It’s a question I often get. Most likely because people can’t imagine doing what I do for a living. It takes a special breed. You must have a healthy combination of thick skin and empathy. You must be kind, compassionate, professional, and highly skilled. Finding a healthy balance of the above is a daily challenge that all dentists wrestle with.
So what was it? I wanted to stick my fingers in people’s mouth ever since I wasn’t allowed to put them in my own anymore? Not really. It’s all about circumstances and experiences. For me, in short, it was the recent dental graduation of a high school friend whose father was my dentist. As I returned home after college to live at home and drink my father’s beer, my friend asked me if I’d be interested in tagging along at his father’s dental office to see what dentistry was like. And that’s how it all started. Just like that. From there, it was off to dental school, meeting my wife, having three wonderful children, owning and operating two patient-centered practices, and now writing this blog. There have been a lot of trials in between, but that’s what it takes to succeed in your profession. After all, what I do is “practice” and you of course are the “patient”.
To understand dentistry one must understand failure. My job is all about failure. It’s true. When I present advanced dental topics and cases to my colleagues at meetings or to my prosthodontic residents at Tufts, I always discuss methods of failure. The oral environment is one of the harshest places for our work and our dental materials to survive, especially long term. Often we (dentists) are judged by how successful our work survived this harsh environment. Is it fair or unfair? It’s neither really. It’s just the reality of the profession. What differentiates some from others is their knowledge and experience when it comes to avoiding failure. Let me be clear, everything we do as dentists will ultimately fail, some much quicker than others. Some based on quality of work, others on choices they’ve made when it comes to materials, laboratories used, case management, etc. There are a multitude of variables that have to be understood before one takes on the challenge of working in one’s mouth.
I decided that the challenge of general dentistry wasn’t enough and made the decision to study three more additional years to become an expert in the most advance cases dentistry has to offer. Now I’m the person who gets to get involved in some of the most difficult, esthetically and functionally demanding cases that dentistry has to offer. Again, all while trying to avoid the inevitable failure of our work. It can become frustrating and maddening and we all know (myself included) that the dental chair can bring out some of the worst anxiety known to mankind.
So why did I choose this profession? Because I love it! It’s not work, it’s my life’s joy. Not only that, but I feel I’m good at it too. I’ve dedicated my professional and a chunk of personal life to the discipline of dentistry and prosthodontics specifically. I want to be there for all my patients having them know full well that I’m studying always on their behalf, that I’m trying to the best to my abilities each and every day, and that I will never stop in my pursuit. Why? Because I love what I do and I absolutely hate FAILURE!
-Dr. Moftah El Ghadi, DMD, FACP Prosthodontist
To learn more about Dr. El Ghadi, click here.