“Why did you become a dentist?” This is a question that I have been asked pretty regularly since graduating dental school in 2005.

When I started college at University of Louisville, I knew that I wanted to be in the medical field-a doctor or dentist or nurse. After my first year of college, I decided to explore dentistry, to see if it was right for me. I did this by getting a part-time job at my childhood dentist’s office, Dr. Hammer (seriously-his last name is Hammer). He allowed me to assist and taught me about dentistry along the way. I was excited about all aspects of dentistry. It didn’t take long to imagine myself being a dentist. Dentistry would allow me to be helpful and caring, artistic and creative, as well as work the hours that would be conducive to family life. The rest is history-years of hard work and here I am.

That leads to the question, “Why I love being a dentist now?” There are too many reasons to possibly list, but here are my Top 10 reasons I love being a dentist:

1. Most people do not love going to the dentist, but I am good at making it as comfortable as possible. This brings me joy.

2. I get to interact with great patients daily and form relationships that last years. We have patients that travel from Washington state, Florida, and Indiana just to have their dental care provided at Hughes Family Dentistry. They even bring their dogs to visit me (for snuggles, not for dental work).

3. I can help a patient find relief from excruciating pain.

4. I am blessed to work with a great staff, whom are also my friends.

5. I LOVE working with children and introducing them to a lifetime affinity for the dentist (not fear).

6. I am in a field that has new technology and continuing education available regularly. Coming soon…3D scanner, which means no more yucky impressions! And I am enjoying a intense year-long Implant Fellowship Program through NYU School of Dentistry.

7. I get to witness humorous behavior from Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas) usage.

8. I get to be artistic and creative by shaping and polishing cosmetic restorations.

9. I am blessed to have a schedule that doesn’t interfere with my most important job of being a MOM.

We were able to go to South Dakota during my kids’ and husband’s fall break

10. And my favorite part of being a dentist is creating “smiles” for people that literally haven’t smiled for years (or even their entire life), because of embarrassment and shame of their teeth. To me, there are only a few things in this world as good as someone seeing their new smile for the first time. I know that they will now smile at their children and spouse, laugh freely without embarrassment, and be confident at their job. This is my gift, my skill, or my talent. Whatever you want to call it, I get to create smiles for people that deserve to truly smile and be happy.

That pretty much sums up “Why I became a dentist”. I can honestly say that I love my job!