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Any regrets on pursuing dentistry?

imKarim

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I have been talking to family members in the dental field and although I am driven and excited about applying to dentistry (for the second time) their experience is making me wonder. Basically they are just telling me that it is a huge decision to take on so much loans unless I get accepted to my in-state school. They are very stressed working in the field to pay off their loans and are explaining to me that if I have 300-500K loans after graduating I will need to work full time in a high stress environment for 7 yrs at least to just pay off loans. For insight, I am pursuing dentistry because I really am interested and excited about the actual hands on work and also because it is a stable job market demand that offers a stable income with potential to build wealth after loan repayment. I really hate to say this but I am slightly starting to doubt if this is worth it mainly because dental school will be highly stressful but on top of that I will have a debilitating loan to repay as I enter the job market. Any thoughts from current students or practicing dentists?
 

P7898

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no cuz I will be in $140k of debt at graduation....not including specialty tack on another $100k -> still though $140k is a lot of money to be in debt in but the investment will be worth it at that price. If my debt was doubled to be a GP I wouldn't have done it and just find a job making $50-60k and save as much as I could or try cheaper entrepreneurship routes like real estate or financial advising. The quicker you can get money into the market the better. I know people who made $80-$90k in investment banking and saved most of their income that year and other people who are engineers with no debt starting at $70k. So why would it make sense to start at $140-$150k for $400k (plus interest) in debt after 4-5 years of missed income? I dunno, I had no other option cuz my bachelors degree was stupid and wasn't able to do finance or engineering.

It is great for people who keep their debt low. My significant other graduated with less than $50k of debt but she worked her tail off to get scholarships and funding. She is reaping the rewards right now in her first job and loving life as a GP. Well the issue is that if she was in $400k of debt and fighting $30k+ a year in interest on top of that it would be a different story. Your family members were probably in the $100-$150k range of debt upon graduation or less. Completely different generations that have a bias opinion about their profession. However, your family members seem informed. I would not attend dental school if it would cost me $300k+. 1) When are you going to start a family (mortgage, children, moving, etc.) forgot about these expenses? 2) How are you going to try and stay ethical in your practices knowing you are probably learning procedures just because of the money and that it costs a lot for them (not the fact that you are interested in doing them - putting patients at risk). - that one is a little harsh because we always "practice" but never master but still you get my point. 3) How to factor in life events that happen (no one thinks their care will break down or something else until it happens - credit card debt on top of debt on top of mortgage on top of practice loan). Everything adds up quickly. So this is why my threshold is under $200k. My child will not be attending dental school period.

I would consider finding a nice job that allows you to move up with experience to a six figure income if you want money without pursing any debt. It will take a lot of work to get their much like being in dental school. The only difference is that it won't require you to get into debt and crush your social life. Cheers.
 
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Dochopeful13

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no cuz I will be in $140k of debt at graduation....not including specialty tack on another $100k -> still though $140k is a lot of money to be in debt in but the investment will be worth it at that price. If my debt was doubled to be a GP I wouldn't have done it and just find a job making $50-60k and save as much as I could or try cheaper entrepreneurship routes like real estate or financial advising. The quicker you can get money into the market the better. I know people who made $80-$90k in investment banking and saved most of their income that year and other people who are engineers with no debt starting at $70k. So why would it make sense to start at $140-$150k for $400k (plus interest) in debt after 4-5 years of missed income? I dunno, I had no other option cuz my bachelors degree was stupid and wasn't able to do finance or engineering.

It is great for people who keep their debt low. My significant other graduated with less than $50k of debt but she worked her tail off to get scholarships and funding. She is reaping the rewards right now in her first job and loving life as a GP. Well the issue is that if she was in $400k of debt and fighting $30k+ a year in interest on top of that it would be a different story. Your family members were probably in the $100-$150k range of debt upon graduation or less. Completely different generations that have a bias opinion about their profession. However, your family members seem informed. I would not attend dental school if it would cost me $300k+. 1) When are you going to start a family (mortgage, children, moving, etc.) forgot about these expenses? 2) How are you going to try and stay ethical in your practices knowing you are probably learning procedures just because of the money and that it costs a lot for them (not the fact that you are interested in doing them - putting patients at risk). - that one is a little harsh because we always "practice" but never master but still you get my point. 3) How to factor in life events that happen (no one thinks their care will break down or something else until it happens - credit card debt on top of debt on top of mortgage on top of practice loan). Everything adds up quickly. So this is why my threshold is under $200k. My child will not be attending dental school period.

