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How precise should you be to practice dentistry?

#dentistry
Is it possible for someone with trembling hands to even consider being a dentist?

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Steven’s Answer

Interesting question. I would guess that if you took a large group of dentists and tested the steadiness of their hands, there would be a wide range of findings. So it is not possible to give you an absolute answer with regard to the feasibility of practicing without knowing how badly one's hands are shaking. Context here is everything. For example, I recently needed surgery, and I tried to get a very well-known surgeon to do it, but was told that he no longer operated, because he had developed Parkinsons's disease. That would pretty much disqualify anyone from doing surgery. So the first thing to know is how badly and under what conditions do your hands shake; and what is the cause of the shakiness.

Some dentists go into related fields in which a hand tremor might not be as absolute a disqualifier--research, academia, public health. But you'd still have to get through dental school, and that means your hands will need to be reasonably steady. We are taught early on ways to stabilize our hands during treatment via finger and hand rests, which certainly help. And if the shakiness is situational (ie: there are certain situations that provoke nerves) I know that certain performers (actors, musicians) take a class of drug known as beta blockers. But this makes no sense as a strategy if your hands shake all the time.

I would suggest that if you don't know the cause of any tremor to have it determined --whether it is an emotional or neurologic issue. Be honest with yourself about whether this can be controlled, or if it is likely to get better or worse over time. You might also talk to your dentist who likely can ask you questions or give you simple exercises to determine the magnitude of any tremor, and to render an opinion as to whether it is of a magnitude that will dictate that dentistry is not a realistic goal for you.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for answering my question, sir. Ashlynn
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