By Susan Braden
Most dentists probably do not consider what would happen if they are no longer able to practice due to injury. Working for dental insurance companies could be a smooth next step for facing this unexpected turn in life. Whether temporary or permanent, the development of a disability could signal a new career direction.
Dentistry is physically demanding on the neck, back, wrists, shoulders and hands due to the hours spent leaning over and repetitively performing precise work. Even minute impairments such as small hand tremor can cause a dentist to become unable to work.
Rather than being destined to a lifetime on the couch, he or she could see a job switch due to disability as an opportunity to grow and learn in a new way. Working for a dental insurance agency may be a solution.
Other Possible Next Steps for the Recently Disabled:
- Those with recent disabilities may wish to network with other individuals or groups in the same situation for support and advice in possibly reshaping their careers.
- If an evaluation deems it possible, a former dentist may be able to retrain and adapt to work with a physical impairment. His or her practice may continue to function through adaptive equipment or physical adaptation.
- A former dentist may want to transition to a teaching or research position at a dentistry school. He or she could draw on an extensive knowledge base as well as personal experience.
- Besides working for a dentistry school or a company that offers dental coverage, some disabled dentists choose to continue to use their expertise in another career path. Some choose to pursue something new in public policy development, oral health care administration, or through oral product manufacturing companies.
Some dentists may see disability as a handicap, but some see it as an opportunity to try new things and expand their horizons. Due to the “insider” knowledge a dentist gains through experience in communicating with various insurances, a dental insurance agency could benefit from hiring a former dentist as a consultant or in some other position.