From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


You've got to be kidding. You're handing instruments to the dentist and cleaning up the patient after the dentist completes his dirty work. How stressful could this possibly be? Well, consider that many dental patients are not just nervous, but off-the-charts panicked. While you're trying to complete your work, your patient is flinching and fidgeting, trying to avoid another unwelcome incursion into his mouth. Meanwhile, you're trying not to get your fingers bitten off.

This hand-to-hand combat will probably slow you down, meaning a procedure that should take 15 minutes could easily take twice as long. While you're chafing at the bit to get this patient out the door, two more patients have arrived for their appointments. You need to settle them into the chair, update their information, and prep the equipment the dentist requires. And did we mention there are only three treatment rooms—and one is currently filled with a cleaning appointment that is dragging on forever?

What happens if an emergency patient arrives—perhaps a kid who's had a couple of teeth knocked out by a badly aimed Little League pitch? Perhaps you're starting to realize this job can be a bit stressful—and you're clenching your teeth just thinking about it. Sounds like you need a squeezable stress ball.