Mark S. Jacobs, D.D.S.Tell us about your work--what do you do? I'm in general dentistry , serving people from two or three years old up to the elderly. Dentistry is about saving teeth and restoring people's ability to chew and speak . Aesthetics is another important part of my practice. What skills are needed? Manual dexterity because you're working in a small space, sometimes only in hundredths or even millimeters. As a dentist, you also need to desire to be with people and know how to run a small business. How did you get started in your career? My dad was a dentist, and I followed in his footsteps. After graduating from dental school, I worked for two years as an associate. What experience do you need in this job? Four years of dental school Describe your "typical" work day: I treat four to fifteen people a day, depending on the procedures that are performed. Some patients may be in my office for three hours and others for only fifteen minutes. Most of my time is spent preventing and treating gum disease and salvaging teeth , which sometimes involves root canals on teeth that are infected. I also do cosmetic dentistry . In my office, we also alleviate pain, which can usually be dealt with in one visit. TMJ problems can be more prolonged because chronic pain is usually involved in these cases. What is the hardest aspect of your job? Dealing with personnel issues, such as hiring and firing, and other aspects of running a small business. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? Patient satisfaction. It's especially rewarding when I help a person who comes in with pain, leave without pain. I also enjoy being able to interact with people.