistry.
- My Legs: I wouldn't say dentistry caused any physical changes to my legs....however, it has trained me to have bad habits.....especially when I am trying to be my best at being a proper lady. (Because THAT happens a lot!) Think about it......most of us sit on the right hand side of the patient....and when we work on them, our legs are often spread open at a 90 degree angle. This habit of sitting legs wide open is fine when you are in your scrubs and covered by the dental chair but not so great when you are in the front pew in church at your daughters first communion.
- My Waistline: Good lord...did I ever have a waistline? An ample bosom can be attractive as long as it is not the same size as your waist and hip measurements....but that pretty much nails my silhouette right about now. (let's be kind and call it my “winter weight”) Having two babies back to back certainly did not help but working in a dental office is akin to free sample day at the grocery shore. Staff, patients, specialists, dental reps....always bringing in snacks and goodies. If you are like me....you graze all day on crap...but yummy crap. I have a large Amish population in my practice and these woman know how to bake...and they bake with the good stuff....sugar, lard, butter, full fat stuff...come on...I'm suppose to be satisfied with kale chips??? And.....this grazing all day adds up....and.....our scrubs are forgiving...so reality doesn't hit hard until you are rummaging through your husbands closet to see if HIS jeans will fit you.
- My Back: Need I say more.....can I get a collective “Amen” ladies?.....If I woke up one morning and my back didn't hurt....that will be the day I know I died and passed on to the great big waiting room in the sky. I also have an hour commute home each day...and I don't care if it is 100 degrees out.....my heated seats in my car are on high to help with my muscle aches.
- My Neck: This ever happen to you?....“Mr. Smith could you please turn your head towards me?”....and he turns his neck about one centimeter?...”Little more please.”.....half a centimeter more. ...we contort our necks into so many positions to accommodate patients and it takes it toll....and on some patients....they literally become the pain in our neck. On the positive side though, we wear masks...and what a great way to hide my neck wrinkles and double chin.
- My Eyes: DON”T STARE AT THE CURING LIGHT! I know!...but sometimes you have to when there's no orange shield because your patient refuse to open their mouth more than an inch….and that bright dental operatory light that the assistant always seem to flip up in your face…..and your intense loop lights that hit your instruments just the right way and reflect a beam of light right into your eye..... and staring thru magnification for hours at tiny little details trying to decipher if that is caries or amalgam stain….and looking thru a baby mirror and tricking your eyes to correlate what the mirror image is.....and trying to interpret the radiographs with so many varying shades that even Christian Grey would get frustrated and call it a day. Add to this being over 40 and the fun life changes that come with that...my eyes....my eyes are an insight to my soul....and my soul is saying....perhaps we need some bifocals and Visine.
- My Hair: I think my hair has had a slow progression from salon styled perfection....to a quick and sensible hair style....to scrub hair, don't care. The day I came home and my daughter commented on how shiny my hair was my breaking point. This could be a compliment to some....but to me, alas it was not.....I thought it could have been my hair appearing like it needed a wash (thank God for dry shampoo).....but no, in actually she saw a rogue piece of amalgam that must have flown out of the patients mouth and into my hair while drilling. Fun times....nothing like bringing some work home with you.
- My Hands: ...yup....the obvious soreness and arthritic changes are starting to make picking up little object a bit more difficult....(seating a short Maxillary 2nd molar crown is always a nice challenge to the day) compounded with signs of carpel tunnel. (Can we all say YAY for disability insurance!)....but even just the day to day assault on our hands. The dryness from constantly washing them, 2,000 glove changes a day, your thumb cramping up retracting the cheek to get access to the of the distal buccal of #16? I sometimes will go get weekly manicures....just for the 5 minute hand massage they do.....it does makes my nails look pretty too though....because I think they would look at me weird if I said I just wanted someone to rub my hand for an hour.
- My Teeth: ...you think being there daily I would have immaculate teeth? But aren't we all the worst patients. I think my own hygiene recall seems to be on a “every 2 year cycle'...I probably have one or two cavities still on my To-Do list.....working in dentistry has definitely made me start to clench and grind.....and I think about those facts every night as I see my barely used night guard in my medicine cabinet cozied up to my unopened floss samples....and wonder if I just bathe in Prevident will all my dental problems just go away.
- My Brain: ...we've save the crème de la crème for last haven't we? Clearly with my rants you are beginning to pick up that I may have a screw or two loose.....but better to have some lightheartedness in our profession than to really let it get you down. But seriously, a life in dentistry affects you mentally....just as much as it does physically. I don't need to tell you ladies that. People hate us....and some days being told that over and over and over again....messes with you. But here are my thoughts when I am stuck with those types of patients.....you came to MY office, you sat in MY chair, you are asking for MY expertise...so even though you hate me......somewhere, you have trust in me and my abilities…..and you want my help. So I will help you.....I may mind punch you a thousand times before our appointment is done....but I will do MY best to help you. And let's be real, in the end, if the mental abuse we all are subjected to after a long day is wearing on me....well, there may be a few other special pills prescribed by my doctor that help make the day feel OK. Stay strong my warrior women of dentistry!