I would consider finding a nice job that allows you to move up with experience to a six figure income if you want money without pursing any debt. It will take a lot of work to get their much like being in dental school. The only difference is that it won't require you to get into debt and crush your social life. Cheers.
Is 500 k debt worth it if one does OMFS?
 
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imKarim

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no cuz I will be in $140k of debt at graduation....not including specialty tack on another $100k -> still though $140k is a lot of money to be in debt in but the investment will be worth it at that price. If my debt was doubled to be a GP I wouldn't have done it and just find a job making $50-60k and save as much as I could or try cheaper entrepreneurship routes like real estate or financial advising. The quicker you can get money into the market the better. I know people who made $80-$90k in investment banking and saved most of their income that year and other people who are engineers with no debt starting at $70k. So why would it make sense to start at $140-$150k for $400k (plus interest) in debt after 4-5 years of missed income? I dunno, I had no other option cuz my bachelors degree was stupid and wasn't able to do finance or engineering.

It is great for people who keep their debt low. My significant other graduated with less than $50k of debt but she worked her tail off to get scholarships and funding. She is reaping the rewards right now in her first job and loving life as a GP. Well the issue is that if she was in $400k of debt and fighting $30k+ a year in interest on top of that it would be a different story. Your family members were probably in the $100-$150k range of debt upon graduation or less. Completely different generations that have a bias opinion about their profession. However, your family members seem informed. I would not attend dental school if it would cost me $300k+. 1) When are you going to start a family (mortgage, children, moving, etc.) forgot about these expenses? 2) How are you going to try and stay ethical in your practices knowing you are probably learning procedures just because of the money and that it costs a lot for them (not the fact that you are interested in doing them - putting patients at risk). - that one is a little harsh because we always "practice" but never master but still you get my point. 3) How to factor in life events that happen (no one thinks their care will break down or something else until it happens - credit card debt on top of debt on top of mortgage on top of practice loan). Everything adds up quickly. So this is why my threshold is under $200k. My child will not be attending dental school period.

I would consider finding a nice job that allows you to move up with experience to a six figure income if you want money without pursing any debt. It will take a lot of work to get their much like being in dental school. The only difference is that it won't require you to get into debt and crush your social life. Cheers.
Great insight thanks for sharing. My husband graduated last year with 300K in debt and we have been living with my family and cutting expenses to a minimum and he's making slow but consistent progress on his loan (paid off 80-90K in about a year). He's currently working 6 days a week as an associate and it's been stressful for him. We have a son and our plan is to buy a home next year and hopefully for my husband to buy a practice. I am beginning to see that dental school will only be worth it if my loans will stay under 200K. which basically eliminates most schools. What makes this especially confusing is how little pre-dental or even current students I talk to know about the reality of the financial burden of dental school. Dental schools will continue to get thousands of applications each year which will only drive prices higher.
 
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P7898

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Is 500 k debt worth it if one does OMFS?

Mmmm no because only the top 10% really have a shot as OMFS. So you would have a 90% you do not do it. So I would not. I know many specialists that make more than OMFS and vice versa. But you cannot just choose to do OMFS. There is the CBSE that requires years of studying, externships that costs thousands of dollars, applications that cost thousands of dollars, and then the residency.

Most OMFS I know start around $300k (just two buddies of mine) so you would be trying to pya $500k off with that.... not worth it. Unless you can get into a highly production driven setting and get 40% of production.

Lesson here: you are talking about a small percent of a small percent. so no.
 
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yappy

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I have been talking to family members in the dental field and although I am driven and excited about applying to dentistry (for the second time) their experience is making me wonder. Basically they are just telling me that it is a huge decision to take on so much loans unless I get accepted to my in-state school. They are very stressed working in the field to pay off their loans and are explaining to me that if I have 300-500K loans after graduating I will need to work full time in a high stress environment for 7 yrs at least to just pay off loans. For insight, I am pursuing dentistry because I really am interested and excited about the actual hands on work and also because it is a stable job market demand that offers a stable income with potential to build wealth after loan repayment. I really hate to say this but I am slightly starting to doubt if this is worth it ] because dental school will be highly stressful but on top of that I will likely have a debilitating loan to repay as I enter the job market. Any thoughts from current students or practicing dentists?

