Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
Just finished the hell that was dental school, fire away.

About me: traditional applicant, went to Maryland (applied to 8 schools, got into NYU and Temple as well).
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
I wish I knew more about finance. I did a 3 year military scholarship, but even 1 year of loans (out of state) at UMD and undergrad (state school) piled up to about 150k total debt (including interest). I probably would have been a little more stingy during dental school.

As far as school goes...the kids that had lab experience had a huge advantage in pre-clinical years. The kids whose parents were dentists and sorta knew how things went had a huge advantage during the clinical years. No one in my family was a dentist, so almost everything was totally new....even after 100 hours of shadowing prior to applying.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Maglama

LaughingGas

7+ Year Member
May 17, 2010
1,713
431
Status
Dental Student, Dentist
With the experience and knowledge you have, if you went to the past, would you have chosen dentistry again?
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
With the experience and knowledge you have, if you went to the past, would you have chosen dentistry again?
Definitely. However if you asked me that during the 2nd-3rd year of dental school, I might have told you I should have been an MD. As I learned what the heck I was doing I began to enjoy it more. Eventually it became something of an art, and doing good work became very satisfying. I didn't reach that point until towards the end of my 4th year. Also, the financial security is nice....even with my loans, at age 27 I'm living a lot better of a life than I would be had I not gone to dental school...and a lot better life than most of my friends that didn't go to grad school.

What are your plans now that you've graduated?
I'm doing an AEGD in the Air Force, and will serve for the foreseeable future. I'm planning on making a career out of it, I'm really enjoying my time in the military. Once I'm done I'll probably open a practice somewhere on the West Coast.
 
  • Like
Reactions: fayevalentine

Ferneezy

I don't always Go Blue, but when I do...
5+ Year Member
Jun 19, 2009
1,136
549
Status
Dental Student
i attended a number of interviews this cycle and noticed a distinct lack of D2s as student ambassadors to the candidates. on those rare occasions for interactions with D2s...their outlook on dental education was less than rosy.

which year would you say you felt it the worst, and why?
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
i attended a number of interviews this cycle and noticed a distinct lack of D2s as student ambassadors to the candidates. on those rare occasions for interactions with D2s...their outlook on dental education was less than rosy.

which year would you say you felt it the worst, and why?
I think D1 was the worst year of dental school/my life. Having freshly graduated college, being thrown back into the oven was awful. It took me some time to 'learn to play the game' and figure out how to study for the pace of dental school. It came down to working smarter, not just harder. I also knew nothing....no idea what mesial/apical/coronal/buccal or any dental terminology meant, so I had to learn the language as well. If you are wondering what to do to prepare for dental school, learn some dental anatomy/terminology before coming. Learn what a tooth REALLY looks like. D2 was also bad, however at that point you're in a groove and you've figured out how to handle things. About half the people will say D1 was worse, the other half D2.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ionz and gn4

brochacho3

7+ Year Member
Apr 13, 2011
47
20
Status
Pre-Dental
What branch of the military are you serving in? How did you go about applying for HPSP? That's something I am interested but there doesn't seem to be too much information out there on how to apply. Thanks!
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
What branch of the military are you serving in? How did you go about applying for HPSP? That's something I am interested but there doesn't seem to be too much information out there on how to apply. Thanks!
I'm in the Air Force. I chose that branch due to a combination of loving planes, base locations, and having some friends in the AF. I contacted a health professions recruiter and got the paper work started my junior year of college. There's not many of those types of recruiters, so you have to make sure you find the right one - a regular recruiter will probably not know what to do with you. The military is a great experience, but you certainly have to be a certain kind of person to do it. I have some friends - some dentists, some in other health professions (pharm, opto, PAs etc) that absolutely hate it and can't wait to get out. Then there's people like me who want to do it for 20+ years. One thing I really like about the AF however is that the quality of dentistry is great, and there's a big emphasis on physical fitness.
 

