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dental careers and practice transitions dental careers and practice transitions

How keeping an open mind lead to happy surprises and professional satisfaction for one doctor.

Dr. Akash Patel was something of a late bloomer when it came to finding his calling. “I actually didn’t consider dentistry until my third year of college. My parents had been advocating for me to become a medical doctor since I was 12, but when it came time to fill out college applications I decided to stick with the biological sciences and figure it out from there. A family friend suggested that I shadow a dentist and see whether that would be a fit. After one week, I knew it was what I wanted to do!”

With his mind made up, he got to work. “I did my undergrad at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and went on to complete my dental school training at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After a one-year GPR program at the Erie County Medical Center, I returned to Illinois and worked at a practice in Macomb for a dentist who was recovering from heart surgery. The doctor recovered, and after nine months I made my way back to the Chicagoland area. There, I worked a few different positions, each providing me with various dental experiences and life lessons.”

Wherever Dr. Patel practiced, one constant remained. “My favorite thing about my work is making people believers in the dental experience again. Many people come through the door expecting the worst, telling me that they hate going to the dentist. But then they leave happy! Patients tell me their visit wasn’t what they were expecting at all and some even ask me to please not leave Canton!” Of course, Dr. Patel has no intention of leaving Canton anytime soon and loves being part of the community and his patients’ lives.

Dr. Patel’s path intersected with Midwest Dental in an unexpected way. Looking to be closer to family, “I returned to my hometown of Galesburg, IL and found a part-time position at the local health department. A few months later, I found another part-time position in Canton, IL where the owner of a practice was looking for another associate. After three months, the practice transitioned to Midwest Dental. So basically, I kind of fell into it!” Dr. Patel found it was a match made in heaven. “I like that Midwest Dental gives their doctors autonomy. I’m never pushed to deliver treatment a certain way. I’m free to make my own decisions.”

Having worked in so many different clinical settings, Dr. Patel has some hard-won advice for new dentists. “Everybody grows at a different pace. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to your colleagues. Focus on yourself, and focus on what you want from this profession. Be kind, be gentle, and do what is best for the patient.” It’s exactly this kind of care and dedication that leads to the joyful patient (and dentist!) experiences Midwest Dental is known for.

Midwest Dental is now hiring talented and passionate dentists. Click here to explore our current opportunities.

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