Small Town Dentistry Offers Big Time Rewards
By Dr. Benjamin
As I approached the end of my dental education one the major decisions, which had to be made, centered on where I would eventually like to establish a practice. For many young practitioners it is difficult to determine which location will provide both professional and financial rewards for the next thirty plus years of dental practice. Suggestions seem to come from all directions ranging from: practice where the money is, or work where you want to live instead of living where you want to work. I, being no different than many of my other young colleagues, struggled to decipher which piece of advice would lead me to the ideal practice location. Fortunately for me, practicing dentistry in the small rural towns of New Bethlehem and Rimersburg, Pa. has provided me with everything that I had to hoped to get out of my profession.
Simply by working in a rural location you almost automatically enter into a symbiotic relationship with the people who live there. I am treated not just as a dentist but as an integral member of the community who is providing a valuable service to the people who reside in the area. Conversely, I am very thankful and feel almost indebted to my patients because they provide me with the opportunity to earn an income in a place I truly enjoy living and working. My patient population isn’t one that routinely requests six to eight units of anterior porcelain veneers, or full mouth reconstruction utilizing crown and bridge or implant prosthetics. Instead, extractions, anterior composites, posterior amalgams, RPD repairs, and fabricating new dentures are more the order of the day. However, I can't imagine that even Dr. Bill Dorfman's Extreme Makeover cases give him any more gratification than I get from restoring a class II fracture of #8, adjusting a removable prosthesis so a patient can now eat comfortably or extracting several abscessed teeth on someone who is having severe pain. Rural Pennsylvania has not only afforded me a place to practice dentistry and raise a family; it has provided patient experiences and social interactions, which would be tough to duplicate anywhere but in a small town.