djd0516

5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2012
100
30
Status
Pre-Dental
Now that you've graduated, what is your opinion of the quality of education you received at UMSOD? I'll be starting there in the Fall.
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
Now that you've graduated, what is your opinion of the quality of education you received at UMSOD? I'll be starting there in the Fall.
LOL. Sorry just had to get that out. At the end of the day, you'll be fine - however getting there will be awful. Some teachers are great, other's awful. A lot of time I felt like they didn't really show you how HOW to do things, but how it should look in the end. Or maybe the method they do show you works well for someone who is already a dentist, but not for a student. Honestly, I learned more clinical skills from my friends and 2-3 select faculty than the rest of the school. You will have a lot of opportunities in Oral Surgery, however. The kids that took initiative their 3rd/4th years in OS got a lot of great experience doing difficult extractions....other kids that didn't graduated without ever laying a flap. Endo....you legit only have to do 3 RCTs to graduate...no where near enough to be competent. 12 crowns to graduate... The clinic was broken when I graduated, so they totally revamped it for the class of 2014....hopefully by the time you're in clinic it won't be the disaster it was when I left. They also replaced the dean...sort of a statement of acknowledgement that something was wrong, and that they're fixing it. The most funny thing....from talking to people that went to other schools, UMD actually seems like a pretty great dental school. I've heard of people that graduated from an American dental school and didn't do one RCT. Like anything else, UMD is what you make of it....if you go all in, you'll get a lot out. If you don't make the extra effort, you could fall between the cracks.

Edit: Regarding academic knowledge....it was on point. Had no problem in any national/regional board, and I feel knowledgeable about dentistry in general. With that said, doing an AEGD has brought my skills/knowledge leaps and bounds above where they where when I graudated in a matter of months.
 
Last edited:

duvaldentist

5+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2011
341
55
Florida
Status
Dental Student
Congratulations on graduating... I'm in the process of applying for the navy's HPSP 4 year scholarship, if you could please explain to the best of your knowledge what the difference is between the 3 and 4 year scholarships.
 
May 13, 2013
80
18
Status
Could you comment a little about you classmates who graduated and what they are doing? How was it for them getting employed? How did they go about finding employment? Where and what type of practices are they going into? And any ideas on compensation? Thanks
 

djd0516

5+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2012
100
30
Status
Pre-Dental
LOL. Sorry just had to get that out. At the end of the day, you'll be fine - however getting there will be awful. Some teachers are great, other's awful. A lot of time I felt like they didn't really show you how HOW to do things, but how it should look in the end. Or maybe the method they do show you works well for someone who is already a dentist, but not for a student. Honestly, I learned more clinical skills from my friends and 2-3 select faculty than the rest of the school. You will have a lot of opportunities in Oral Surgery, however. The kids that took initiative their 3rd/4th years in OS got a lot of great experience doing difficult extractions....other kids that didn't graduated without ever laying a flap. Endo....you legit only have to do 3 RCTs to graduate...no where near enough to be competent. 12 crowns to graduate... The clinic was broken when I graduated, so they totally revamped it for the class of 2014....hopefully by the time you're in clinic it won't be the disaster it was when I left.

Edit: Regarding academic knowledge....it was on point. Had no problem in any national/regional board, and I feel knowledgeable about dentistry in general. With that said, doing an AEGD has brought my skills/knowledge leaps and bounds above where they where when I graudated in a matter of months.
Thanks for the information!
 
Mar 8, 2013
7
1
Status
I'm like you were i don't have much knowledge of dentistry i have been out of school for a year and got a few books about dental anatomy. What other good resources could you recommend to me for studying up on to help me get through the first year.
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
I'm like you were i don't have much knowledge of dentistry i have been out of school for a year and got a few books about dental anatomy. What other good resources could you recommend to me for studying up on to help me get through the first year.
Learn your anatomy well, consider even practicing waxing on your own. A lot of people will tell you that waxing is 'worthless' and I tend to agree to them to a certain point, but it's a pretty good tool to learn anatomy with. If you can wax a tooth well, you can build it out of composite in the mouth as well. It will also make your dental school lab work easier. You can pick up an alcohol torch and some waxing instruments pretty cheap. Also, you can learn a fair amount early on from youtube! I remember getting frustrated at how I was being taught to carve amalgams, and found some videos on youtube that enhanced my ability seemingly overnight. Everyone has a different technique that works better in their hands....until you find yours, it can be a bumpy ride.
 

