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Career Profile: Dentist - James Tynecki

Career Profile: Dentist - James Tynecki

James Tynecki, D.D.S., Dentist, United States Navy Dental Officer, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland

National Institutes of Health: Office of Science Education

I chose this career because…

I chose to become a dentist because it allows me to be self-employed, work independently, use my artistic ability, and express my creativity. Achieving gratification through helping others is most important to me.

• Associate of Arts, Dietetics and Nutrition, Florida International University, Miami, Florida
• Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Howard University College of Dentistry, Washington, DC
• Licensed to practice in Pennsylvania
• Member: Academy of General Dentistry

Continuing Education

Currently, I am working to fulfill the requirements of a Fellowship from the Academy of General Dentistry. Requirements include:

• Retaining membership in the Academy for 3 years
• Completing 400 hours of continuing education credits (I have completed 500 hours.)
• Passing a 400-question exam. (I expect to take this exam in the coming months at one of the many testing centers in the US.)

My typical workday involves…

More on Dentistry

Median Salary: $136,960
Min. Education: Doctorate
Related Careers: Dental Hygienist, Dental Laboratory Technician

My typical workday usually starts around 7:00 a.m. and ends at 4:00 p.m., with an hour lunch break around midday. Patients are generally scheduled every hour.

A dental appointment involves:

• Reviewing the patient’s history to determine the chief complaint
• Checking the patient’s general health and vital signs
• Requesting that the dental assistant prepare the necessary materials for the dental procedure
• Dental Procedures such as:
- Periodontal Surgery
- Wisdom tooth extraction
- Fitting crowns/dental bridges
- Implants
- Esthetic Dentistry: white fillings and porcelain veneers
- Fillings/Root canals

Being a junior dental officer means there are always senior officers available for consultation. I have always taken advantage of these educational assets. There is no better resource than experience. At most dental commands, there are specialists to consult with and learn from, in every field of dentistry.

What I like best/least about my work…

What I like best about my work is when I give a patient a “smile” that they are proud to wear. In some cases, a patient’s appearance affects their ability to interact successfully with others. Many patients won’t smile because they believe they have an unattractive smile. Often one or two appointments may correct the problem. Other times, it may take months to make a difference. My artistic and creative abilities have really helped me as a dentist. Being good with your hands and being compassionate are also necessary skills in good dental practice.

The most difficult, yet satisfying part of my job is planning the overall treatment of a patient. A dentist needs to look at the whole person, not just their teeth. A dentist is generally the first one to identify systemic diseases, because many diseases present their first signs and symptoms in the head and neck region. The detection of a possible systemic disease places a great responsibility on the dentist, and emphasizes the importance of staying current in the knowledge of good dental practice.

The treatment planning process is very time consuming and requires thinking in many different directions at one time. There is not always one treatment option for one problem. A dentist must think of different options, not only the most complex and expensive, but also the ones that will best suit the patient’s income, function and longevity.

What I like least about my work is when patients walk away with beautiful new teeth, but do not understand the importance of good oral hygiene practices necessary to maintain their new healthy teeth. The military dental care is free, and patients often do not appreciate the amount of time and effort that goes into their care.

My career goals are…

My career goals are to acquire dental specialty training (which I am in the process of now), attain my Masters degree, and conduct research. My long-term goals are to become an expert in my profession and work for at least 20 years until I can retire from the US Navy. I would also enjoy educating others in either an academic institution or in the Military services.

I am not sure where I see myself in 5-10 years since the field of dentistry is constantly progressing and changing. I know that it is very important to stay current with advancements, so my vision for the future will most likely change as the times change.

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