Dentist personality type

Personality Types of Dentists - Digital Enamel

(This is the 2nd installment of a series.   Part One is here:   Ready, Set, Go! Are We Really on Cruise Control? )

Personality Types of Dentists (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)

I know what you’re thinking: “What does any of this have to do with Cerec, Restorative, Orthodontics, Implants, and 3-D Imaging?” Fair enough question. I want to lay the foundation for how you can best evaluate and utilize your talents and knowledge using CAD/CAM and Cone Beam technologies. I will give you tools and information on how to dissect and analyze what makes you tick and thrive by “peeling away” the proverbial onion and allowing you to take an in depth look at yourself. As you will see, we really aren’t on “cruise control” in our practices and we must constantly re-evaluate what motivates and inspires us to succeed and move forward. So, let’s begin!

Before we explore personality types in dentists, let’s take a moment to review what we discussed in the previous section, “Dentists: Who Are We?” Dentists come in all flavors and sizes with complex personalities and spectra of ideas and emotions. In general, we are very compassionate and caring with obsessive-compulsive and detailed-oriented tendencies while sometimes being even narcissistic and self-centered. Obviously our personalities and how we process information don’t fit into a “one size fits all” category.

However, dentists do demonstrate a certain level on commonality that seems to be seen throughout the data. Previously, we discussed how dentistry often attracts people with:


  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Unnecessarily high standards of performance
  • A desire for social approval and status
  • Perfectionism
  • Limited capacity for self-observation
  • Compulsive personalities
  • Isolation-driven personality traits

These characteristics often times can lead dentists to display several potentially dysfunctional personality traits, such as:

  • Codependency and addiction (chemical & behavioral)
  • Obsessive-compulsive tendencies
  • Passive aggressive traits
  • Avoidant personalities
  • Narcissism
  • Fear
  • Anxiety


Now let’s explore our profession and look at the complex mixture of personality types and styles that makes each dentist unique using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The MBTI has been used reliably for years to provide an explanation about how we get energized, how we communicate, gather information, make decisions, how we measure our commitment to our preferences, and how we live our lives. It is an introspective self-report questionnaire designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. In other words, MBTI can give an indication as to our preferences of things we like to do or where we want to do it. MTBI, however, is not a psychological test of dysfunction nor can it diagnose.


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) begins with eight personality functions in contrasting pairs:

Those who have a preference for:

  • Introversion (I)– charge their batteries through solitude.
  • Extroversion (E)– charge their batteries through social interaction.


  • Intuition (N)– focus on abstract possibilities.
  • Sensing (S)-focus on concrete realities.


  • Thinking (T)– use objective criteria to make judgments.
  • Feeling (F)– use subjective criteria to make judgments.


  • Judging (J)– want to have things settled and decided.
  • Perceiving (P)– want to keep options open.


(Note: Each of us has both sides to our personality, but usually we prefer one side over the other just as we tend to favor either our left hand or our right hand.)

  • Introverts draw their energy from being alone while Extraverts become energized around people. Being an introvert or an extrovert is more than simply being either shy or outgoing but it’s how we rejuvenate and manage ourselves while replenishing personal energy.
  • Sensors tend to focus on the here and now while those with Intuition look for meaning and possibilities. These deal with one’s style of gathering and processing information.
  • Thinking/Feeling while self-explanatory deals with one’s style of prioritizing personal values.
  • Judgers prefer structure in their lives rather than the messy flexibility of Perceivers. These deal with one’s style of organizing and structuring daily life and work.

MBTI can give an indication as to our preferences of things we like to do or where we want to do it. MTBI, however, is not a psychological test of dysfunction nor can it diagnose.”

I have a friend that is one of the quietest people I have ever met. She rarely initiates a conversation and in fact comes across as “stuck up” to others. On the MBTI, she consistently scores as an extrovert each time she takes the test. As I was learning more about MBTI and what it reveals, I became acutely aware that she appeared to not fit the pattern because she was an introvert and very quiet on the outside. However, I noticed she enjoyed being around others that were extroverted and outgoing and I inquired as to why. She indicated that extroverts motivate and energize her to explore new avenues and ideas. This supports the idea that MBTI gives us an indication as to how people perceive the world and make decisions, not just whether someone is shy or outgoing.


