Updated: Mar 14
Imagine bending over a someone's mouth all day, holding a sharp object, trying to be incredibly precise, poking someone's gums and teeth...for hours. Imagine looking at a tooth with tremendous concentration, fighting off the smell of bad breath, under some weird fluorescent light, while you reach for another incredibly sharp object, and all the while trying to make out what someone is saying with a mouth full of suction tubes. Now imagine standing up for 10 seconds, twisting to the left, and starting the whole thing over again. Now imagine you have that job...with back pain...or carpal tunnel...or a headache. That would suck!
The physical demands of the dentist and dental hygienist create all sorts of physical pain. As a patient, when I go to get my teeth cleaned, I am usually only concerned with how much pain I'm going to have while I'm laying back in the chair. I never think about what the folks helping me are feeling. It turns out...they hurt like hell.
The Ouch! program is perfect for folks in the dental profession. They can't afford to be sidelined by surgery for extended periods of time. They obviously can't be all doped up on meds while they're working in our mouths. And, they work in a profession that creates imbalance in their bodies every single day. The perfect way to unwind after a day, a week, or a month of "helping others" while they beat themselves up, is to do a routine of corrective exercises (and then maybe have a glass of wine).
I was talking to my Hygienist the other day, and she told me that basically, everybody in the office hurts. There are elbow problems, back problems, neck problems, chronic headaches, wrist issues, and not enough time in the day to take a break and focus on their own bodies. The clients just keep coming, and the staff look forward to the weekend to literally get some rest, and relax.
Throughout my career, I've noticed the connection between "great clients" and those that work in the dental profession. They have always had great success, and are committed to doing their exercises regularly. Now, I know why. I'm pretty sure most of them might be justified in wearing a cape as part of their uniform, because they're kinda like superheroes. In fact, they, more than perhaps any other profession, have altered the way I look at the physical demands of a job. So often, I think most of us consider jobs that are "tough on the body" as jobs where we are physically exerting ourselves in bursts, or in ways that require maximum effort. I now know that we don't have to be Bear Grylls, or a firefighter, or someone in the military, or an elite athlete to have a job that is demanding on the body.
So next time you pop in to see your dentist, and they happen to be wearing performance gear, or even a cape...just know they've earned the right to feel like a hero. However, if they are wearing a mask...they might be actually be a super villain. And in that case, run baby run...nobody needs that with toothache.
If you want make sure they are in the best possible frame of mind, make sure they are feeling their best physically. Don't just lie to them about flossing...Send them to Ouch! to get a set of exercises so they can get back into balance. A happy dentist creates happy patients...
Photo by Bofu Shaw on Unsplash