If you really want to do dentistry, but are concerned about debt, I highly recommend that you do one the scholarships (military, public health). It sounds like in your case it will solve all your problems.

Imo dentistry is awesome. You get to help people in a very tangible way and I find it interesting (material science, biology, technique, etc). Yes, at times it can be challenging and stressful but what isn't? Personally, I got into a relatively cheap school (250k) and paid off my debt asap by living lean.
What is sad to me is how high debt is ruining all these great healthcare careers. If schools were cheaper something like dentistry would be a no brainier for those who liked it. Instead, they get fleeced along the way and the whole conversation turns into ROI and debt management.
 
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P7898

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Great insight thanks for sharing. My husband graduated last year with 300K in debt and we have been living with my family and cutting expenses to a minimum and he's making slow but consistent progress on his loan (paid off 80-90K in about a year). He's currently working 6 days a week as an associate and it's been stressful for him. We have a son and our plan is to buy a home next year and hopefully for my husband to buy a practice. I am beginning to see that dental school will only be worth it if my loans will stay under 200K. which basically eliminates most schools. What makes this especially confusing is how little pre-dental or even current students I talk to know about the reality of the financial burden of dental school. Dental schools will continue to get thousands of applications each year which will only drive prices higher.

Amen. My wife and I are in unique situations as well (we got lucky). You really have to alter the hell out of your life for a while to pay off that debt $250k-300k+. In addition, you have already been altering your life with dental school....

Pre dents do not know because they don't factor in interest and other things like life expenses.
 
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deleted913442

Mmmm no because only the top 10% really have a shot as OMFS. So you would have a 90% you do not do it. So I would not. I know many specialists that make more than OMFS and vice versa. But you cannot just choose to do OMFS. There is the CBSE that requires years of studying, externships that costs thousands of dollars, applications that cost thousands of dollars, and then the residency.

Most OMFS I know start around $300k (just two buddies of mine) so you would be trying to pya $500k off with that.... not worth it. Unless you can get into a highly production driven setting and get 40% of production.

Lesson here: you are talking about a small percent of a small percent. so no.

Key word: start at 300k.. Your income continues to go up as you get faster and slowly take over the practice.

OP, I do agree with @P7898 to an extent. If you are driven, you will specialize. You just need to know that you want to do OMFS from day 1 to get a leg up on the competition - people at my school don't start studying for the CBSE until D2 fall/spring or even summer after D2. I was one of few who knew I wanted to do it early on and started studying for CBSE D1 spring and got out of the way by D2 spring. It is a HUGE commitment, but if you start early and do well on the CBSE, you can get into residency.

It also depends on the $500k program. If it were a MWU and you want to go OMFS, I maybe wouldn't. But if it were a Columbia, then I'd definitely do it. People talk about programs like Penn and Columbia as programs that chern out specialists. Yes, the programs are great, but the big reason why is because you surround yourself with highly motivated people and you all push one another - it's healthy competition. I attend one of these programs and I can honestly say that if I went to my state school or another program that doesn't chern out specialists, I would not have scored as well on the CBSE and maybe not even considered going that route (a lot of kids in my class are and we all push one another). However, this obviously differs between person to person.

With that being said, going to a $500k program is not worth it in my opinion if you wish to pursue general dentistry. However, if you know you will want to specialize, then it could be worth it. It is competitive in the long run, especially with maintaining your class rank (I'd choose to go to an unranked program if I were you).
 
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Startingover123

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Key word: start at 300k.. Your income continues to go up as you get faster and slowly take over the practice.

OP, I do agree with @P7898 to an extent. If you are driven, you will specialize. You just need to know that you want to do OMFS from day 1 to get a leg up on the competition - people at my school don't start studying for the CBSE until D2 fall/spring or even summer after D2. I was one of few who knew I wanted to do it early on and started studying for CBSE D1 spring and got out of the way by D2 spring. It is a HUGE commitment, but if you start early and do well on the CBSE, you can get into residency.