Type Implications


Four Temperaments

(Combines Six Of The Personality Functions)

  • Guardians (SJ) value tradition and seek security.
  • Artisans (SP) are sensation-seekers and hands-on people.
  • Idealists (NF) are abstract and conceptual.
  • Rationals (NT) are born scientists and engineers.

Falling within these four temperaments are 16 distinct personality types, defined according to the eight paired personality functions in MBTI as previously mentioned. (For more information and self-test go to

One study of revealed preferences of Dental Practitioners:

  • Energy is obtained 41.2% from Extraversion and 58.8% from Introversion
  • Perception/Information is obtained 66.4% from Sensing and 33. 6% from iNtuition
  • Judging/Decisions is obtained 66.7% from Thinking and 33.3% from Feeling
  • Lifestyle is obtained 74.3% from Judging and 25.7% from Perceiving

Thus, the following letters (E-I, S-N, T-F, and J-P) are used in a combination of 4 letters to identify one’s type, e.g., ENTJ or ISTF, etc.).Several studies have indicated that dentists have a predominant style that is reflected in their MBTI.

They are:

  • The J preference is over represented in national, dental, and dental student populations
  • The ES-J preference is over-represented in national, dental, and dental student populations.
  • Type distribution is consistent over time (1982-2011). (JDE, Vol. 56, 6, pp. 384-388, 1982, JDE, Vol. 50, 4, pp. 221-224, 1986, Unpublished, 2011).
  • Most dominant single factor type is T and for dentists, E-TJ is most dominant. (Schaubhut, N.A. & Thompson, R.C. (2008). MBTI type tables for occupations. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.).


Creighton University School of Dentistry (1964-1984) Study:   MBTI was used to determine personality types of dental graduates (N=472). The MBTI disclosed the strength and nature of preferences of dentists.

Results:    54.9% (259) of dentists displayed four personality types:

ISTJ (108)

ESTJ (66)

ISFJ (48)

ENTJ (37)

The remaining 45. 1% (213) of dentists were divided among the other 12 personality types without any type accounting for more than 6.1% (29).


Comparisons with a general population (N=9,320), the dental sample included more:

 Introverts (58.9%)

Thinkers (65.9%)

Judgers (75.0%)

 (Am J Dent. 1991 Dec; 4(6): 298-302)

 Dental school education demands a rigorous work ethic, a constant drive for perfection, and stamina and endurance to survive. I’m sure we all remember this quite well. Let’s take a look at how our medical counterparts compare in their training to dentistry.

“One study reveals that dentistry includes more Introverts, Thinkers, and Judgers as compared to the general population.

 Comparison of Dental and Medical Students

Dental Students:

  • More obsessive-compulsive in degree and number of symptoms.
  • Co-dependent (Interpersonal sensitivity).
  • 50% less likely to seek help.
  • More competitive and isolating.

(Lloyd & Musser)

A study of dental students by the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston revealed that psychiatric symptoms start early in our education and training.
Psychiatric Symptoms in Dental Students

  • Mild elevation in somatic, moderate elevation in anxiety and depressive, and marked elevation in obsessive-compulsive symptomatology.
  • Marked interpersonal sensitivity that may result in a sensitization to excessive performance demands.
  • Manifest cognitive inefficiencies such as indecisiveness, blocking or memory impairment, and excess sensitivity to the evaluative judgments of other people (faculty and patients?).
  • More psychiatric symptomatology than general medical patients judged free of psychiatric illness.
  • Approach levels of symptomatology found in general medical patients judged psychiatrically ill or in need of psychiatric treatment.

In another study in the Journal of Dental Education 2009, Volume 73, Number 3, pp. 328-337, the collective evidence of dental and medical students over the past three decades strongly suggests that these students experience high levels of stress during their training.

