Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Associate stories

I just ordered the Solaris LED headlight from a company called Perioptics.
They were rated #1 from Reality.
I am so excited.
If you thought I looked like a geek with my Design for Vision loupes, just think what I am going to look like with a geek light on top of my geek glasses.
Revenge of the Dental Nerds.

I read The Appeal by John Grisham over my vacation and I got to tell you he has really lost it. It was not good.
About 20 year ago I read the Firm and it was so good. Then I read A Time to Kill and I thought that book was just awesome. But now he is on his 600th book and (shaking my head) I don't think I will every read another one of his books.
The last five of his books that I have read have all sucked. I read Playing for Pizza, Skipping Christmas...not that good.
I actually stopped reading one of his books and I almost never do this. It was so memorable I can't remember the name. I think it was the Broker.
I finished this book and couldn't believe I just wasted my time.

On another totally different topic I am going to have "THE TALK" to my almost 10 year old son soon. I have known it has been coming but I think it is going to have to be so soon.
I saw one of his classmates at the office today and she was wearing a bra.
I am totally freaking out.
I mean him and I have a great relationship but this is going to take it to the next level.
And now when I make jokes to my wife about fooling around he is going to know what we are talking about.
He is still so naive, I can joke about it right in front of him and he wouldn't know what we are talking about (at least I think so).
I am sweating just thinking about it.

My assosciateships.
I told you I had three jobs my first year of real life. I worked with my dad. I worked as an associate and one day a week I work at a capitation office. To all non dental people this is an office that primarily take patients that are referred from an insurance company.
So I took this job because I wanted to work 5 days a week. I worked there on Friday's only.
This job was weird because the company actually rented some one's office space. I would be working out of two rooms and the dentist who owned the office would occasionally see some patients in the other rooms.
The office was run by a "office manager" who told me what to do.
This job was to just for me to do more dentistry. I wanted to do as much as I could. I still was very slow doing dentistry and as I eluded to you earlier I didn't know that much, so I wanted to see more.

I got to tell you that I thought I knew a lot. But it took about a month after working to realize I was a pawn in a chess match played by kings.
I knew something but it wasnt what I was seeing.
I knew letters but I didn't know how to read.
So I had this network of dentist that I would call at least weekly.
Three days a week I was out of the care of my father but the staff kind of understood when I called and asked for my dad (in a panic voice) it was time to interrupt him.
"Dad, I was taking a temporary crown off of someone and the abutment is in the temporary.
What the f!@#$%k do I do now?!!!" (the author of this blog does not necessarily reflect the views of the AGD).

They don't teach you this kind of thing in school.
I think I had an endodontist on retainer. My father went to dental school with a local endodontist and I called that poor guy all the time. He was so patient with me.
"Dr. X, I was using these brand new files called Profiles. I put a file in one of the canals while I was doing this root canal and it came out of the canal half the size. What just happened?"
One thing I give myself credit for is actually calling these guys. I refused to do this on my own.
I use to call my dad over to my operatory just to help me find orifices on root canals and he didn't even do root canals.
I did 4 root canals in school. I did one posterior root canal in school and it took me 9 hours.
Guess what everyone needs when you get into private practice? You guessed it...posterior root canals.

Funny story, I was out about 10 months and the state dental meeting was in Orlando. I was a mess after 10 months of struggling.
I saw a dental professor there. He said, "How is it going?"
I told him I was like a fish swimming up stream. I don't know what I am doing half the time.
Nobody needs what I know how to do. I am lonely and feel like I am on an island.
Then I come to these meeting and there isn't a single course for the young dentist."
I basically needed him to tell me everything was going to be okay and he said, "Okay, great seeing you John" and walked away.
"What?! That is what you have to say to me. 'Okay, see you John'?"
He didn't want to hear it.

In my second year out I was working for another dentist (I quit my first associateship). I was going to run one of his satellite offices. I was there on my own for two days a week.
This one patient had a loose partial and I was going to change out his Precision attachments on his lower partial.
Well how many times do you think they go over this in school? NEVER.
Well I didn't know what I was doing so I locked the sonbitch on. I called my prosthodontist friend and he came to the office and helped me cut the thing off. This was a great day.
Then you go home and your wife says, "How was your day?" What can you say?
You just smile and say, "Oh, pretty good. Is there any beer in the fridge?"
Are you kidding me?

Then I would read in my "throw away" magazines how easy it was to practice dentistry.
All you had to do was do this and you can make $500,000 a year.
I didn't care about the money I just didn't want to kill anyone in my first year out.
I went to a the ADA's young dentist annual meeting and there was a guy sitting at the table next to me talking very loudly.
He was telling someone that he did 24 units on someone "this morning" and they went in just like that.
I couldn't even do one without a half a day marked off the schedule.

Well it is getting late,
More funny stories on Friday,
It is Wednesday...halfway home guys,

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hi John,

I have been reading your blog for about a year now and I am enjoying these stories about your associatship experiences. I graduated in 2007, did a GPR, and have been an associate for almost a year now. I have been pretty lucky so far with the practice that I work in and the doctor that I work for. However, I have many days when I am so stressed out and wonder why I decided to be a dentist in the first place. (These are offset by the less numerous days when patients are grateful and life is perfect). It is always good to be reminded that this is how most dentists start out, and eventually things get better and confidence builds!
Congratulations to you and your wife.
Caroline Hamilton


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