Many people spend their lives working in a career they’ve anticipated would satisfy both financial requirements as well as their happiness in life. They jump in and begin a career path only to find that many years later it is too difficult to jump out. As a young woman with many talents beyond most, and not enough of a lifetime to satisfy them all, Dr. Sally Gerges, owner and operator of Gerges Dental, knew when to pause and when to strike.
When Dr. Gerges was trying to figure out what she wanted to do for her career, her father asked her what she thought about becoming a dentist. He reasoned that she had a great science background and that she was really handy. She loves woodworking, tiling, electrical, plumbing, and everything that she could craft with her hands. With so many talents and not a solid idea of her future, Sally considered an internship with a local dentist.
Sally Gerges spent her childhood in Middletown, New Jersey. She went to Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for her undergraduate studies. She always planned to become a doctor. However, in her senior year, as she was filling out her application to medical school, something inside of her changed. She no longer had the desire to go to medical school or to become a doctor. Here, came the pause for her.
With the wisdom to know she would not have been happy, Sally Gerges used her training to take a temp job with L’oreal USA as a Chemist, while she pondered the direction of her future. Eight months later, she agreed to intern at a local dental office. When she completed her internship. Sally decided that dentistry may be a viable solution to her career path.
Incredibly, just two years after completing her dental training, from Temple University for dental school, her MBA from Strayer University, and her residency with Christiana Care Hospital, Sally Gerges is the proud Owner and Operator of Gerges Dental. She is an entrepreneur and a solo-practitioner. She has been serving patients for nearly ten years in her thriving business.
Why did you choose to become a dentist?
During my senior year in college, I thought I wanted to go to medical school. But halfway through my medical school application, I decided that being a doctor was not what I wanted to do. I began working for L’oreal USA as a temp. As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to pursue, my father asked me if I had ever considered going into dentistry. So, I proceeded to intern with a dentist. After my internship, I agreed that dentistry may be a good career choice. I took my entrance exam and aced it. I was interviewed at Temple University and was accepted. Everything seemed to just fall into place.
What area do you specialize in?
I practice general dentistry in my business.
Did you Choose a specialty?
As a general dental practitioner, I address many different oral issues with my patients. I don’t have a specialty in my practice however, as a general dentist I really like doing crown and bridge work as well as implant restoration.
What is your daily routine?
I work as anyone’s typical nine to five job. I am up early to take care of my dog. I get ready for work. When I get to my office my patients are already scheduled for me. I spend the day seeing patients. At the end of the day, I am home spending time with my husband and my dog. I really enjoy spending time with family.
When you look forward in your career, what trend in dentistry do you see impacting your specialty the most? Is it for the better or worse? Why?
I would have to say the one thing that impacts dentistry the most is technology. Technology is always changing so everything in dentistry must adjust. The upside is that I love that it requires dental practitioners to continuously learn. I really enjoy learning new things, I’d be a full-time student if it would pay the bills. The downside of it is that technology purchases are very expensive. If you want to stay up to date with the new technology and remain in business, you have to budget for consistent upgrades.
What do you love about being a dentist?
What I love the most about being a dentist is being able to help my patients. It is truly a rewarding feeling. It is not just seeing a person who is in pain and being able to alleviate the pain. It is also about assisting my patients from a cosmetic standpoint. If a patient has an injury or has been in an accident, you can give them back their smile. On a day to day basis, I have patients who are just so appreciative. I have patients that have been with me for a very long time. I just had a relatively new patient who came to me and told me that they use to hate going to the dentist until they came here. When I asked them if they had had a bad experience, it was an emphatic yes. She said that that was the reason why she came to me. That is truly the best part of being a dentist.
What would you consider to be the greatest accomplishment in your career?
I would have to say that running a solo dental practice is the most challenging but greatest accomplishment I have done so far. I started very early; it was not easy. I sometimes look at it in retrospect and I don’t know how I did it. I am not sure if I could do it again! I had been practicing for only two years before I opened my own practice. There were so many challenges that I had to address when I first launched my practice, but I did it, and I am still here eight years later. I think I have a lot to be proud of.
Tell our readers about any of your volunteer or charity activities.
I don’t volunteer, rather I support the needs of specific projects where my church requires time or a donation. For example, in order to have an event such as an Easter egg hunt for the children of the congregation, it requires donations for the event to take place. The church also participates in a variety of mission work within the community that requires support. I am happy to donate to those causes as well.
What do you do in order to mentally separate yourself from your job?
That is a hard question. I am very bad at separating myself from my work. I try to tell myself when I walk out the door of the office that dentistry stays behind. I try to keep home at home as well. Ultimately, my staff makes fun of me sometimes for having dreams about my patients and patient cases. Or, if I haven’t seen a patient in a while I wonder why and how they are doing. I try to leave it all where it is supposed to be by saying that I am all done. I am trying very hard. But I haven’t quite worked that out yet.
Where do you want to be in your career in five years?
I still want to maintain my practice over the next five years. I want to incorporate some new technology into my practice. I set my goals incrementally. I know it will take some time to train. I have to also work everything into a budget. So, I am looking at incorporating new technology over the next two years. It is a bit stressful to think of the enormous undertaking, but it is my job, and I love it.
Is there anything that you would like to share?
I have a favorite quote I’d like to share by Roosevelt: It is great for any entrepreneur:
When you’ve reached the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on!