It also depends on the $500k program. If it were a MWU and you want to go OMFS, I maybe wouldn't. But if it were a Columbia, then I'd definitely do it. People talk about programs like Penn and Columbia as programs that chern out specialists. Yes, the programs are great, but the big reason why is because you surround yourself with highly motivated people and you all push one another - it's healthy competition. I attend one of these programs and I can honestly say that if I went to my state school or another program that doesn't chern out specialists, I would not have scored as well on the CBSE and maybe not even considered going that route (a lot of kids in my class are and we all push one another). However, this obviously differs between person to person.

With that being said, going to a $500k program is not worth it in my opinion if you wish to pursue general dentistry. However, if you know you will want to specialize, then it could be worth it. It is competitive in the long run, especially with maintaining your class rank (I'd choose to go to an unranked program if I were you).
Do you think if you attend midwestern you have a shot at OMFS? Anyone willing to put in the work for this test can score well.
 

Startingover123

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Mmmm no because only the top 10% really have a shot as OMFS. So you would have a 90% you do not do it. So I would not. I know many specialists that make more than OMFS and vice versa. But you cannot just choose to do OMFS. There is the CBSE that requires years of studying, externships that costs thousands of dollars, applications that cost thousands of dollars, and then the residency.

Most OMFS I know start around $300k (just two buddies of mine) so you would be trying to pya $500k off with that.... not worth it. Unless you can get into a highly production driven setting and get 40% of production.

Lesson here: you are talking about a small percent of a small percent. so no.
Lol that’s not true at all. Top 20 percent puts you in the running. Plus there are pass/fail schools. In addition the cbse is most important. Doing well on that test makes up for a mediocre rank. Lastly, OMFS will make 500k plus easily.
 
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AONLINE

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I would definitely recommend dentistry if one can do it for $250-280k (average for most state schools). Some people here might disagree as they say this amount is still too high, but I think one should be fine with that kind of debt for a dental license.
 
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MLC45

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I'm an older non-traditional student. I wanted to be a dentist in my college years, but the corse load scared me. I became a dental assistant instead and that was fine for several years. After about 10 years I decided that being an assistant wasn't doing it for me any more and I decided to conquer my fear and go to dental school. I'm now a DS3 and an happy that I'll be a doctor in a couple years.

You have to decide if you don't go to dental school, when you're 40 years old, will you look back on your life and regret your decision? If the answer is "No", then look into a different career. If the answer is "Yes or Maybe", then you should continue on the dental school path and not the fear of money scare you.
 
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endodonia

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Is 500 k debt worth it if one does OMFS?
yes
I would definitely recommend dentistry if one can do it for $250-280k (average for most state schools). Some people here might disagree as they say this amount is still too high, but I think one should be fine with that kind of debt for a dental license.
I would agree. It's hard to make a "cut off" or "worth it/ not worth it".

It sounds like you have a lot of connections in the dental world. Maybe you should invest all of your time and energy into learning how to run a business. work the front desk at a dental office and learn insurance, pre-authorizations, management of employees in a dental setting. managing patient expectations and learning to communicate with patients on dental "insurance". I'll start you off. Dental Insurance does not exist. Patients have a Dental Benefits Package. two different things. Work for a dental corporation in the front and copy their business model, employee manuals, informed consent sheets, etc etc.

The point is, your husband is already a dentist? financially speaking it will likely be best for you to not spend 4 years not making money, taking on $300-500k in the red, to only join your husband on the associate dentist assembly line. I'd recommend you learn how to run a practice, then learn how to evaluate a practice purchase agreement, and then buy a practice with your husband

most 2 doctor offices don't have enough work for 2 doctors anyway. if you became a dentist and worked with your husband, you'd likely be siphoning off patients that he could see himself.
 
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deleted913442

Do you think if you attend midwestern you have a shot at OMFS? Anyone willing to put in the work for this test can score well.

Yes of course you still have a shot. You just need to be top 10% and dedicate a ton of time to CBSE to score the 70+. Issue with some of those private schools (with regards to wanting to do OMFS) is that they are heavy on general dentistry and preclinic/clinical time. Schools like Penn and Columbia aren't as hardcore on general dentistry, so you can find time to study a little easier. They also are not ranked, so you just need to only focus on staying above around a 3.75 or so and do not need to kill yourself staying at the top of your class. Columbia has a medical curriculum which also is a big advantage for schools like that.

Again, you can absolutely put in the work at a school like Midwestern. But I am a firm believer that if you surround yourself with people who are as highly motivated with the same end-goal, then it pushes you harder than you've ever thought possible.
 