NMC2010

τετέλεσται
5+ Year Member
Jun 5, 2013
694
275
on the sidewalk
Status
Resident [Any Field]
I blew off my freshman year of college, and really know nothing about general chemistry. Is this going to come back to haunt me in DS, or does nobody care about gen chem anymore?

Did you ever have a roommate in DS? Thoughts on roommates?
 
Jul 8, 2012
10
0
Status
Pre-Dental
Were there many students with pets? Do you believe it would be manageable to take care of a dog (older, not a puppy) during the school year?
 
Sep 26, 2013
254
255
Status
Pre-Dental
What undergraduate degree would you recommend? Does a biology degree help much in dental school since you've taken some form of the same science classes before or would a business degree be more beneficial in the long run to help open your own practice?
 

Luna724

5+ Year Member
Mar 16, 2013
214
22
TX
Status
Dentist
Do you agree with the notion that it is easier to get into certain specialties if one serves in the military through the HPSP?
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
I blew off my freshman year of college, and really know nothing about general chemistry. Is this going to come back to haunt me in DS, or does nobody care about gen chem anymore?

While knowledge of chemistry has some application in classes like bio-materials etc, it will not come back to haunt you. Don't plan on doing stoichiometry. That said, my school had biochem as a pre-req, so we didn't have to take it. If whatever school you go to has you take biochem, it might bite you.

Did you ever have a roommate in DS? Thoughts on roommates?
I would definitely recommend having a roommate, 100%. First and foremost you can save some solid money. Secondly, living with someone in your class can be helpful when it comes to having someone to bounce ideas off of, someone to remind you of when things are due, someone to give you a hand with lab work should you need it. I had a roommate the last 2 years, saved about $700 each month, and got better grades. With that said I had a great roommate who was never home. I have a friend that got stuck rooming with a kid that I consider intolerable to be around, and that made his life hell. A lot of kids lived alone at first, made some friends, then roomed with one of them - which is what I did.

Were there many students with pets? Do you believe it would be manageable to take care of a dog (older, not a puppy) during the school year?
A lot of kids had pets from home or bought pets during school. It was definitely hard for them. A lot of them would run home during lunch (they lived walking distance to the school) to take their pet out. If they lived too far from school, it would be impossible. Keep in mind sometimes you may need to be at school for all 3 clinical sessions, meaning 0845-1930....some pets can't last that long alone. It would be an added difficulty to have to book your patients around your pet. Maybe get a hedgehog?

What undergraduate degree would you recommend? Does a biology degree help much in dental school since you've taken some form of the same science classes before or would a business degree be more beneficial in the long run to help open your own practice?
A biology degree will help a ton. I was a biology major/biochemistry minor and felt totally prepared. The kids that really suffered were the kids that had non-traditional majors and took just the necessary pre-reqs. One guy in my class was valedictorian from his undergraduate program with a non-applicable major, and he would regularly spend maybe twice as much time as other people to get the same grades. That said, he was more of a hard worker than a naturally smart guy, but it definitely helps if you're mostly reviewing information versus learning it for the first time.

Classes kids struggled with/failed: Pathology, Oral Pathology, Neurology. For me these weren't any more difficult than other classes because I took microbiology and physiology in college.

