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Working with Dyslexia in Dentistry

Dentist explaining x ray picture to patient on LED monitor

Dyslexia can be a complicated condition to live with since it makes it difficult to comprehend written words. Dyslexia varies in severity, but even mild forms can impact your professional life. It is the most common learning disability and afflicts 10 percent of the global population.

For dental professionals, dyslexia can present an issue in your ability to perform your job. However, it does not mean you will be unable to function in a dental practice, as you can manage dyslexia even in the world of dentistry. Overcoming dyslexia will not be an easy thing to accomplish, but it is possible. 

How Does Dyslexia Affect Dental Professionals?

Dyslexia makes it difficult to read and causes misinterpretation of written information. This difficulty leads to dental professionals making mistakes that can range from simple and innocuous to fully-fledged issues that can negatively impact the patient’s quality of care. Some of the more common errors a dyslexic dental professional might make are mispronouncing a name read off a chart or accurately writing that name down again.

However, in more severe instances, they might make mistakes or struggle to take down medical history, misidentify medication, or have struggles creating reports without spell checkers. Some of these mistakes are more serious than others, especially the medication issues, since they can lead to false prescriptions or difficulty finding the medication necessary for the patient. In all cases, finding ways to circumvent written instructions and information is vital to their professional success.

How to Cope with Dyslexia

While dyslexia can be debilitating and make functioning professionally difficult, some methods can be employed to make it easier to overcome these concerns. Rather than relying on written information, verbal instructions and tools can be an excellent alternative to written ones and make it easier to manage dyslexia. There are speech-to-text tools, and your co-workers can offer you verbal instructions instead of written ones and allow you to retain information more easily than when you read it.

These coping methods do not mean that you should not make independent efforts. For example, exercises for memorizing specific terms relating to dental work can help overcome the issues associated with dyslexia. In many cases, attending treatment can help you manage your condition to a more precise level. Several treatment options can make it easier to work around your dyslexia until it is no longer a significant issue, though this can also be time-consuming.

In the dental profession, this can include memorizing commonly prescribed medications or those employed during operations and patient names and information. In addition, it can serve as a supplementary tool for easing the effects of dyslexia in the office.

Dyslexia Does Not Define You

Dyslexia can be a frustrating condition to cope with and can be remarkably detrimental to one’s ability to operate within a professional capacity. However, it does not have to define you, and you can even excel in the dentistry industry with the right coping skills. Finding ways to circumvent the complications of dyslexia are essential to one’s success in any professional field, but what are you to do when finding a position is made more difficult by a lack of opportunity?

We at Peak Performers help staff dental professionals across the country and put them in practices where they are best suited. Staffing includes professionals who also have dyslexia. So, if you are looking for employment in a dental practice but fear your dyslexia could hold you back, contact us. Before you know it, you will be operating at your Peak!

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