Stress in Dental/Medical School Training

  • Medical student stress decreased slightly with each progressive year in school.
  • Dental student stress increased dramatically in the third year, generally coinciding with entrance into the clinics.
  • There were no significant gender effects.
  • Stress is highest concerning academic performance for both medical and dental students.
  • Dental students were least stressed in the area of professional identity, while medical students were least stressed with faculty relations.
  • Dental and medical students are stressed by grades, examination performance, and increasing costs of professional education (debt).

“Stress is highest concerning academic performance for both medical and dental students.”


  • See faculty as checkers that give inconsistent feedback on work among different instructors.
  • Rarely see role modeling by dental faculty members rather than providers of patient care as in medicine.
  • Nearly always provide care independently and work with faculty members one-on-one.
  • Academic Performance, Patient & Clinical Responsibilities, and Faculty Relations create a stressful environment in dental school.


  • Typically shadow and support attending faculty and residents in treatment and patient care.
  • Rarely provide patient treatment alone and receive far fewer graded evaluations than dental students.
  • Realize a community in the medical student clinical environment.
  • Have greater stress levels concerning their sense of Professional Identity (Medical students are afraid they will be seen as Imposters because of their lack of knowledge).
  • Have very practical fears about choosing the right residency, plus matching and availability issues, with almost 25 % change their specialty choice after beginning residency.

It is easy to see how the demands and stress of dental education can predispose one to psychiatric illnesses, perfectionistic tendencies, obsession-compulsive routines, and alcohol and drug abuse and dependence.

In the next section, we will specifically look at the aforementioned stressors and how we as dentist may be predisposed to alcohol and drug abuse and dependence (addiction).

Common personality traits

Common personality traits

Dentistry is an unusual profession because while dentists are mostly focused on patient care, they also often own and run their own businesses. Many dentists have a diverse set of personality traits that allow them to work both closely with patients and be successful managers of their practices.

A successful dentist is…

  • Comfortable with close personal interaction. 
    If you think about it, much of a dentist’s time is spent with his or her face and hands extremely close to patients’ faces. Successful dentists are comfortable with being very close to other people, even if sometimes patients have bad breath. 
  • Easy to talk to.
    Successful dentists try to learn about patients on a more personal level before beginning treatment to make patients feel more comfortable. This puts patients at ease and makes them feel like the dentist truly cares about them as whole healthy people, not just about their mouths. 
  • Trustworthy.
    Since dentists are working with sharp metal objects in the mouth, a very sensitive area of the body, it is really important that they are trustworthy. Patients need to trust that their dentist will try his or her best not to hurt them and will take all precautions necessary to make their experience pain free. 
  • A detail-oriented person.
    The mouth is an extremely small space to work in, so dentists must be detail oriented. The smallest misalignment of something in the mouth can wreak havoc on a patient’s bite and tooth health. 
  • Artistic.
    Dentistry is often referred to as an art. It requires mastery and technique unique to the profession. Dentistry is largely based on maintaining proper oral health, but is also an aesthetically focused practice. A large part of dentistry involves restoring teeth and making a smile beautiful, one that the patient is happy to show to others. 
  • A leader.
    Dentists may own or work as practitioners within a practice, so they often are natural leaders. They must not only lead a team of dental hygienists, technicians and assistants, but must also manage any other employees, such as the receptionist, while also making high-level business decisions for the practice.
  • Excited about the profession of dentistry.
    Successful dentists enjoy the work they do every day and are fascinated by the mouth and all of the connections it has to the rest of the body.
  • Passionate about providing care to those in need.
    Dentists often participate in community service, helping those in need with oral care and treatment. Many dentists enjoy helping those with no access to care receive treatments for painful or unattractive parts of their mouths.
  • Caring and concerned about how the patient feels during procedures.
    Because dentists work in a very small and sensitive space of the body, a good dentist communicates with the patient during every step of a procedure, making sure they are okay and not in too much pain. Good dentists go to great lengths to make their patients comfortable and relaxed without pain. 
  • Good communicator. 
    A successful dentist has a keen ability to distill complex procedures and processes into simple language so that the patient can understand exactly what is going on in his or her mouth and any procedures that the dentist suggests.  
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Future Dentists

Choosing a career is a very important decision.  Dentistry is an exciting career offering many unique opportunities to treat and engage with patients. 