A business degree sounds good, but I can't speak to it's usefulness. I feel like you could learn everything you needed to know to open your own practice by working for someone else's practice and reading books/forums. Maybe someone with a MBA would have a novel take on business model, but I'm not sure if the "juice is worth the squeeze." Side note: I'm a guy doing a career in the military, part of the reason why is because I like only having to think about doing great dentistry, not how to make more money in my dental practice, so take my comments on business with a grain of salt.

Do you agree with the notion that it is easier to get into certain specialties if one serves in the military through the HPSP?
Every specialty is competitive anywhere, however military specialty boards take into account more things than just grades/board scores. Those things still matter in the military, as well as how well you get along with people, but in addition to that things like leadership ability/how good of an officer you've been. Specialists often assume more leadership roles as well, and if you're not a good leader, it would be a hard sell to get into a specialty program. Also, the number of military specialty spots fluctuates with what the mission requires. Maybe this year 3 orthodontists retire/separate, so they'll open an extra spot in the ortho program. Maybe more orthodontists than expected stay on, so they only accept 2 people instead of 8. Also realize that specializing incurs more time in the military, so if you're trying to 'do your time and get out,' it's a bad idea. So bottom line: it depends on what kind of candidate you are.

Side note: Some specialties require an AEGD to even apply. I forget which ones but endo sticks out. A lot of career guys work as a general dentist for like 10 years, apply to a specialty, and get it. People like that are going to get a good amount of preference over an HPSP fresh out of dental school because a) they've paid their dues and b) they will probably stay in for another 10+ years, giving the military more time to retain a specialist.
 

Aal

Jan 11, 2013
155
44
Status
Pre-Dental
Could you comment a little about you classmates who graduated and what they are doing? How was it for them getting employed? How did they go about finding employment? Where and what type of practices are they going into? And any ideas on compensation? Thanks
I have the same question.... thanks
 
May 26, 2011
57
5
Status
Pre-Dental
I see that you received a 3 year HPSP, but contacted a health professions recruiter your junior year. Were you rejected for the 4 year scholarship or was it simply choosing a 3 year? Also, did you consider any other branch?
 
OP
Maka

Maka

10+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2009
135
7
Status
Dentist
I see that you received a 3 year HPSP, but contacted a health professions recruiter your junior year. Were you rejected for the 4 year scholarship or was it simply choosing a 3 year? Also, did you consider any other branch?
I got into dental school off the wait list, and by then all the 4 year scholarships were taken. That said, that year there were only 4 4-year scholarships for the Air Force, and 36 3-year deals. The Navy was taking very few people as well, however the Army had a good amount of spots. My order of preference was Air Force, Navy, Army, however I would have gladly served in any branch if push came to shove. The Army offered a 20k signing bonus, while the AF offered nothing, however I'm still glad I chose to go with the AF. Currently, the size of the AF is being reduced, and I imagine that scholarships will become EVEN more competitive than they already are.
 
May 5, 2013
64
4
Hi, I just got done setting up my freshman UG schedule for this upcoming fall. My pre dent advisor recommended taking just biology my first semester and waiting to take chemistry. Do you recommend taking the bio or chem first? Or should I take bio and chem my first semester? Thanks
 

yankpak786

7+ Year Member
May 6, 2012
311
209
New York, NY
Status
Dental Student
Not to sound ignorant or anything, but considering you've committed to a 3-year AF scholarship, did you ever think of the dangers/hazards involved with serving in the air force? I'm currently in the process of applying to dental school this year, and my parents consistently tell me that going for the HPSP scholarships are dangerous, it's kind of got to me.
 

ModifiedBass

5+ Year Member
Jul 1, 2013
519
218
Status
Dentist
Not to sound ignorant or anything, but considering you've committed to a 3-year AF scholarship, did you ever think of the dangers/hazards involved with serving in the air force? I'm currently in the process of applying to dental school this year, and my parents consistently tell me that going for the HPSP scholarships are dangerous, it's kind of got to me.
Not to take Maka's thread, but have your parents done any research on the program? If not, that's quite an ignorant statement to say the least. I'm just guessing your parents don't want you in the military, which there is nothing wrong with at all. There is great potential with HPSP, and very little if any "danger/hazard" unless you find serving as a military dentist dangerous. Yes, there's a chance you may serve in some not-so-kind areas, but you will not be close to any sort of combat zone, as you are a dentist.

