Denisonians in Health Professions: Dentistry

Denisonians in health professions: dentistry - david-hickey-300x268.png image #0David Hickey ’08

Current Role: Associate Dentist at Daily Dental & Braces Bar

Professional School attended: Ohio State University College of Dentistry, graduated in 2015

Fun Fact:
I like to travel and I’ve been to 15 countries so far.

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?

I wanted to go to medical school originally, but after shadowing in the hospital and asking physicians if they would do it all over again, most said they would not.  They missed too many significant events in their family’s lives.  They were burdened by insurance.  Most thought the doctor-patient relationship had eroded over the years.

Then, when I chipped a tooth I went to get it fixed by my dentist and I just started thinking about how cool it was that he put my tooth back together.  I realized dentistry is a great alternative to medicine because you use a lot of different science and health knowledge, while also working with your hands and building trust with people.  Someday, I want to own a practice and this is much easier to do in dentistry than in medicine.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?

Building relationships with patients, getting patients out of pain, and rebuilding their smiles

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

When you first start out after dental school, the procedures are difficult.  With practice and repetition, the procedures become easier to do.  But most challenging is working with people who hate the dentist or who have a negative attitude about you.  Almost every day someone tells you they don’t really want to be in your chair because they hate the dentist.  Although I don’t take this personally, after a while it still kind of drags on you.

Describe what a “typical day” looks like for you.

I can see 20 patients a day sometimes, for general dentistry as well as orthodontics (we do braces in my office).  Everybody is different in the dental chair, so it is hard to describe a typical day.  Generally, dental practice has a lot of different disciplines and you can decide what procedures you like to do, and refer the rest to specialists.  So there is great variety that makes each day interesting.  We do work long hours and occasional weekends at my job, but also get some weekdays off in return.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?

Ask your family dentist questions about the field and if you can shadow.  They were all in this situation before and they would be glad to help you!