After years working in a dental practice, you’re bound to discover there are certain smells you love and others that you absolutely despise.

Smells that only dentists love and hate.The particular quirks of dentistry are usually seen as odd to the general population. They can’t understand why we aren’t grossed out by spit, they scorn our obsession with squeaky floss, and they wonder why anyone would want to be a dentist.

People outside of dentistry will never know the artistic satisfaction of a perfect restoration. They won’t ever comprehend how personally affirming it is to ease a patient’s pain, to give them back their lost confidence. And, sadly, they will never appreciate the fragrant delights of a day at the office.

6 Smells Only Dentists Love (and Hate)

We’re all familiar with these 6 smells we hate to love and love to hate:

1. Acrylic – Love

You fall in love with the heady fragrance of acrylic in dental school and feel a modicum of nostalgia for it the rest of your career. It’s kind of like the way some people love smelling gas. Acrylic has the sharp and chemical scent of a fingernail salon. So good.

2. Removing a Crown – Hate

Even if you’re wearing a mask, taking a crown off a tooth is a solid seven out of ten on a scale of awfulness. It’s bad foot to the extreme. Icky. Unclean. Like how your wet laundry would smell if you left it sitting for too long.

3. Copalite – Love

You have to be a dentist old enough to have done amalgams to remember Copalite fondly. This composite replacement is like the fresh varnish on a new piece of wood furniture.

4. Laser or Electrosurge – Hate

This one goes without saying. It smells like burning human flesh because that’s literally what it is.

5. Operatory Post-Cleaning – Love

There’s nothing quite like the clean freshness of an operatory that has been wiped down with disinfectant. It subconsciously signals a sense of accomplishment.

6. Burning Plastic in the Autoclave – Hate

Hating this is more than just the unpleasantness of burning plastic. It signifies money going down the drain because whatever is melting has to be replaced and the autoclave has to be cleaned.

What dental practice smells do you love and hate? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!