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Steins;Gate

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Yes of course you still have a shot. You just need to be top 10% and dedicate a ton of time to CBSE to score the 70+. Issue with some of those private schools (with regards to wanting to do OMFS) is that they are heavy on general dentistry and preclinic/clinical time. Schools like Penn and Columbia aren't as hardcore on general dentistry, so you can find time to study a little easier. They also are not ranked, so you just need to only focus on staying above around a 3.75 or so and do not need to kill yourself staying at the top of your class. Columbia has a medical curriculum which also is a big advantage for schools like that.

Again, you can absolutely put in the work at a school like Midwestern. But I am a firm believer that if you surround yourself with people who are as highly motivated with the same end-goal, then it pushes you harder than you've ever thought possible.

As I understand it based on your post, for those coming from an unranked school, a GPA higher than 3.75 would be competitive for OMFS?
 

P7898

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Lol that’s not true at all. Top 20 percent puts you in the running. Plus there are pass/fail schools. In addition the cbse is most important. Doing well on that test makes up for a mediocre rank. Lastly, OMFS will make 500k plus easily.

Which is nothing to cry home about. $500k after tax is around $380k when you now have a $500k (not including the $50k interest per year) loan from school with possibly other life expenses. On top of planning for retirement and other things.
 

mmc12

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As I understand it based on your post, for those coming from an unranked school, a GPA higher than 3.75 would be competitive for OMFS?
probably. But GPAs vary so much from school to school. At some schools a 3.75 GPA may only get you in the top 40-50% whereas in another school it might get you more in the top 10-15% (or higher) for ranked schools. So I don't know how much merit they would have for an unranked school.

From my understanding, CBSE trumps everything else for OMFS though.
 
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deleted913442

As I understand it based on your post, for those coming from an unranked school, a GPA higher than 3.75 would be competitive for OMFS?

CBSE over everything. At my school, a 3.75 probably is top 30% realistically. But no programs would know that as I am at an unranked school. I chose the program I'm at partially because I prefer the unranked side of it. My class is super collaborative and is in no-way cut throat at all nor competetive.
 
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Steins;Gate

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CBSE over everything. At my school, a 3.75 probably is top 30% realistically. But no programs would know that as I am at an unranked school. I chose the program I'm at partially because I prefer the unranked side of it. My class is super collaborative and is in no-way cut throat at all nor competetive.

Do you know what the average GPA of the class is approximately?
 

Startingover123

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Which is nothing to cry home about. $500k after tax is around $380k when you now have a $500k (not including the $50k interest per year) loan from school with possibly other life expenses. On top of planning for retirement and other things.
Lol are you really saying 500 k a year isn’t enough money? I know DO students ~400 k in debt that will be making 250k a year in family medicine. OMFS salaries are easily some of the best in medicine and you will be able to easily pay off your loans.
 
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allDAT

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I would definitely recommend dentistry if one can do it for $250-280k (average for most state schools). Some people here might disagree as they say this amount is still too high, but I think one should be fine with that kind of debt for a dental license.

It's worth it all the way up until you hit 300k...once you hit 300k you really have to think about how much money you're spending, who you are going to marry, where you are going to live, how much money your spouse will make, and what your job prospects are like in your target market. Not to mention when/if you buy a practice and how much that will cost you and what your cash flow will look like after purchase.

On top of it all though, the current climate needs to be evaluated and things are not necessarily looking good (see the forum thread linked above).
 
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yappy

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Which is nothing to cry home about. $500k after tax is around $380k when you now have a $500k (not including the $50k interest per year) loan from school with possibly other life expenses. On top of planning for retirement and other things.


At the risk of derailing the thread... OMS is not some golden ticket that justifies 500k in debt. It's a great career if that's your aim but I know a few surgeons who make *only* ~200k. I also know others that make less than that in struggling practices, although ownership was their dream. I have not met too many surgeons who fit the mold of 500k-1mil income I see advertised here on SDN. Therefore, I would not plan on going deeply into debt and treat OMS as if it's some kind of Hail Mary.