Why be a dentist?

A flexible lifestyle, being your own boss and making a real contribution to the health of your patients are just some of the many reasons why people choose dentistry as a profession.

Career Options

The dental profession can be broken down into two key components: what specific field of dentistry the dentist practices and how he or she practices that type of dentistry.

What type of personality does a dentist have?

Dentist personality type, as a rule, pragmatic and practical (S), logical and objective (T), organized and decisive (J) . The difference between ISTJs and ESTJs is how they reclaim their energy, whether it's time alone or social interactions.

Also, what are the 5 duties of a dentist? Dentists usually do the following:

  • Removing caries from teeth and filling cavities.
  • Restoration or removal of damaged teeth.
  • Apply sealants or whitening agents to teeth.
  • Administer anesthetics so that patients do not feel pain during procedures.
  • Give antibiotics or other drugs.

Can dentists be introverts? MANY people in the medical field are introverts. For dentists, are almost 60% introverts, 65.9% are thinkers, and 75% are judges.

Also, what are the downsides of dentistry? Cons:

  • Education. Get ready for years of high school. …
  • Expenses. Dental school is expensive. …
  • Costs, again. High overhead practice. …
  • High responsibility. You are responsible for someone's health. …
  • Stress. With high responsibility comes high stress. …
  • Call. …
  • Difficult patients. …
  • Unpredictability.


Why did you choose to become a dentist?

Dentistry allows you to be your own boss . Dentists can balance their personal and professional lives to meet their individual needs and desires. Dentistry provides opportunities in a variety of private and public settings, including private practice, teaching, research, public health, and administration.

also, Do dentists go to medical school? Upon completion of formal education, a dentist receives a medical degree. . In fact, a dentist refers to a doctor who specializes in oral health and has received either a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.

What degree do you need to be a dentist? Schools either award Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) . According to the ADA, the two degrees are the same, meaning that they include the same courses and practice methods.

How long does it take to become a dentist? Traditional dental school program four years long. In the first two years of dental school, students spend most of their time studying basic biological sciences and studying the structure and function of the body, as well as the diseases that can affect it.

How do you know if your dentist likes you?

When the dentist greets you warmly and asks about your family or job , you might think that these are signs that your dentist likes you. These are also just signs that you have a good dentist who cares about you and wants you to feel comfortable during your visit to the dentist.

Where do dentists make the most money? Highest Paid States for Dentists

States and counties that pay dentists the highest average salary, Rhode Island ($258,920), Vermont ($242,850), Alaska ($222,430), Maine ($222,430) and New Hampshire ($9,000)0005 .

Can you be a quiet dental assistant?

Office-based dentistry is an extroverted business that requires individuals who enjoy interacting with people throughout the day. Some personality types prefer silence and work alone. , which is contrary to a typical day in the dental office.

Which is better medicine or dentistry? Winner: Dentistry

Dentistry is generally considered the best lifestyle choice between two jobs. . This is because the job is more concrete, with less need for non-social work time. However, one thing to think about here is that in medicine it is also quite possible to have a good work-life balance.

Are dentists happy?

Dentists are below average when it comes to happiness . At CareerExplorer, we constantly survey millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, dentists rate their career happiness at 3.0 out of 5 stars, which puts them in the bottom 36% of their careers.

Do dentists meet with patients?

If a dentist is available and interested in the patient, an appointment can only occur after the patient has been transferred to another dentist and the appropriate time period has passed.

