I'm contemplating either optometry or dentistry, but am worried that there's sort of a dwindling demand for optometrists in light of LASIK, auto-refraction, etc. I'm leaning toward dentistry because of its hands-on nature, but as I'm doing research on the field, some things I've found are pretty troubling, so I was wondering if a dentist parent here could shed some light on them:
1. Dentists and Suicide: While statistics don't exactly prove that dentists have higher suicide rates in comparison with white collar jobs, many sources seem to say that the work is monotonous and the life quite stagnant, isolated, and lonely, and thus resultant in psychological problems in many a dentist. They claimed that it was emotionally draining having to work in a small dark space (the patient's mouth) the entire day, and physically draining having to sit for long spans of time with the back bent uncomfortably.
2. Risk of Exposure: Obviously dentists must be meticulous in creating a sterile environment for patients, but many sources say that there is high risk of infection by bloodborne pathogens. They also say that the dentist must guard his ears to avoid the intense grinding noise of the drill, and that exposure to nitrous oxide over time contributes to psychologica/behavioral problems, which pretty much tie back in to no.1 on this list.
3. Dentist Phobia: Finally, these sources claim that there exists almost a universal hate for dentists. There are numerous phobias surrounding dentists in all sectors of the population. Dentists are many a time perceived as sadists, unlike their kind and friendly, patient-oriented physician counterparts. Is it discouraging for a dentist that many a person loathes going to visit him?
I myself feel more helped upon leaving the dentist's office than the physician's, possibly because the results are more concrete. A dentist's work is, to me, very valuable and necessary. I have had, moreover, only positive encounters with dentists over the years. I'd like to know of your actual experiences as a dentist regarding these claims, because I certainly don't want to be scared off for nothing. I realize that there are real and perceived negative aspects attached to all professions. Thankyou !