View Full Version : Can a teen with scoliosis become a dentist?

11-25-2005, 09:36 AM

My niece is almost 18. Six years ago she was diagnosed with thoracolumbar double curve idiopathic scoliosis. She was suggested a Milwaukee brace and she wore it for two years. After this period the doctor said that she did not need it anymore and she hasn't done anything since. She feels just fine and her angles remain at 29 and 25 degrees.
She wants to be a dentist but we are worried that this profession might not be suitable to her condition.
Does anyone know about a relationship between the profession and spinal problems? What would you suggest?

Thank you in advance for any help,


11-26-2005, 12:14 PM
Hi Dora...

There are some published papers on the topic of spine problems in dentists:


I am not a medical professional, but if I were counseling my own child, I would urge her to seek a profession that didn't involve any unusual posture.


01-04-2006, 08:31 PM
i just came upon this post and would have never thought of any of that. My daughter had surgery last year and is thinking about becoming an orthodontist. I would hate to tell her because she has scoliosis that she shouldn't.
Any thoughts??

01-05-2006, 12:31 AM
It can't really be much worse than the pounding an athlete gives their back. There are plenty of them here that go back to their sports after surgery. I know that basketball is still the topic at our house, and driveway basketball is just as rough or rougher now than ever. But, then Crystal also says she feels much better and it doesn't hurt to play ball any more. She used to come home from practice and games in a lot of pain, but not now. So, I guess it just depends on each individual person.

01-05-2006, 09:54 AM
My philosophy is if someone really wants to do something and put their mind to it....there should be no reason why they shouldn't be able to achieve whatever they wish to (as long as it's not illegal or life threatening)

My first 'gut thought' was 'why shouldn't she' (become an orthodontist)......if that's what she really wants to do :-)

I'm going to become a Registered Nurse (am going into second year).....many people have said 'you can't do that'......almost makes me more determined..in a way :-)


EDIT: if Orthodontist/Dentistry is anything like Registered Nursing, as a part of the degree they'd teach the most 'ergonomically correct' way to sit, how to stand etc so there's the least amount of stress on the body possible

01-05-2006, 11:48 AM
I'm not sure that becoming a dentist (or orthodontist) would actually have a negative effect on someone's curves, but since dentists have no choice but to spend their work hours bent over, there will be no way of escaping back pain. I also don't think that nursing is the best profession for someone with scoliosis, but at least there are jobs such as doctor's office nursing that don't involve lifting or having to stay in positions that are painful.


01-17-2006, 03:45 PM
I am a freelance set stylist in the film industry. I love what I do but long hours on my feet and moving things around has forced me to switch careers. It is devastating to invest in education and paying your dues only to have to leave a career that you love. I am 29 and athletic, had harrington rods in 1989. I have been working in my career for 8 years now. And just this week after being in excruciating pain have decide to finally stop my denial and stop this work. My last job will be tomorrow. I have no idea what I want to do now. Any career suggestions?

I suggest letting her follow her dreams of being a dentist as I did, if it becomes unbearable she can choose to stop. People with disabilities never want to hear the word CAN'T. Let her figure it out on her own. Although devastating now, I am happy I accomplished what I wanted to do.

01-24-2006, 07:26 PM
Sure, why not?

My dental hygenist has scoliosis.

02-15-2006, 12:45 PM
After my surgery I was a majorette in a professional majorette corp. I played basketball in middle school. And I played tennis in college. No problems...

I've been working in the electronics field for 5 years and tease people saying I carry my own frequency due to having the Herrington Rod in my back. I have even worked at NASA!

I would not recommend putting a limitation on your child's dreams. Let them decide their limitation on their own.