Edited for clarity
 
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deleted913442

At the risk of derailing the thread... OMS is not some golden ticket that justifies 500k in debt. It's a great career if that's your aim but I know a few surgeons who make *only* ~200k. I also know others that make less than that in struggling practices (although it's their dream). I'm sure they exist; however, I have not met too many surgeons who fit the mold of 500k-1mil income I see advertised here on SDN. Therefore, I would not plan on going deeply into debt and treat OMS as if it's some kind of Hail Marry lol.

Great point and totally right on this. Do something you love at the end of the day. If you are a driven person, you will be successful.
 
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Startingover123

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At the risk of derailing the thread... OMS is not some golden ticket that justifies 500k in debt. It's a great career if that's your aim but I know a few surgeons who make *only* ~200k. I also know others that make less than that in struggling practices, although ownership was their dream. I have not met too many surgeons who fit the mold of 500k-1mil income I see advertised here on SDN. Therefore, I would not plan on going deeply into debt and treat OMS as if it's some kind of Hail Marry.

Edited for clarity
Those are either part time numbers or they are doing something very wrong. I imagine they must be in nyc I.e saturated areas. There’s no way an OMFS should be making 200k full time. A lot of times fresh out of residency you may see a base salary of 200 k but once bonuses kick in you are seeing another 100 k easily on top of your base. Punch in OMFS jobs on indeed. There are a ton of high paying jobs all over the country. I’m not saying OMFS is a lottery ticket. However, they can make a lot of money if they want to. Let me wrap this up by saying $$$ is not everything and do whatever field makes you happy.
 
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ToothJockey

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500k debt is 500k debt regardless of what specialty you go into.

While it's much easier to pay off that 500k as an OMFS than a GP, what's even easier is not going into 500k debt in the first place. That extra money you save can go towards your retirement savings or downpayment for your house or downpayment for your practice.
 
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prime1time

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I find it weird to talk about what someone wants to do with their life devoid of whether or not they actually enjoy what they do. If money is the center of your world and what your happiness is based around I probably would not do dentistry. Even if you can get a degree with a small amount of debt. There are easier ways to earn money. If you think you'd actually enjoy being a dentist and enjoy treating patients then I think you need to ask yourself how much is your happiness worth to you. My Dad's a dentist and owns his owns practice and I will be joining him. I have a significant amount of loans but I'm not overly concerned. If I could do it over again, I would heavily consider doing a tech start-up or being an entrepreneur but all in all I'm satisfied with my choice.

It's a blessing to be able to earn solid money and do something that you like while making your fellow human beings lives better. I find all the talk about money on here fascinating. When your life flickers before your eyes in your last moments are you just going to see a numerical value of your net worth or will your mind drift to the relationships and enjoyable relationships you have had. Life is about way more than how much money you make. Focus on your personal happiness and then build out from there. Like I said, if when you think about that all that comes to mind is dollar signs, then you probably shouldn't do dentistry anyway because you'll never make enough and you'll always regret not doing something that would earn more.
 
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I find it weird to talk about what someone wants to do with their life devoid of whether or not they actually enjoy what they do. If money is the center of your world and what your happiness is based around I probably would not do dentistry. Even if you can get a degree with a small amount of debt. There are easier ways to earn money. If you think you'd actually enjoy being a dentist and enjoy treating patients then I think you need to ask yourself how much is your happiness worth to you. My Dad's a dentist and owns his owns practice and I will be joining him. I have a significant amount of loans but I'm not overly concerned. If I could do it over again, I would heavily consider doing a tech start-up or being an entrepreneur but all in all I'm satisfied with my choice.

It's a blessing to be able to earn solid money and do something that you like while making your fellow human beings lives better. I find all the talk about money on here fascinating. When your life flickers before your eyes in your last moments are you just going to see a numerical value of your net worth or will your mind drift to the relationships and enjoyable relationships you have had. Life is about way more than how much money you make. Focus on your personal happiness and then build out from there. Like I said, if when you think about that all that comes to mind is dollar signs, then you probably shouldn't do dentistry anyway because you'll never make enough and you'll always regret not doing something that would earn more.

Hindsight 20/20 though, no? I’ve always had this thought. My friends are making 6 figures a few years out of college being CFAs, but they’re also miserable right now with 0 lives and work + study (for the CFA) 100+ hours each week. They’re slowly getting some free time, but grass is always greener on the other side.
 