Also, if you have any other questions regarding HPSP, there's an entire forum dedicated to military dentistry where you can find tons of info/resources regarding the program here. Hope this helps.
 
  • Like
Reactions: sjv

yankpak786

7+ Year Member
May 6, 2012
311
209
New York, NY
Status
Dental Student
Not to take Maka's thread, but have your parents done any research on the program? If not, that's quite an ignorant statement to say the least. I'm just guessing your parents don't want you in the military, which there is nothing wrong with at all. There is great potential with HPSP, and very little if any "danger/hazard" unless you find serving as a military dentist dangerous. Yes, there's a chance you may serve in some not-so-kind areas, but you will not be close to any sort of combat zone, as you are a dentist.

Also, if you have any other questions regarding HPSP, there's an entire forum dedicated to military dentistry where you can find tons of info/resources regarding the program here. Hope this helps.
They actually haven't! Thank you though, I def. need to convince them that it's a very enlightening choice after dental school. I feel like there's a lot of opportunity for growth and maturity, and the benefit of having your debt drastically reduced seems amazing. I'll look into it further, thanks again.
 
Feb 11, 2013
14
3
Status
Dental Student
Could you comment a little about you classmates who graduated and what they are doing? How was it for them getting employed? How did they go about finding employment? Where and what type of practices are they going into? And any ideas on compensation? Thanks
Could tell us something about these questions? I'm curious as to where dental students head off after graduation and what the employment aspect is like.
 
Jan 14, 2011
48
1
Livermore, CA
Status
Dental Student
Hi,
I will be a D1 student from this Fall and please help with those questions.

1. Is the rate of stipend you get during the dental school (approx. $2000/month) before tax? If it is, how much will it be after tax?

2. Let's say you got into 3 yr scholarship program. At the end of the dental school, you could request to admin of whatever branch it is for 1 yr expansion. If qualified, you would be able to serve 4 year in a branch and they pay off for your all those 4 year school loans. Is it a possible scenario? Im asking this bc I already missed the 4 yr scholarship cycle and one recruiter actually told me he has seen such case before.

3. Is it an OK idea to apply for two of those? Like Army & Navy? If no, please tell me the reasons.

4. When I apply for 3 yr scholarship, do I also have to provide the grade I received from my D1?

5. I heard that many people choose to get into HPSP who want to specialize (except for some specialties though). Can you prob. tell me the reasons for this? At this moment, I want to specialize pediatric dentistry but also wonder if it is good to go through HPSP.

6. If I will specialize, do you typically go to the specialty program after done with the required military service corresponding to the dental school years OR right after done with the dental school? Does it make any differences? Also, can you tell the major difference between the specialty program offered at one of the dental schools out there and the military one?

7. Is it optional whether to get loan repayment for my specialty program? Can I choose just not to serve for my branch to pay off my loan from the specialty program if I want to go start working as a civil dentist after the program?

8. Is it true that you still need to work as a paid doctor to get "more" ready, in order to have your own practice, even after the military service? If it is, is its primary reason to get actual business know-how's while working as a paid doctor?

9. Please give some opinions on my major concern; Im 31 yrs old with my wife & one child. I will prob graduate at age of 35. 2 possible scenarios here;
1) I will be at 38 when Im done with the military service. After the specialty program (pedo), I will be at 40. From 40, I will be working prob as a paid doctor with relatively small debt. I will have my own practice relatively late though.
2) I will be at 37 after the specialty program (if I can get into the program right after graduate). I will still have 3 more years to become 40 but have a lot more debt (younger with more energy but poorer). However, I will have my own practice prob. before 40.
-> what do you think?

Any opinions/advice would be much appreciated and thanks in advance.