Unemployment in Dentistry - Poor Pay, More Working Hours

Unemployment or joblessness is the situation of actively looking for employment but not being currently employed. There are many types of unemployment out of which let's see some forms of unemployment that is prevalent in dentistry. Unemployment can be voluntary, i.e. a person does not take a job because he is not satisfied with the salary and benefits he will be receiving in proportion to the working hours. There are jobs available, but the pay is too little, say Rs. 15000-20000 per month for a dentist. This is a situation of voluntary unemployment. And there may be relative unemployment too, which is a person who could get a job offer of Rs. 50,000 per month is doing Rs. 20,000 per month job due to unavailability of the job and is actively searching for some job with better pay. The person has qualification for a better job but is forced to settle for less. This situation is not absolute unemployment but is called relative unemployment.

And, there is another worse type of unemployment which is involuntary unemployment. Involuntary  unemployment is a situation when a person cannot  find a job even after searching for one actively, when they are fired from the current job due to the company  going in loss and downsizing, due to  artificial intelligence and robots taking over their jobs (Millions of driver becoming jobless due to Uber, Tootle, and such other services, many factory workers replaced by robots and machines), or due to insufficient infrastructures and facilities that could hire the manpower  that is existing and is produced every year. Fortunately, the unemployment in Dentistry is voluntary unemployment and relative unemployment. We will not be replaced by robots for at least a few decades (hopefully) and people are more aware these days about oral health's importance and its connection to general health.

Unemployment in Dentistry is perfectly solvable and is not an insurmountable feat to achieve if we understand few things well. Let's see them in points.

1.  There is a lot of work to do, but there is no job
Means, a lot of people have caries, a lot of people have periodontitis, malocclusion and hundreds of hundreds of problems which need oral health care but dentists are unemployed and the hospitals and clinics are overcrowded with patients. There is a lot of gap between demand and supply. Just imagine, if every person of our country visited to the dental clinic to have their teeth filled, or cleaned, or just for regular checkup. Will the available resources, manpower, facilities be able to accommodate them? We seek a job, we seek easy money without having to take up the risk of setting up a clinic, the burden of management and horde of imaginary problems and search for a job. We seek food laid in a plate to be eaten, a patient laid in a dental chair to be treated. We don't bother to increase awareness about dentistry and oral health to patients, we don't gather the confidence to open a clinic in a needy small town and take up the highest paying job available in the most crowded city of the country probably owned by a quack or a wealthy businessman. We cannot see that once the city is overloaded with dentists, they will have to fire us and downsize you without leaving any other options for us. We don't want to create job opportunities and help bridge the gap, we simply compete against ourselves for the limited job openings.

2. Dentists are academicians without economic and financial management skills
 We tend to become a learned fool because we dentists are trained in dental school just about the dental anatomy, pathology and its treatment only. We forget about economics, consumer behaviour and empathetic patient care. We settle for a pay per hour or pay per patient job without having an insight that it is the patient that pays us the money for our service and we are paying a heavy percentage of that money to the clinic owner or quack. Result?
- Expensive dental treatments!
- we rush to do more patients compromising patient care
- we fail to communicate well with the patient
- patient will have negative attitude towards dentistry
- will tell every other person he meets that he had a tooth filling for Rs.1000 and it came off the other day
- will tell every other person that having your teeth cleaned will make your teeth loose, make them even more sensitive
- all these happens because we fail to communicate efficiently with the patient.

There are things we must tell to the patient what to do or what not to do, things we should tell, and things we may tell (if time permits). But, in the race of getting more patients done, poor patient care results and we know what happens next.

3. The perceived value of dental treatment is less  to patients
People won't come to you for a dental check-up unless they cannot tolerate the pain. Thanks to the nociceptors and pain-conducting nerve fibers of pulp and pdl that do the job for us. Otherwise, I wonder how many people actually will come for treatment. People think, "No problem if my teeth loosen or falls. Nobody will die losing a teeth." We have failed to make them realize that losing a tooth is just like losing a finger, just like they cannot be regenerated again once they are lost. We need to create a value of teeth and oral health to the general public, the value of esthetics, value of a confident smile.

4. Focussing on Money rather than Service
We focus to generate more income without knowing the basics of how to earn. Why should our employer pay us Rs. 50,000 per month if we cannot make him more than that? Why should a patient pay you Rs. 1000 for a filling that won't last a week? Why would he try every other dentist in the town before making an assumption that all dentists are crooks who gouge the patients with exorbitant  charges for some slipshod work that doesn't even last a week? Every penny or every Rupees is exchanged for the goods or services in return that is perceived to have equal value. We hesitate to pay Rs. 20000 for a chinese company Tablet XiangXong which is equally as good but we  pay happily Rs. 50000 for an apple i-pad. Why? Because of the perceived value, the value it provides in return, because it is something trustworthy, something that has tested the time. Would we like to visit the dentist for the second time if :
- he makes you wait 2 hours before an appointment ?
- after waiting for a long time, having IOPA done and history taking and examination, tells you that you cannot have your teeth  extracted because the clinic is about to close and you have to come over next day
- he injects local anesthetic about a half a dozen times and scolds you for not behaving like a nice patient?

We need not worry about the service charge or salary or unemployment once every dentist understands these things and act towards the upliftment of dentistry as a whole. Running harder and harder in a rat race won't make us any better. Because even if we win, we're still a rat. So, let's focus on better dentistry for us, for patients, for future dentists to be.


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