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Boat on the Chesapeake

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  1. Dentist
I graduated with <200k in loans and don’t regret it, but I enjoy dentistry, healthcare, working with my hands, etc. If you are from a lower income background (blue collar town, some foreign countries, etc) dentistry even with debt will still give you a solid middle class life in the US. If you want an upper middle class lifestyle or more you need above average production or below average debt these days. Somewhere in the 400k debt range is probably where it stops making any sense to be a dentist vs nurse, teacher, etc.

If you’re from an upper middle class area though and half your high school classmates can get six figure jobs after undergrad (which is not the norm nationally) you won’t feel rich being an average dentist. In other places an average dentist might be one of the wealthiest people in town.

In short, “rich” is very relative, dentistry can only guarantee you’ll be at least middle class and not that you’ll be rich (though you can with hard work and good business skills). Many predents/dentists are disappointed when reality doesn’t meet their expectations.
 
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Hamtaur

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Congrats on having a sincere interest in dentistry!

A lot of my dental professors, mentors and community members grew up when their summer job could defray the cost of their tuition and books. I worked every summer I could, but it barely paid for my food for that summer and I cook most of my meals. Those same folks grew up at a time when you could buy a starter home on a lot on a minimum wage job. A lot of them graduated from dental school with significantly less proportional debt that the current wave of recent graduates. I'm not saying they didn't fight hard for what we have, I'm arguing that our conditions are a lot leaner.

TL;DR: take what you hear from people whom aren't in your age group with a grain of salt. Their circumstances for success or even failure may not be something that's feasible in today's society/economy.
 
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Cello

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Hi. I am a recent MWU grad, I have $470k in student loan debt, and I just started work about a month ago. I have no regrets, despite working at a high volume, low fee medicaid / PPO practice. I actually chose to work here, because of the procedure mix, and how busy we are. I see it as a "corporate residency" during the uncertain economic turmoil caused by COVID.

Some people might say that I'm crazy to want to work more for less, but I'm learning a ton, building confidence, and getting faster. I love dentistry, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. But, I also have the luxury of having worked a bunch of different jobs before going back to dental school, so I know that the grass is definitely not always greener.
 
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Cold Front

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Hi. I am a recent MWU grad, I have $470k in student loan debt, and I just started work about a month ago.
Your first month is the most fun month. You‘re in the first 6 months of 0 payments grace period on your student loan repayment plan, so make the most of it. You don’t regret becoming a dentist, but you probably regret going to expensive school and having close to $500k in student loans?
 
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Heist

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Hindsight 20/20 though, no? I’ve always had this thought. My friends are making 6 figures a few years out of college being CFAs, but they’re also miserable right now with 0 lives and work + study (for the CFA) 100+ hours each week. They’re slowly getting some free time, but grass is always greener on the other side.
That sounds very good. They are already saving for retirement. They have cfa exam. In dental school you will do school and nbde 1 and 2 and step 3.
Then if you run a dental business or work for corporate, you will still be working very hard. You will be at least four years older than the cfa, with much more debt burden and interest tacked on...
You will be breaking your back and next, patients are very demanding, and you will have much more responsibility with malpractice always looming.
 
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Heist

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We don’t have step 3. In dentistry you work ask hard as you want. Always merit to owning your own business. Yes, more stress but you call the shots. It’s why many dentists can work 8-4 4 days a week. Want more income potential from the get go, specialize. Dentistry is the best gig out there today.
Youre right what do I know?
 

A_Mdent

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could be helpful if you say why
1. Just what I have experienced so far. in 1.5 years i've already have 4 jobs. 3/4 have been private practice with pay averaging 10k/month and zero benefits whatsoever ( no medical, pto, holidays, retirement, crappy hours etc) its not all that great, I see people in careers with bachelors or working up a company ladder making similar with benefits and no/low student loans. I do live in a competitive area cuz my family is there, I have worked really hard and spent a lot of money to be a dentist and it kinda sucks the choice seems to be accept the crappy pay and live where you want to spend your life, or move to some undesirable area to make a decent living. Everyone know (or heard of) that one person who is overachieving, but I think the middle of that bell curve is going to be meh and doesn't justify the sacrifice to enter the profession.