Is it difficult to be a dentist? Being a dentist can be difficult, it's hard and you'll spend several years learning about . You may have now been convinced to become a dentist, but is this really the right path for you? Sure, dentistry is interesting, but you need to be genuinely interested and dedicated to teeth and oral health in general.

Is the cavity a hole? A cavity is a hole in a tooth resulting from caries. . Cavities form when acids in the mouth wear down or erode the hard outer layer of the tooth (enamel). Anyone can get caries. Proper brushing, flossing, and brushing your teeth can prevent cavities (sometimes called cavities).

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Do dentists get a doctorate?

The ASA and CAP understand that since 1995 the General Dental Council (GDC) has allowed its members to use the title "Doctor" on the condition that it is purely a courtesy title and does not imply that they are authorized to wear it outside of medical procedures.

Who is better dentist or doctor? Choose dentistry for a happy balance

So while a doctor may earn a little more than a dentist, the fantastic job growth prospects and flexibility enjoyed by dentists means they tend to have higher job satisfaction.

What is the highest degree of dentistry?

A DMD is the highest general dental degree in the United States. Dental schools award graduates the degree of Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) or Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS).

Is it difficult to study dentistry? Dentistry is known to be a complex qualification requiring the development and demonstration of expertise, from terminology to procedures. . The curriculum you will follow in dental school will not be the same for all institutions, but there are some commonalities.

Do orthodontists go to medical school?

Becoming an orthodontist takes a long way through school. It usually takes about 12 years of formal university education to become a certified orthodontist. ! Your university career will begin with a four-year bachelor's degree, usually a Bachelor of Science degree.

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Professions of a realistic personality type according to the Holland (Holland) system

(description of personality types according to the systematization of Holland
for the purpose of vocational guidance)

[ABC Occupations] [Home] [Short Version of Holland's Test]
[Training for in-demand P-type professions:
SVE in St. Petersburg]
NGO/SVE in St. Petersburg (before transformation)]
[Training for in-demand P-type professions for NGO/SVE in the Leningrad Region (before transformation)]

Preferred species activities:
Mechanical activities. Management of machines, equipment, mechanisms. The use of tools, devices that require precision, dexterity, fine motor coordination (machines, dentist's kit, surgical scalpel, jewelery tools...).
Construction. Repair. military activities. Design work.
Any work that gives TENSIBLE (REAL) RESULT.
Prefers ACTION to thinking. SPECIFIC TASKS difficult and abstract problems.

Abilities realistic type :
Physical strength. psychomotor skills. Manual skill, dexterity. Mechanical capabilities. Ingenuity. Mathematical ability.

Personal qualities and values:
Emotional stability. Reliability. Practicality. Thrift. Perseverance. Persistence. Self confidence. Risk appetite. Purposefulness. Modesty. Shyness. Frankness. Sincerity. Naturalness. Independence. Conservative. Tendency to uphold traditional values. Rigidity (inflexibility), slow acceptance of new ideas. Subordination. conformity. Does the job without any fuss. Works meticulously neatly and systematically. Prefers a clear regulation of work. wishes know what to do and when. Does not like long conversations, negotiations, discussions. Focused on the present. Likes to deal with specific objects (things, machines...) and their practical use.
"-------" Dissimilar most of all (frequent misunderstanding, contradictions) with type: SOCIAL
"+++++" Closest to types: RESEARCH AND CONVENTIONAL

(More about personal compatibility of professional types)

Typical hobbies:
Restoration of old mechanisms (cars, watches, cameras. ..).
Repair, design, assembly of various devices. Construction and restoration work. Farming. Arrangement of a summer residence, a country house... Gardening. Gardening. Hunting. Fishing. Tourism. Motor vehicle management. Physically dangerous sports. Outdoor sports...

Preferred environment (possible places of work):
Nature. Countryside. Least interaction with other people. Situations requiring carelessness in dress, organizations with a rigid system subordination and authoritarianism (armed forces, ATC...). Firms producing specific, tangible products. Transport. Engineering, technical, energy enterprises...

Examples of occupations:

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