2. When I look at the future of the profession I don't see good signs (I'd love to, so share if you do) for example:
a) corporate take over just means another person who needs to profit, dentistry turns into pharmacy.
b) if dental therapist keep expanding it just means another competitor for the bread and butter procedures.
c) the push to universal healthcare will likely not help, look at european dentist in those models.
d) insurance benefits haven't gone up in decades, seems like they get worse actually.
e) While compensation has gone down or been stagnant for years, every other overhead item continues to go up.
f) Saturation, probably the worst reason, schools continue to open with endless supply of applicants and foreign dentist.
g) hopefully temporary, but covid has made things more difficult for dentist, like exposure, ppe requirements, closures.

I imagine dentistry was a great career in the last few decades, going forward I'm not sure. Its also really expensive to continue getting the CE to expand your skillset to make more money. Its never ending lol. If i could magically go back in time I would definitely convince myself to go into another profession.
 
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GoDental101

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1. Just what I have experienced so far. in 1.5 years i've already have 4 jobs. 3/4 have been private practice with pay averaging 10k/month and zero benefits whatsoever ( no medical, pto, holidays, retirement, crappy hours etc) its not all that great, I see people in careers with bachelors or working up a company ladder making similar with benefits and no/low student loans. I do live in a competitive area cuz my family is there, I have worked really hard and spent a lot of money to be a dentist and it kinda sucks the choice seems to be accept the crappy pay and live where you want to spend your life, or move to some undesirable area to make a decent living. Everyone know (or heard of) that one person who is overachieving, but I think the middle of that bell curve is going to be meh and doesn't justify the sacrifice to enter the profession.

2. When I look at the future of the profession I don't see good signs (I'd love to, so share if you do) for example:
a) corporate take over just means another person who needs to profit, dentistry turns into pharmacy.
b) if dental therapist keep expanding it just means another competitor for the bread and butter procedures.
c) the push to universal healthcare will likely not help, look at european dentist in those models.
d) insurance benefits haven't gone up in decades, seems like they get worse actually.
e) While compensation has gone down or been stagnant for years, every other overhead item continues to go up.
f) Saturation, probably the worst reason, schools continue to open with endless supply of applicants and foreign dentist.
g) hopefully temporary, but covid has made things more difficult for dentist, like exposure, ppe requirements, closures.

I imagine dentistry was a great career in the last few decades, going forward I'm not sure. Its also really expensive to continue getting the CE to expand your skillset to make more money. Its never ending lol. If i could magically go back in time I would definitely convince myself to go into another profession.
Are you in California?
 

Cold Front

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  1. Dentist
1. Just what I have experienced so far. in 1.5 years i've already have 4 jobs. 3/4 have been private practice with pay averaging 10k/month and zero benefits whatsoever ( no medical, pto, holidays, retirement, crappy hours etc) its not all that great, I see people in careers with bachelors or working up a company ladder making similar with benefits and no/low student loans. I do live in a competitive area cuz my family is there, I have worked really hard and spent a lot of money to be a dentist and it kinda sucks the choice seems to be accept the crappy pay and live where you want to spend your life, or move to some undesirable area to make a decent living. Everyone know (or heard of) that one person who is overachieving, but I think the middle of that bell curve is going to be meh and doesn't justify the sacrifice to enter the profession.

2. When I look at the future of the profession I don't see good signs (I'd love to, so share if you do) for example:
a) corporate take over just means another person who needs to profit, dentistry turns into pharmacy.
b) if dental therapist keep expanding it just means another competitor for the bread and butter procedures.
c) the push to universal healthcare will likely not help, look at european dentist in those models.
d) insurance benefits haven't gone up in decades, seems like they get worse actually.
e) While compensation has gone down or been stagnant for years, every other overhead item continues to go up.
f) Saturation, probably the worst reason, schools continue to open with endless supply of applicants and foreign dentist.
g) hopefully temporary, but covid has made things more difficult for dentist, like exposure, ppe requirements, closures.

I imagine dentistry was a great career in the last few decades, going forward I'm not sure. Its also really expensive to continue getting the CE to expand your skillset to make more money. Its never ending lol. If i could magically go back in time I would definitely convince myself to go into another profession.

I agree with you. Majority of dentists under age 30-35 agrees with you.
 
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GoDental101

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No, Utah. Its saturated here because dentistry is very popular with mormons and this is the motherland. Most people say the biggest issue here is the insurance reimbursements are really low compared to other states. I imagine California is heard, especially with that living cost.
Oh yeah atleast utah is fairly cheap to live.
 
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